DECENTRANET NEWS

Blockchain Industry News: DecentraNet Announces Advisory Partnership with Chintai, a Tokenized Asset Leasing Exchange

DecentraNet is honored to announce that we have formalized our relationship with Chintai, a tokenized asset leasing exchange.

Chintai is a live marketplace that hosts a high-performance resource exchange for leasing tokenized assets. While currently it is a primarily EOS-based platform, Chintai has an ambitious roadmap that will lay the foundation for the leasing of nearly any utility token or NFT. This means you can help the blockchain industry scale, while making risk-free passive income.

The native Chintai utility token (CHEX) ties every token leasing market together, enabling users to access the highest passive income returns possible at any given moment. CHEX acts as the intermediary token for the entire platform and unlocks many benefits for users who hold the token. They are currently running a rolling 18 hour auction for CHEX until Dec 4th 2019. Chintai’s early successes have resulted in enhanced end user experience, lower cost barriers for developers, and novel passive income streams.

“Decentranet is an essential ingredient to help Chintai deliver the benefits of token leasing for cryptocurrency holders. Their expertise is the fuel we need to enable next generation passive income streams, and meaningful use cases for cryptocurrency, says Ryan Bethem of Chintai

“Since launching in October 2018, Chintai has grown to be the largest token leasing platform on the EOS mainnet. As advocates for EOS, we believe that Chintai’s continued successes are critical to the health of the EOS ecosystem. Chintai’s aim at Non-Fungible Token (NFT) leasing is a potential killer app for the near exponential growth of NFTs in the future. This has the potential to unleash utility on a global scale for tokens which normally sit underutilized. DecentraNet aims to continue leading professional advisory and consultancy services for transformative technology companies, and we believe this partnership enhances our mutual goals,” says Matt McKibbin, Founder at DecentraNet.

“Chintai is a perfect example of a company taking an essentially wasted resource, and turning it into something valuable. Many investors in PoS protocols don’t have the hardware or time to take advantage of the benefits of staking. Chintai removes the burden, and provides users with value they otherwise never would have captured. And that’s just the start! Where this project truly gets interesting is alongside the rise of non-fungible tokens.” — Ted Moskovitz, Founder at Decentranet.


ABOUT DECENTRANET

DecentraNet is a purpose driven investment and advisory firm specializing in blockchain and other transformational technologies with a global impact. We also create event experiences and innovative content to bring our clients projects to market and to evangelize the potential of transformational technologies generally.

Learn more: http://www.decentranet.com

ABOUT CHINTAI

Chintai is the largest token leasing platform on the EOS mainnet. The platform is powered by EOSIO smart contracts for peer-to-peer leasing. The company has an ambitious roadmap that will lay the foundation for the leasing of nearly any utility token or non-fungible token (NFT). The native Chintai utility token (CHEX) ties every token leasing market together, enabling users to access the highest passive income returns possible at any given moment.

To learn more about their company, visit https://chintai.io/.

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Tiffany Madison

tmadison@decentranet.com

(1) 469–730–6703 (US Central)

What You Need to Know: The Past, the Present and the Future of Stablecoins

Stablecoins are a type of cryptocurrency which keep their value at a constant ‘peg’, usually a 1:1 ratio with another asset such as a traditional fiat currency. Here’s why this is important.

 

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies designed to minimize the volatility of the price of the stablecoin, relative to some “stable” asset or basket of assets. A stablecoin can be pegged to a currency, or to exchange traded commodities (such as precious or industrial metals). Most stablecoins in use today are pegged to the U.S. dollar, through what is known as a ‘trust coin’. Trust coins are traded on the basis that the issuing party has sufficient funds in their account to act as collateral against all circulating stablecoins.

However, as the nascent cryptoasset industry evolves side-by-side with traditional financial products, new stablecoins are being created. Newcomers include commodity coins, algorithmic coins, and bank coins. Some long-standing stablecoins are experiencing operational difficulties as new competitors enter the market.

So, what is the state of the stablecoin market today, and where could these useful and stable cryptocurrencies be heading in the future?

