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DeFi and Yield Farming Explained

DeFi and Yield Farming have been the most popular buzzwords among the crypto community in recent months. Some DeFi tokens can skyrocket to more than 10K USD in just a few days but drop back to near zero also in a matter of days! Besides that, people in the crypto community are talking about yield farming instead of mining nowadays, most of you might scratch your head and wonder what the heck is that? Skeptics might challenge that DeFi is merely hype, but the total value of digital assets locked in the DeFi platforms has reached an astounding $10 billion(as seen in the figure below), thus it has created huge DeFi economics(Should I call it DeFiconomics?).

Source: https://defipulse.com/

To help you understand DeFi and Yield Farming, I shall try my best to explain these two concepts in a nutshell.

What is DeFi?

The word DeFi stands for decentralized finance, which means operating financial applications on a decentralized platform such as blockchain. It is the new financial architecture that leverages decentralized networks and decentralized technologies such as smart contracts to transform old financial products into trustless and transparent protocols that run without intermediaries. DeFi has a popular nickname ‘Money Lego’ because of the process of DeFi development like building legos where different components of a system can easily connect and interoperate.

DEFI Features

DeFi has unique features compared to CenFi (Centralised finance) and claimed to be able to provide more convenient and seamless services, particularly for the underserved people. Here are some of the features:

  • P2P- Transactions are performed on peer to peer basis without the need for intermediaries
  • No need KYC- Anyone can open an account with a DeFi platform anytime and easily without going through the tedious and painful process of KYC
  • No one holds your digital assets- DeFi platforms are non-custodian in nature which means they do not hold your private keys, you have full control of your own digital assets.

DeFi Products

Popular DeFi products include decentralized exchanges, loan and savings markets, tokenized physical assets such as gold, derivatives, forecasting/betting markets, payment networks, insurance and more.

Loan and Savings Markets

DeFi loan and savings markets allow you to lend, borrow, or deposit money in a platform. Among the popular loan and savings platforms are Compound, Aave, MakerDAO, Dharma, dYdX, and more.

Compound

Compound is a protocol on the Ethereum blockchain that creates a money market, which is a group of assets with algorithmically earned interest rates, based on supply and demand for those assets. The asset provider (and borrower) interacts directly with the protocol, earning (and paying) floating interest rates, without having to negotiate conditions such as maturity, interest rates, or collateral with peers or business partners.

MakerDAO

MakerDAO is a smart contract that allows users to open Protected Debt Positions, or CDP (Collateralized Debt Positions). Users deposit ETH as collateral and can mint or borrow tokens called DAI. DAI is a stablecoin linked to the US dollar.

Borrowers pay an annual interest rate called the stability fee to mint a new DAI. After the debt is repaid, the DAI is burned along with the stability fee owed in the MKR Maker token. Stability charges prevent users from overspending the amount of DAI supply in excess.

Aave

Aave is a decentralized non-custodial money market protocol in which users can participate as depositors(lenders) or borrowers. Depositors provide liquidity to the market to earn passive income, while borrowers can borrow in an overcollateralized or undercollateralized manner.

Dharma

Dharma is an open-source lending and savings account built on Compound which is characterized by its ease of use and simplicity. Dharma features a Smart Wallet is a non-custodial that automatically lends out any DAI or USDC it receives on Compound and generates a variable interest rate. Dharma requires users to have a fully verified Coinbase Account in order to create a new account.

dYdX

dYdX is a non-custodial trading platform on Ethereum that caters to more experienced traders. The dYdX platform allows users to lend, borrow, or margin trade any supported asset like ETH, Dai, USDC, and more. Interest rates vary by asset and adjust with supply and demand. Interest continuously accrues and is paid to lenders, minus 5% which is set aside for dYdX’s insurance fund.

All borrowed funds must initially be collateralized with 125% of their value. Liquidation occurs if that ratio falls below 115% and comes with a 5% penalty. Traders can take leveraged long positions of up to 5x their collateral’s value and 4x for shorts. Loans and margin trades can remain open for a max of 28 days, after which they are automatically closed out with a 1% expiration fee.

Decentralized Exchange

Decentralized exchanges or DEX are like stock exchanges but run by smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. While both allow you to trade assets, decentralized exchanges only trade cryptocurrencies and do not require centralized authorities to operate. Some of the popular exchanges are Uniswap, SushiSwap, Bancor, Kyber, Balancer, and more.

Uniswap

Uniswap is a decentralized ERC-20 token exchange that supports Ethereum and ERC20 tokens. The advantage of Uniswap is that you can exchange ETH with other ERC-20 tokens in a decentralized way. No companies involved, no KYC, and no intermediaries.

The Uniswap platform is unique in that it does not use an order book to derive the price of an asset or to match buyers and sellers of tokens. Instead, Uniswap uses the Liquidity Pool which comprises a group of tokens managed by smart contracts. The liquidity pool ensures enough tokens for users to exchange with each other using Ethereum as a channel.

Bancor

Bancor is a protocol on Ethereum for non-custodial token exchange using pooled liquidity. Bancor does not use order books, Instead, it uses an algorithmic market-making mechanism through the use of Smart Tokens. This will ensure liquidity and accurate prices by maintaining a fixed ratio among connected tokens and adjusting their own supply.

The Bancor platform has expanded beyond Ethereum to offer an exchange with EOS and POA Network. It also features a native token known as BNT( Bancor Network Token), which serves as a Smart Token hub that connects all other tokens in the Bancor Network, enabling instant trades among any asset supported by Bancor.

Kyber

Kyber Network is an on-chain liquidity protocol that allows the token holders to contribute liquidity known as reserves. The Kyber Network offers multiple types of reserves that exist in smart contracts. Besides that, Kyber does not use order books; when a user initiates a trade, Kyber returns the best price across all reserves.

The Kyber Network can be integrated into dApps to enhance user experience. In addition, Vendors and wallets can also use the Kyber Network to allow users to transact using their token of choice in a single transaction. Moreover, Kyber has a native token called KNC which is used to align ecosystem incentives. Holders can stake KNC to participate in governance and earn rewards, reserve managers pay fees and receive rebates in KNC, and DApp integrators receive a portion of fees.

Balancer

Balancer is an automated market-maker built on Ethereum. It allows anyone to create or add liquidity to customizable pools and earn trading fees. Instead of the traditional AMM model, Balancer’s formula allows any number of tokens in any weights or trading fees.

In fact, Balancer is like an inverse of ETF: instead of paying fees to portfolio managers to rebalance your portfolio, you collect fees from traders, who continuously rebalance your portfolio by following arbitrage opportunities. Balancer protocol is designed to be composable and has three types of pools:

1) Private Pools where only the owner can contribute liquidity and has full permissions over the pool, being able to update any of its parameters.

2) Shared Pools where the pool’s tokens, weights, and fees are permanently set and the pool creator has no special privileges. Anyone may add liquidity to shared pools and ownership of the pool’s liquidity is tracked with a specific token called BPT – Balancer Pool Token.

3) Smart Pools which are a variation of a private pool where the controller is a smart contract, allowing for any arbitrary logic/restrictions on how pool parameters can be changed. Smart pools may also accept liquidity from anyone and issue BPTs to track ownership.

Yield Farming

Yield farming is an activity that uses crypto assets to generate as much return as possible on those assets. A yield farmer may continually chase which pool offers the best APY (Annual Percentage Yield). This may mean moving to risky pools from time to time, but yield farmers can deal with the risks.

In some sense, yield farming is similar to staking but is a lot more complex. In many cases, it works with users called liquidity providers (LP) that add funds to liquidity pools. For example, a yielding farmer puts 100,000 USDT into the Compound. In return, he or she will get a token for the stock, called cUSDT.

Let’s say he or she get 100,000 cUSDT back. He or she can then put the cUSDT into a liquidity pool that uses cUSDT in Balancer, an AMM (auto market maker) that allows users to set up a crypto index fund that is rebalancing. At normal times, this can earn a small amount of transaction fees. This is the basic idea of ​​yield farming. Users are looking for sophisticated cases in the system to produce as many results as possible in as many products as possible.

Liquidity Pool

What is a liquidity pool? It’s basically a smart contract that contains funds. In return for providing liquidity to the pool, LPs get a reward. That reward may come from fees generated by the underlying DeFi platform, or some other source.

Some popular Yield Farming platforms are SushiSwap, Yearn Finance, and YAM Finance.

SushiSwap

SushiSwap is an automated market making (AMM) decentralized exchange (DEX) currently on the Ethereum blockchain. Unlike other protocols, SushiSwap is a community-run project that is governed by the vote of the community. There are a few core products for SushiSwap’s ecosystem:

Each of these serve a different purpose within the ecosystem. Users Earn SUSHI tokens by staking SushiSwap V2 SLP Tokens.

Yearn Finance

yearn.finance is a decentralized ecosystem of aggregators that utilize lending platforms such as Aave, Compound, Dydx, and Fulcrum to optimize your token lending. When you deposit your tokens into yearn.finance, they are converted to yTokens. yTokens are periodically rebalanced to choose the most profitable lending services.

Among the aggregators, Curve.fi is the most prominent integrator of yTokens. Curve.fi creates an AMM between yDAI, yUSDC, yUSDT, yTUSD that not only earns the lending fees but also the trading fees on Curve.fi. On the other hand, YFI, yearn.finance’s governance token, is distributed only to users who provide liquidity with certain yTokens. With no pre-mine, pre-sale, or allocation to the team, YFI is claimed to be the most decentralized token in the DeFi space.

YAM Finance

YAM Protocol is a decentralized cryptocurrency that uses a rebasing mechanism to raise funds for a treasury managed by the community. The community can then use those funds via YAM governance to build the protocol.

In addition, YAM is the governance token for the YAM protocol. Using token voting, YAM holders have direct influence over the YAM treasury and direction of the protocol. Governance discussions take place on the Yam Governance Forum.