Bitfinex and Tether

Those who have been paying close attention to cryptocurrency news in recent weeks have likely read about the unfolding situation with highly-traded U.S. dollar backed stablecoin Tether (ticker symbol: USDT), created and issued by cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex.

It was found that in contrary to the initial promises of Bitfinex, which read: “Every tether is always backed 1-to-1, by traditional currency held in our reserves. So, 1 USDT is always equivalent to 1 USD.”, Tether later amended their token description to read: “every tether is always 100% backed by our reserves, which include traditional currency and… from time to time, may include other assets and receivables from loans made by Tether to third- parties”, prompting some users to wonder if USDT was backed by tangible assets at all.

This crucial change in terms came after a 23-page document was issued by The New York State Attorney General (NYSAG) on April 24th, 2019, accusing Tether of using their reserves, meant to collateralize circulating USDT, to instead cover a loss of US$850 million, incurred during a suspected abscondment by payment partner Crypto Capital.

Likewise, it has recently emerged that Tether, used primarily by traders to circumvent the volatility of other cryptocurrencies, has in fact been making investments into bitcoin with their reserves, a contrasting strategy to their status as a stablecoin.

Although Bitfinex asserted in a recent press release that the claims brought against Tether are erroneous and that both Bitfinex and Tether are ‘financially strong’, many cryptocurrency experts, including Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, have expressed doubt that Tether will recover; with Lubin adding that other price-stable tokens will likely gain traction because of the Tether situation.

New Stablecoin Competitors

As the cryptocurrency markets mature, and traders require more advanced products to provide stability and safe stores of value in periods of market volatility, many new stablecoins are emerging which seek to challenge Tether’s position in the top 10 cryptocurrencies by market cap.

One such competitor which is gaining serious traction among traders, is U.S. dollar backed Gemini stablecoin (ticker symbol: GUSD), the world’s first regulated stablecoin. The Gemini coin was launched in 2018 by the billionaire Winklevoss twins.

To avoid such debacles as have been unfolding with Tether, the Gemini stablecoin is subject to a monthly third- party audit by public accounting firm BPM LLP, to confirm it still holds its 1:1 peg with the dollar. As a statement on transparency, Gemini has made all their reports publicly available.

In a recent press release, cryptocurrency payment network Flexa announced that it would be partnering with Gemini to enable instant cryptocurrency payments, including the Gemini dollar, in stores and online for a range of huge retail merchants, including international coffee chain Starbucks.

New stablecoins entering the market, which challenge the status quo through strong innovation and partnerships, could seriously challenge USDT’s market share, especially at a time when controversy has Tether and Bitfinex under the spotlight.

Emerging Stablecoin Technology

Other forms of stablecoins are also being experimented with, which don’t simply work on a trust coin model. Bank coins, such as J.P. Morgan’s new ‘JPM coin’, is a type of stablecoin for institutional clients, which is USD-backed like a trust coin, but held in custody in J.P.Morgan accounts and therefore verifiable. These coins are set to facilitate instantaneous cross-border payments via blockchain technology.

Furthermore, algorithmic stablecoins, often abbreviated as ‘algo-coins’, use a novel type of peg to maintain their value. Instead of relying on real assets or fiat to back coins, algo-coins are coded with specific sets of rules which govern their behavior and value.

For example, some algo-coins auto- adjust their supply as demand increases or declines for the stablecoin, which subsequently affects price. The most notable example where this has been tried before is Basis, an algorithmic stablecoin which raised US$133 million that sought to create an inflation resistant stable digital currency.

Unfortunately, the project fell under the scope of US securities regulations, making it prohibitively expensive to be in compliance, and was forced to be shelved in December 2018.

The Future and Limitations of Stablecoins

It seems obvious that there are improvements to be made, especially with trust coins, with verifying that the stablecoin issuer actually has the funds or assets to back their stablecoins on a 1:1 basis.

Issuers like Gemini have realized this and are now competing by implementing independent third-party auditing services to reassure their users that funds are backed. Before, with stablecoins like Tether, it would have been impossible for the average user to verify that Bitfinex held adequate funds.