Currently, you’re able to earn YAM rewards by providing liquidity to the yUSD/YAM Uniswap pool. The rewards given to the pool are 92,500 in week 1, decreasing by 10% every week after. Please realize that you must apply the YAM scaling factor to get the current reward amount at any given time.

Conclusion

In short, DeFi is the most exciting blockchain-based financial ecosystem right now, but it is also extremely risky and confusing. This article is just an introduction to DeFi and I hope you could understand the basic concepts. To help every understand the DeFi applications better and even use them to accumulate wealth in digital assets, I will attempt to write a series of article of DeFi that shall zoom into some famous DeFi platforms like Compound, UniSwap, SushiSwap, yearn finance, Balancer and more, stay tune!

References

Blockchain-Based Cross-Border Money Transfer- A Thorough Examination of Various Architectures and Use Cases.

Introduction

Cross-border money transfer is a huge market. According to World Bank statistics, the scale of global cross-border payments has grown at an average annual rate of 5%. Global remittances grew to $689 billion in 2018 and $717 billion in 2019 and projected to reach $750 billion in 2020. 

Remittances represent a steady supply of foreign funds for many low- and middle-income countries and play a vital role in lowering the level of poverty (Digital Financial Services, 2018). Remittances support demand for local consumption and complement the volatile flows of other types of international funds, such as foreign direct investment and aid. At the household level, remittances are associated with increased spending on housing, education, and income-generating activities. Thus, remittances play an important role in the economic growth of low- and middle-income countries.

However, due to the large number of intermediaries involved, the cost of cross-border remittances is prohibitively high, the average commission rate per remitter is as high as 7.68%. In addition, the remittance cycle is long, from a few days to weeks or even months. Moreover, existing cross-border remittances also suffer from other issues such as frauds, exchange rate losses, counterparty risk, red tape and more. On top of that, an estimated 2 billion people are unbanked and therefore being excluded from the existing global financial services, including cross-border money transfer. As a result, a large proportion of remittances are still sent through informal channels, which lack consumer protection mechanisms (Digital Financial Services, 2018). In short, transferring money across international borders is still complicated, time consuming and expensive.

Fortunately, the proliferation of innovative digital technologies is rapidly transforming the remittance landscape. Innovative technology-based remittance models are slowly replacing incumbent, clunky and costly models. On the one hand, these new models help to reduce transfer costs and time and improve access at both the sending and receiving ends. Let us examine several emerging business models for cross-border money transfer.

Emerging Models for Cross-Border Remittance

Remittance ModelDescription
Mobile MoneyCross-border remittances are sent through mobile money or e-wallet accounts. The transfer can happen between: – Providers owned by the same group holding company.- Different providers working in cooperation. -Multiple providers connected through a “hub” operated by a third party. -Mobile money/e-wallet accounts can be used by the senders and the receivers.
OnlineUsers transfer money through an online remittance platform. The transfer can be made through the provider’s mobile phone app or website. Senders can use their online banking account, debit card, credit card and more to link to the platform to send money. Receivers can receive funds in several ways, such as mobile money, bank account deposit, airtime top-up or cash pick-up.
Peer-to-PeerThis is a fully online model as no cash is accepted or sent out. Transactions can happen only through a bank account, card or closed loop wallet offered by the provider. As the cross-border movement of money is low, the cost of remittances is also relatively low.
BlockchainThis blockchain-based model enables money transfer in the form of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Ethereum and more. Funds are sent and received in the respective local fiat currency, but the cross-border transfer of funds happens through blockchain in the form of digital cryptocurrency.  For examples, platforms such as Ripple and Ethereum enable cross-border payment services through their own cryptocurrencies (XRP and Ether, respectively) or through their platforms based on blockchain technology. Blockchain provides a decentralized ledger of transactions (blocks) distributed among all members of the network (chain). The ledger is updated every time a transaction takes place once verified and approved by the nodes in the blockchain network.

Among the emerging remittance models, blockchain-based remittance is the most promising and has the greatest potential to disrupt the conventional cross-border money transfer business.

The blockchain-based remittance model has the potential to enable the unbanked people and migrant workers to send money fast and at low cost back home.

Blockchain technology can solve the pain points of high cost and delay of cross-border remittance. Indeed, blockchain-based remittance can simplify the entire process, removing unnecessary intermediaries and other barriers. The idea is to provide frictionless and near instant payment solutions. Unlike traditional services, a blockchain network need not rely on a slow and tedious process of approving transactions, which usually goes through several banks and intermediaries. 

A blockchain remittance system can perform worldwide financial transactions based on a distributed network of computing devices known as nodes. This means that several nodes participate in the process of verifying and validating transactions which can be done in a decentralized and secure way.  The encryption feature of blockchain provides security and an easily verifiable public audit trail. Better security means less frauds that are rampant in traditional banking. Overall, blockchain technology can provide faster and more reliable payment solutions at a much lower cost. 