Likewise, centralization of stablecoin assets is a persistent issue which requires a solution. Many have criticized the JPM coin as being a centralized stablecoin which detracts from the founding principles of decentralized blockchain technology, however, other popular stablecoins such as Tether are also virtually in the sole control of a central issuing authority.

As a means of payment, transacting across borders, and as a ‘safe-haven’ during volatile trading periods, the stablecoin is a valuable tool with a multitude of applications. As the space matures, it’s highly likely that many new innovative stablecoins will emerge to challenge today’s leading coins.

 


Want to Know More About All the Awesome Stuff We Do?

DecentraNet is a purpose-driven investment and advisory firm specializing in blockchain and other transformational technologies with global impact. We also create event experiences and innovative content to bring our clients projects to market and to evangelize the potential of transformational technologies generally.

  1. Click HERE for instant access to our 2019 Market Report. Explore what 30 thought-leaders from dozens of industry verticals had to say.
  2. We are advisors and consultants that work with blockchain companies and other transformational technology projects. If you’d like to connect with us on how we can help your company, please click HERE or send us an email at hello@decentranet.com.
  3. You can also reach out to inquire about any of our current clients or portfolio companies at hello@decentranet.com.

I’m a Techstars Mentor: Here’s Two Epic Companies from May’s Blockchain Demo Day

I’ve been in the blockchain space since 2014 and judged dozens of pitch competitions. Last week’s Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator Demo Day was the best I’ve ever seen.

 

I’ve either organized, judged, or witnessed dozens of pitch competitions featuring startups and early-stage companies that had great promise for the blockchain marketplace. But last week, I was floored by the promise of each company selected for this exclusive accelerator.

For those of us that have been at the forefront of evangelizing and investing in bitcoin or blockchain startups for years, observing the industry maturation on display was impressive, and immensely rewarding. The high caliber of each company seems to indicate that the big boys are really entering the blockchain playground, which bodes well for those of us waiting for the crypto winter to dwindle.

Every single one of the companies had either already solidified partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, such as Oracle or Google, had developed massive revenue pipelines and/or had millions of dollars in LOIs and potential revenue within their grasp.

The transition from the early starry-eyed days of blockchain company’s focusing on ideation, white papers, and hopes and dreams over full business plans, fortune 500 partnerships, and high-quality teams — are long gone. The progress and quality of the entrepreneurs themselves have grown leaps and bounds, too. Each had developed sophisticated execution strategies, with mature plans for scaling and growth with revenue projections and polished, professional presentations.

Of all of the companies that impressed me, two specifically stood out.

Paperstreet

My co-founder, Ted Moskovitz, and I first met Paperstreet at dinner from the Techstars Mentor Madness in New York in February. We had a speed dating round with each company for 20 minutes and engaged in a mind-melding session as quickly and efficiently as possible. The purpose was to properly pair mentors with companies to see if there is a fit.

Initially, the Paperstreet team struck me as true founders and product professionals that understood the entrepreneurial dilemma of raising money from the right investors. They had a passion and desire to truly eliminate pain-points and streamline processes for fellow startups and early-stage companies to eliminate boundaries and barriers to entry and difficulties for founders raising capital. They expressed that they understood, all too well, that startups spend way too much time raising capital and not enough time with their product.

Nothing in the market streamlines that process. Enter Paperstreet.

As this piece explains, “Not only has Paperstreet integrated all the tools a business needs to execute a compliant token sale, equity placement, or security token offering, but we connect issuers with a vast network of qualified investors through our online platform. This way, issuers can spend more time building a great business and less time worrying about regulatory compliance and wooing investors.”

Between the cohort companies present at the Demo Day, all of them are using Paperstreet are using KYC/AML. Since Paperstreet is fundamentally a tool for accelerators, it’s not just for startups, it’s for people raising money, entrepreneurs and accelerators that can pass them for a vetting process.

I predict that they have a compelling and intuitive product and foresee them working with some of the largest and most prominent accelerators in the ecosystem.

Alkemi

Liquidity is one of the most important problems that blockchains’ tokenized money systems can resolve. I’m so obsessed with solving this problem (about liquidity) that I was one of the earliest investors in Securrency, a disruptive platform that provides for the issuance and trading of securities tokens. I’m also great friends with Galia Bertnazi of Bancor, and was present during the Bancor Tel Avi launch and monumental $152M raise.