Let us examine some blockchain architectures and use cases pertaining to cross-border money transfer.

Stellar

Stellar is an open-source network for currencies and payments. Stellar makes it possible to create, send, and trade digital representations of all forms of money—USD, SGD, Euro, Bitcoin, ETH, and more. It is designed so all the world’s financial systems can interoperate on a single network. Stellar is a borderless, limitless, and powerful open network for storing and moving money

Stellar has no owner; it is owned by the public. The software runs across a decentralized, open network and handles millions of transactions each day. Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Stellar relies on blockchain to keep the network in sync, but the end-user experience is more like cash—Stellar is much faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient than typical blockchain-based systems.

Stellar makes it possible to create, send, and trade digital representations of all forms of money: dollars, pesos, bitcoin, pretty much anything. It’s designed so all the world’s financial systems can work together on a single network.

Though Stellar is cryptocurrency-centric,  it has always been intended to enhance rather than replace the existing financial system. In contrast to the Bitcoin network that was made for trading only bitcoins, Stellar is a decentralized system that was designed for trading any kind of money in a transparent and efficient way. 

Stellar has a native digital currency, the lumen, that is required in small amounts for initializing accounts and making transactions. However, other than those requirements, Stellar does not privilege any specific currency. It is specifically designed to make traditional forms of money more useful and accessible.

With Stellar, you can create a digital representation of a fiat currency of any country. Essentially, you can set up a 1:1 relationship between your digital token and fiat currency. Every one of your tokens out in the world is backed by an equivalent fiat deposit. So while people hold the tokens, they can treat them just like traditional money, because they know that they’re exchangeable for traditional money in the end.

Everex

Everex is a global blockchain fintech company headquartered in Singapore with offices in Bangkok/Thailand. It facilitates the application of Stablecoins for peer-to-peer money transfers, merchant payment settlements and fiat to digital asset exchange. Exverax focuses on fiat and asset pegged Stablecoins that represent units of national currencies and international investment assets that are powered by smart contracts and exist in Ethereum blockchain token format.

Everex is operating on Euro, British pound, Thai baht and Stablecoin markets with the main office in Bangkok, Thailand. Its solution allows 25x faster seamless transaction settlements for global and domestic payments with virtually zero cost, providing users with more efficient access to funding. Everex implements Ethereum blockchain technology as a new rails for financial transactions to challenge existing legacy payment system solutions and also to address the growing global financial inclusion problem.

Everex enables transparent cross-border financial transactions, bringing individuals and SMEs – with or without bank accounts – into the new global economy powered by the distributed ledger technology. The blockchain technology eliminates the need of any third-party or central authority for financial transactions, by encrypting and storing transactions in participants’ account ledger, making it almost impossible to tamper.

The main product is a blockchain-based mobile wallet which enables end users to instantly convert and send money abroad – for which the company offers a white-label solution to any interested parties like banks, central banks, and many others, which offer cross-border money transfers.

Furthermore, Everex deploys blockchain technology using smart contracts to digitise national fiat currencies in order to enable instant money transfer over the blockchain. It has created a price-stable coin called eFiat which is a full representation of a national currency on the blockchain, fully-pegged by its fiat value (meaning that 1 EUR = 1 eEUR). This solution enables cryptocurrency exchanges to better deal with their liquidity and cash-in/cash-out options.

MoneyFi

MoneyFi addresses the growing and emerging market demands for a better alternative in remittance based on the deployment of the secure credit cards. Its non-traditional approach, using blockchain technology, is purpose-built to drastically reduce transaction fee costs, providing financial inclusion for underbanked and unbanked people, leveraging the worldwide ATM’s platform’s rapid expansion rate of its network.

MoneyFi intends to disrupt this market with blockchain. The MoneyFi platform is a communication channel for cross border currency remittances based on digital assets trading. Users will be able to remit money via the MoneyFi App that uses its native cryptocurrency token “Nemoo” for settlement. The App is integrated into an existing infrastructure consisting of a global ATM processing network that will facilitate newly developed fiat-crypto hybrid ATMs. 

Blockchain-powered Smart Supply Chain Management -Auto Parts Business case study

The automotive supply chain is a highly complex and broad ecosystem with participants ranging from parts suppliers, manufacturers, sellers to aftermarket suppliers. All parts come with certain life expectancy, specific requirements and maintenance attributes. With thousands of spare parts, hundreds of parameters, and the number of manufactures distributed regionally or globally, the SCM team need to deal with a very large amount of data.

The two most common challenges are the need to keep inventories well-stocked but not overstocked, and the need to deal with the sheer amount of recalls. In addition, the industry is also facing a mirage of issues including tracking of parts, theft, counterfeit products, and data fraud.

Currently, centralized and siloed IT systems have been used to handle the issues but failed in many aspects. On the contrary, decentralized blockchain inherent features could offer perfect solutions to overcome the automotive parts supply chain issues.