Alkemi is one of the most promising and interesting startups that is equally passionate about solving this problem, too. Their on-chain liquidity protocol is a non-custodial solution for stakeholders to earn incentives on their idle crypto assets, providing the infrastructure required for the internet of value. This is huge. I knew that I wanted to work with them right after our brief interview during Mentor Madness. They did not disappoint at Demo Day.

During their Demo Day, as CoinDesk described, “Alkemi revealed a cryptocurrency liquidity pool deal to the tune of $16 million. The Alkemi app is scheduled for launch by 2020 after the protocol undergoes security audits, will eventually support bitcoin, fiat-backed stablecoins, XRP and a variety of other assets. Alkemi is looking to create a liquidity system for exchanges by making an accessible honeypot that service providers can dip into when demand increases faster than supply.”

I believe they can succeed and that their promising technology is the future of monetary and asset exchange.

The accelerator is designed to give a company one year’s worth of progress in ten weeks. The mission for Alkemi was definitely accomplished, and their fellow cohort companies with supportive of their progress and success. Rather than fiercely competing, these companies supported one another wholeheartedly. This goes with the blockchain ethos of collaboration over competition.

Some additional honorable mentions are Gilded, a New Orleans-based blockchain startup providing software to simplify the cryptocurrency accounting process. Gilded’s crypto bookkeeping and invoicing tools are used by ICOs, blockchain companies, and other businesses to ease back-office operations. We all need this in our lives. Crypto isn’t going anywhere and neither is the demand for accounting.

Two companies deserve an honorable mention.

Paperchain

Paperchain is also a very impressive concept. Paperchain is a New York City-based fintech company working at the intersection of media, finance, and technology. They aim to provide faster growth capital for digital media companies using real-time sales data. We will definitely stay focused on their progression into the marketplace.

Any Ledger

Any Ledger facilitates the integration of blockchain into IoT architectures. Unlike other potential solutions, users won’t be tied to a single specific chain or hardware as they support many chains and devices proven to be production ready. Industrial manufacturing, supply chain logistics, smart electric grids, and IoT devices are all areas that can all benefit from this technology. As the IoT continues to develop, solutions like AnyLedger have infinite potential.

Conclusion

Our overall first impressions of the Alchemist Blockchain Techstars Accelerator program was there were promising startups, but they needed a lot of work to achieve viability in this market. Every single company made tremendous progress in focus, direction, product-market-fit, and partnerships.

This is the first class of this accelerator. We can only imagine how further streamlined processes and procedures on behalf of the talented, experienced, and stellar Techstars accelerator team will provide mentorship to help companies further reach their full potential. The Demo Day was oversold and the room was full of hungry investors, ready-to-deploy capital, and eager collaborators. The blockchain industry’s trajectory remains forward-moving, and, I believe, these developments are a sound indication that the crypto winter is thawing.

If you are even remotely interested in the blockchain technology and its potential, these developments indicate we are in the midst of a massive boom the best and brightest transparent and transformative technologies developing in real-time.


Want to Know More About All the Awesome Stuff We Do?

DecentraNet is a purpose-driven investment and advisory firm specializing in blockchain and other transformational technologies with global impact. We also create event experiences and innovative content to bring our clients projects to market and to evangelize the potential of transformational technologies generally.

  1. Click HERE for instant access to our 2019 Market Report. Explore what 30 thought-leaders from dozens of industry verticals had to say.
  2. We are advisors and consultants that work with blockchain companies and other transformational technology projects. If you’d like to connect with us on how we can help your company, please click HERE or send us an email at hello@decentranet.com.
  3. You can also reach out to inquire about any of our current clients or portfolio companies at hello@decentranet.com.

This is What the Bitcoin Market Really Looks Like: Smaller and Less Volatile Than You May Think

Bitcoin is the largest and most well-known cryptocurrency in the world, but it has a reputation for being immature and prone to manipulation. A new report by an aspiring Bitcoin ETF issuer tries to shed that reputation by showing that the market is more mature than it seems.