  • All participants share a common data
  • Everyone has access to a single source of truth
  • Reducing intermediaries
  • Improved transparency
  • Trust is embedded in the system
  • Tamperproof due to its immutability

Blockchain technology can improve transparency across the supply chain and significantly reduces the cost and complexity of doing business with multiple parties. For automakers and suppliers, blockchain technology offers unique benefits starting with protecting their brands from counterfeit products to enhancing their brand experience by creating customer-centric business models.

Possible benefits of Blockchain usage in SCM

Identification and Tracking of Automotive Spare Parts

Counterfeit Protection -Verifying Authenticity and Origin

Counterfeit products are a significant issue for automotive manufacturers / suppliers and the counterfeit spare parts market is currently estimated at several billion dollars. Counterfeit spare parts are often of low quality and thus more likely to fail. This leads to dissatisfied customers and trust in the brand .

The Blockchain technology offers  significant advantages over existing solutions where spare parts can be uniquely identified and digitally represented. The digital identification of these parts can be shared transparently to multiple parties in the blockchain business network.

Mutual collaboration is facilitated within the parties knowing that sensitive business information remains confidential. Confidentiality is enforced through blockchain cryptographic methods, hence protect integrity of the data  not only from manipulators within the business network but also externally from attackers.

Spare parts service centers  can accurately verify the authenticity of  parts during replacement. The immutability of blockchain provides for a tamper-proof solution and offers a single source of truth.  This will enhance the  trust relationship between customers and  the manufacturer.

Protection of Aftermarket Business

The global aftermarket business was valued at over 800 billion USD in 2018  and expected to grow to over a trillion USD over the next 10 years. Over 50% of this market consists of the sale of vehicle spare parts and business is split across OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and IAM (Independent Aftermarket) Suppliers.

As each product or part is uniquely represented on the blockchain, the technology can be applied to enforce business terms related to the exact production volume and timing. This level of enforcement can also be applied for manufacturers working with more than one supplier as part of their dual sourcing strategy.

Spare Parts Liability Resolution

In case a spare part needs to be replaced due to failure, liability needs to be established and this requires tracing the part back to the manufacturer. If parts are identified and digitally represented on the blockchain, it offers an accurate way to trace the origin. Liability is thus clearly established and is transparent to all parties in the blockchain. Any liability disputes can be resolved  much faster and resources can be focused on customer engagement.

Vehicle Recall Optimization

Many of the recalls involve product defects that are life-threatening and automakers are exposed to a huge liability. With blockchain technology , the car and the individually assembled parts can be uniquely represented on the blockchain. If automakers  can accurately identify  which defective parts were installed in which cars, then the scope of the recall can be precisely executed thus result in massive cost savings.

Optimizing the Supply Chain Process

Inbound Logistics and Smart Manufacturing

Efficient planning of production capacity requires the manufacturing plant to coordinate between multitier suppliers, 3rd party logistics and transportation companies. Tracking and tracing individual parts across the inbound supply chain is complex and error-prone. Accurate, real-time information is not available and information is spread across individual databases.

By using a distributed immutable blockchain ledger across all parties, an accurate view of the status, quantity and location of the individual parts can be established. This  can improve real-time logistics and plant production capacity.

Outbound Logistics Planning

The outbound supply chain in the automotive sector consists of a complex network of manufacturers, distributors, importers, and dealers. Like the inbound supply chain, participants in the outbound supply chain do not have a common data-sharing model.

Having a shared blockchain based system across the different participants will offer transparency and visibility. This will ensure faster transactions by lowering settlement periods.

Business Model Innovation

Car Personalization and Customer Engagement

The driver profile along with car customization preferences can be saved in a personal blockchain wallet. Shared or lease cars will authenticate the driver using the wallet and the car settings are personalized based on the driver profile. Automakers and mobility operators can thus create new business models focusing on individual preferences

Dynamic Pricing Models in Automotive Insurance and Leasing

A driver profile including miles covered, economical usage of vehicle and accident history is securely stored on the blockchain. Users share this data with providers offering insurance and leasing products based on their personal driving profile. The advantage that  blockchain technology brings here is that the driver profile and historic events are immutably stored on the blockchain providing a single source of truth.

Digital Car Wallet

Ownership history, maintenance, and repairs can be transparently, and verifiably stored in a blockchain-based car wallet. Ownership record and fair price assessment of second-hand cars can be quickly established and transferring ownership can be done faster.

As vehicles are uniquely identified on the blockchain, stolen cars can be easily tracked and traced. Lack of trust and business friction arising in the transfer of ownership is hugely reduced. If repairs and parts replacements are verifiably tracked on the blockchain, warranty claims will be transparent for all parties.

M2M  Transactions

Blockchain technology offers a unique way to automate transactions between machines and enable the future of M2M commerce. Cars in the future will be equipped with blockchain-based wallets and transactions with toll booths, park stations, and electric charging outlets will be automated without manual intervention.

The Solution-Hyperledger

Hyperledger is an open source effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies hosted by The Linux Foundation. Hyperledger is a group of open source projects focused around cross-industry distributed ledger technologies. Hosted by The Linux Foundation, collaborators include industry leaders in technology, finance, banking, supply chain management, manufacturing, and IoT.

The Hyperledger project has been a collaboration of players from various industries and organizations in technology, finance, banking, supply chain management, manufacturing, IoT and more. Since its inception in December 2015, it has managed to enlist many prominent members that include IBM, Intel, NEC, Cisco, J.P Morgan, AMN AMRO, ANZ Bank, Wells Fargo, Accenture, SAP and more.

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The Hyperledger Framework

Hyperledger Fabric

Hyperledger Fabric is the first blockchain project developed and hosted by the Linux Foundation. According to the Linux Foundation , it was Intended as a foundation for developing DLT applications or solutions with a modular architecture.

Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source enterprise-grade permissioned distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, designed for use in developing enterprise applications. It features some key differentiating capabilities over other popular distributed ledger or blockchain platforms.

Hyperledger Fabric is a blockchain framework that runs smart contracts called chaincode, which are written in Go. You can create a private network with Hyperledger Fabric, limiting the peers that can connect to and participate in the network. This private network can be hosted on AWS or other web service provider such as Microsoft Azure , Oracle or IBM.

One special feature of  Hyperledger Fabric is that it allows components, such as consensus and membership services, to be plug-and-play. Besides that, Hyperledger Fabric uses container technology to host smart contracts called chaincode that comprises the application logic of the system.

The AWS Blockchain Template for Hyperledger Fabric creates an EC2 instance with Docker and launches a Hyperledger Fabric network using containers on that instance.

The network includes one order service and three organizations, each with one peer service. The template also launches a Hyperledger Explorer container, which allows you to browse blockchain data. A PostgreSQL server container is launched to support Hyperledger Explorer.

Channels are another unique feature of Hyperledger Fabric. They allow transactions to be private between two actors, while still being verified and committed to the blockchain.

Hyperledger Fabric Architecture

Hyperledger Fabric has a highly modular and configurable architecture. Therefore, enterprises can make use of its versatility to develop innovative business applications.  Besides that, it can be used to optimize the applications. Indeed, Hyperledger Fabric is well suited to develop a broad range of industry use cases including banking, finance, insurance, healthcare, human resources, supply chain and even digital music delivery.

Hyperledger Fabric is a permissioned blockchain network that provides ledger services to application clients and administrators. It allows multiple organizations to collaborate as a consortium to form the network.  The permissions to join the network are determined by a set of policies that are agreed to by the consortium when the network is configured.

Hyperledger Fabric Network

The Hyperledger Fabric network comprises the following components:

  • Ledger
  • Peers
  • Ordering service Chaincode (aka smart contract)
  • Channels
  • Membership service provider

The Hyperledger ecosystem also consists of the client applications that allow users to interact with the network.  Moreover, The Hyperledger Fabric application SDK provides a powerful API for developers to program applications to interact with the blockchain network on behalf of the users. 

Channels are data partitioning mechanisms that allow transaction visibility for stakeholders only. Each channel is an independent chain of transaction blocks containing only transactions for that channel.

The chaincode (Smart Contracts) encapsulates both the asset definitions and the business logic (or transactions) for modifying those assets. Transaction invocations result in changes to the ledger.

The ledger contains the current world state of the network and a chain of transaction invocations. A shared, permissioned ledger is an append-only system of records and serves as a single source of truth.

The network is the collection of data processing peers that form a blockchain network. The network is responsible for maintaining a consistently replicated ledger.

The ordering service is a collection of nodes that orders transactions into a block. The world state reflects the current data about all the assets in the network. This data is stored in a database for efficient access. Currently, supported databases are LevelDB and CouchDB.

The membership service provider (MSP) manages identity and permissioned access for clients and peers.

Channels partition the Fabric network in such a way that only the stakeholders can view the transactions. In this way, organizations can utilize the same network while maintaining separation between multiple blockchains.  The mechanism works by delegating transactions to different ledgers. Members of a channel can communicate and transact privately. Other members of the network cannot see the transactions on that channel.

Components of Hyperledger Network
Channels
SCM Hyperledger Platform on AWS

References

Security Token Offering

Recently, Security Token Offering (STO) has emerged as a new option in fundraising in the blockchain/crypto space after ICOs have been banned or heavily regulated in many countries. ICO projects were banned because many of the projects were scams. In China, they called such coins “Air Coins” and in the west, they called them “S**t coins”.

In contrast to ICO tokens which are mostly utility tokens, security tokens are backed by underlying tangible assets that have monetary value, such as stocks, bonds, funds, bank reserves, properties, minerals and more. In fact, Security Token Offering (STO) can be considered a  hybrid model between initial Public Offering (IPO) and ICOs. 

A security token represents the ownership of a tokenized underlying asset that is stored on the blockchain.  Security tokens holders are entitled to an array of rights including equity, dividends, profit sharing, voting rights and more. These rights are written into smart contracts and traded freely as digitized tokens.

Tokenization is a method that converts rights to an asset into a digital token. Thus, we can take an asset, tokenize it and create its digital representation that lives on Blockchain. Blockchain guarantees that the ownership information is immutable.  Tokens created in this way are also known as crypto tokens or security tokens.  The benefits of tokenization include the ability to fragmentize large assets and expensive assets, achieve greater liquidity, achieve lower insurance costs and higher market efficiency.

For example, you can tokenize an asset such as a book that you authored. The book is kept somewhere while the book token is uploaded to the blockchain network. The book crypto token is a representation of the book ownership. You can specify how many tokens need to be transferred to your crypto wallet before you can transfer the book ownership to a buyer by means of a smart contract.

Cryptokitties is a brilliant example of the crypto token that allows users to acquire an adorable collectible by transferring some cryptocurrencies to the owner. The owner will then transfer the digital collectible to the buyer. The transaction occurs automatically via the smart contract.

STOs are usually more acceptable to the regulatory bodies as they are asset-backed and comply with regulatory governance. They are seen as a more legitimate method of fundraising. Compared to ICO, It is much more difficult to launch an STO, as it is governed by strict securities law.

Therefore, STO projects will have to conduct due diligence work to make sure they comply with the relevant regulations that are usually imposed by the security commission of a country. They would typically only be able to raise funds from accredited investors who need to pass stringent whitelisting and KYC processes. In addition, the financial cost of launching an STO is higher compared to ICO, though it is cheaper than the traditional IPO.

The process of launching an STO is nearly the same as IEO and ICO but drafting legal documents with the help of a qualified legal adviser is more important than the latter two. They may need to furnish a prospectus just like the IPO, depending on the amount of money they wish to raise and the jurisdiction of different countries.

Despite the additional legal restrictions and financial cost, STO campaigns have been fairly successful. For example, the blockchain venture capital firm Blockchain Capital was able to raise USD$10 million via its STO initiative in 2017. Nexo, a company that operates crypto-backed loans worldwide, successfully raised USD$52,500,000 in 2018.  

The success of Polymath was even more phenomenal, its STO campaign managed to raise a total of USD $207,300,000 in 2018. Polymath is an interface between financial securities and the blockchain, helping issuers to overcome the complex technical and legal challenges related to issuing regulated securities on the blockchain.  This cutting-edge blockchain platform offers a comprehensive tokenization process with decentralized protocol. Polymath allows a company to quickly and conveniently raise capital and mint security tokens.

Steps in conducting an STO

Step 1 Assemble A Formidable Team

In this era where information is instantly available, potential investors and Exchanges will know instantly the background of the project team members. If the project team comprises mostly inexperienced people, it will seriously affect the confidence of the investors and the Exchanges. Therefore, the project owner must assemble a formidable team that comprises experts in business, legal, technology, marketing, and other related disciplines. As most STO projects are blockchain-based, it is a must to hire blockchain experts.

Step 2 To Decide Whether STO is Suitable for the Company

Though STO might be easier and less costly than traditional IPOs, it is not necessarily more beneficial. Therefore, the project needs to analyze and evaluate the options before deciding to go ahead with STO.

Step 3 Decide on the types of Security Token

The project team needs to decide on what type of security token they wish to issue. The most common type is the equity token. Equity token means token holders become a shareholder of the company which allows them to receive periodic dividends and have voting rights.

Another type of token is the debt token (or bond token) which means holders are entitled to receive periodic interests based on the underlying digital assets they lend to the company. The token holder is a lender(the creditor) rather than a shareholder of the company.

Step 4 Decide on the Soft Cap and Hard Cap

Next, the project team must decide on the amount to raise in the STO campaign. Specifically, it means they have to decide on the soft cap and hard Cap. A hard cap is the upper limit of the STO’s goal whereas a soft cap is the lower limit, more like the actual amount the team is aiming to raise. Besides that, they have to determine the initial token price at the private sale stage, how many tokens to be minted and how will tokens are distributed. 

Step 5 Writing the whitepaper

The whitepaper is a document that comprises a thorough description of the project, distribution of tokens, business model, tokenomics and more. It also includes information about the project team which usually comprises the board members, the marketing team, the technical team, the legal team, and the advisers.

Writing the whitepaper is a very important step in the IEO campaign. It is an important document that showcases the project. Whether the investors will be impressed and looking forward to investing in the project depends on how well the paper is written.

Step 6 Developing the Token

The token is an integral part of the STO project. Without a native token, what can you sell to the investors? Therefore, it is crucial to design the token from day 1, and start developing it as soon as possible.

Most tokens for STO projects are ERC20 tokens. The ERC20 standard is chosen because it can be easily designed and deployed to the Ethereum main net. However, if you want a customized token and your team has the expertise and programming skills, you can develop a different protocol from the Ethereum main net, or even develop your own blockchain system.

Step 7 Marketing

The project team must carry out an aggressive marketing campaign for its STO initiative in order to broadcast the news to as many investors as possible. However, they need to choose a jurisdiction that allows STO campaign, is crypto friendly and has less redtapes. I would recommend Malta as they are crypto friendly and intend to turn the country into an international STO hub.

The marketing campaign can be conducted through websites, blogs, as well as social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, WeChat and more. They can also organize events and conferences to promote their token but they need to check whether these activities can be conducted in certain countries. For example, you cannot do so in Malaysia and China.

Step 8 Listing Your Security Token

Finally, the project team also must choose a crypto Exchange to list its STO. They need to conduct due diligence in searching for a trusted Exchange before deciding to engage one. A good guide is to look for Exchanges that rank within the top 50 on Coinmarketcap. Besides, they need to analyze reviews of the Exchanges on various crypto platforms. STO fees may also be another concern, as a top rank Exchange may charge an extremely high fee. Therefore, there is always a trade-off between the fee and the reputation of the Exchange.

References

https://hackernoon.com/security-token-offerings-what-is-it-and-how-to-market-it-a067f46a6f2

https://diamco.io

https://blog.tokenomica.com/6-essential-steps-for-launching-and-preparing-your-sto

https://www.coinist.io/crypto-hard-caps-soft-caps/

Fighting COVID-19 with Blockchain

COVID-19 outbreak has become a global pandemic in recent months. The epicenter of the outbreak has moved from China to Europe and then the US. It has sickened hundreds of thousands of people and caused ten of thousands of deaths.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the applications for blockchain technology. For example, Blockchain technology has been proposed as the most efficient means through which the United States’ stimulus package could be distributed.

On the other hand, the Chinese government has deployed blockchain in numerous applications to assist its efforts to fight COVID-19, using DLT to track the virus’ spread, medical records, and the distribution of medical supplies and charity donations.

To fight the outbreak, WHO has launched a DLT platform for sharing data pertaining to the COVID-19 Pandemic. In addition, some companies and non-profit organizations have also launched blockchain-based projects to counter the outbreak of COVID-19. Let’s examine a few of the aforementioned initiatives :

WHO

WHO has launched the blockchain-based platform know as MiPasa to fight COVID-19. The platform will enable “early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots. It was built on top of the Hyperledger Fabric. Hyperledger Fabric is an open-source enterprise-grade permissioned distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform.

The MiPasa platform was co-developed by MiPasa, IBM, Oracle, Hacera and Microsoft. It aims to facilitate fully private information sharing between individuals, state authorities and health institutions.

MiPasa is a verifiable information highway that allows cross-references siloed location. Furthermore, health data is stored on the platform to obtain global insights while ensuring patient privacy. Besides that, MiPasa is will host an array of publicly accessible analytics tools too.

SNARK HEALTH

Snark Health is a platform that connects patients, doctors, insurers, and donors for health care services, private data sharing and payments via the blockchain technology.  

To combat COVID-19, SNARK is building a framework for data-driven discussions and shared learnings to help people have a greater impact at their respective local, state, national level in collaboration with their organizations and governmental agencies. It aims to enable more rapid dissemination of information to improve patient outcomes.

The goal of this project is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, best practices, and lessons learned to support the people and organizations that are tasked with problem-solving at the local level across the globe. According to SNARK, there remain many unanswered questions in regards to the clinical, operational and financial aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the process of answering these critical questions, the new framework could lay the foundation for global triage support, improved access to health care services and clinical research.

BINANCE

Binance’s Blockchain-powered donation platform Binance Charity has initiated a $5 million coronavirus relief campaign At the time of writing this article, its “Crypto Against COVID” campaign has received 24 donations, amounting to a total of 160.6306 BTC. A wallet has been set up for public donations, which can be made in BNB, BTC, BUSD, and XRP. Besides that, Binance will make an upfront donation of $1 million in BUSD, which will be converted to fiat and used to purchase supplies to send to hospitals in affected countries.

In addition, Binance will also match donations up to $1 million. Furthermore, the company will donate $1 for every retweet of its #CryptoAgainstCovid posting and will donate an additional $1 million if the number of retweets reaches 1 million within seven days.

As of March 20 this year, Binance Charity has delivered a number of coronavirus aid products to over 300 hospitals and medical teams in multiple provinces and cities, including Hubei, Sichuan, Guangxi, and Shanghai. The items delivered include 366,000 pairs of gloves, 56,800 masks, 9 sterilizers, 173 barrels of disinfectant, 5,280 bottles of hand sanitizers, 20,000 testing kits, 7,850 protective suits, 20,000 pairs of goggles, 388 oxygen concentrators, and 1000 germicidal lamps.

Hashcash Consultants

Hashcash Consultants has launched the Corona Fund Index Cryptocurrency (CFIX), a coronavirus relief initiative involving cryptocurrency.

This global software firm promised that 90% of trading fees derived from CFIX will be diverted to its Corona Relief Fund. The fund will be donated to various non-profits and organizations that are actively combating the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

References