This is a guest post by our portfolio company, Zen Ledger.

The Bitwise report found that nearly 95% of Bitcoin trading volume is faked by crypto exchanges in order to earn millions in listing fees — a revelation that made headlines since the report was released. But, the real story is that the Bitcoin market is significantly smaller, more orderly, and more regulated than is commonly thought.

Let’s take a closer look at these findings and what they mean for your cryptocurrency portfolio.

Nearly 95% of Bitcoin trading volume may be fake, but what does that really mean for crypto investors?

Bitcoin is a Fairly Robust Market

Bitwise notes that Bitcoin is a “globally fungible commodity with low transaction costs, near-zero transportation costs, and low-to-zero storage costs”. Despite these inherent attributes, the firm noted that it’s not uncommon for prices to differ by hundreds of dollars on different exchanges, which makes it appear volatile and prone to manipulation.

The issue is that the vast majority of Bitcoin trading volume is fake and/or non-economic wash trading, according to Bitwise. While Bitcoin spreads can be hundreds of dollars on many suspicious exchanges, the spread on real exchanges is typically just a few cents, making it among the tightest quoted securities in the world.

Total Volume is Less Than Reported — Source: Bitwise Report

The roughly $273 million in estimated legitimate volume may be less than the oft-cited $6 billion in total trading volume, but that’s a healthier figure when comparing Bitcoin to other assets. For example, Bitcoin has a roughly 0.39% daily turnover compared to 0.55% daily turnover for gold — a popular analog given the similar investment case.

The Market Is Growing More Mature

The Bitwise report notes that the launch of Bitcoin futures on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) in December 2017, as well as the introduction of institutional market markers and lenders in recent years, has reduced price deviations between exchanges over time.

Average price deviations between the ten trsl exchanges are very low, according to Bitwise, and sustained deviations are extremely rare. Many institutions involved with the cryptocurrency are aware of these dynamics and understand the difference between reported and actual trading volumes — unlike the general public.

Average Price Deviation on Real Exchanges — Source: Bitwise

As one would expect with a maturing spot market, Bitcoin futures have become increasingly popular. The CME futures market is nearly as large as the largest legitimate Bitcoin spot market, according to Bitwise’s calculations, and total futures have exceeded $90 million compared to spot market volume of $273 million.

Bitwise Report Criticisms

The Bitwise report suggests that the Bitcoin market is becoming more mature, but there are many skeptics that believe there is still a lot of cause for concern. For example, Pactum Capital CEO Daniel Cawrey criticized the report in a CoinDesk editorial, saying that it glossed over some key concerns over some of the largest “real” exchanges.

In particular, the inclusion of Binance and Bitfinex as two of the ten exchanges with actual trading volume has been called into question because neither have the level of banking relationships or transparency as the other eight exchanges — even though they account for about half of trading volume. Binance is not registered as a Money Services Business with FinCEN and doesn’t have any formal market surveillance tools in place.

Both exchanges also use a blockchain-based “stablecoin” called Tether that claims to be backed by U.S. dollars, but has never completed an audit to verify that fact. Despite Tether being unregulated and unaudited, it’s used by the two exchanges to satisfy banking and regulatory requirements, which could be problematic if any issues arise in an audit.

What It Means for Investors

The Bitwise report suggests that Bitcoin may be a smaller and less volatile market than prices would suggest when looking at common price aggregators. In many ways, that could make the market more attractive for investors that are more interested in diversification than rampant speculation. They don’t need to worry as much about market manipulation.

Many institutional investors are interested in cryptocurrencies because they are not correlated with other financial assets, such as stocks or bonds. If concerns about cryptocurrency manipulation are put to bed, the industry could evolve to launch Bitcoin ETFs, mutual funds, and other financial assets that could open the door to wider investment.

That said, some of the criticisms of the Bitwise report suggest that the market may still be immature compared to stocks, bonds, and other financial assets. Some of the largest traders still don’t offer as much transparency as investors and regulators want to see before bringing it mainstream through the launch of ETFs and mutual funds.

The Bottom Line

The Bitwise report suggests that the Bitcoin market is more of an emerging market than the Wild Wild West. After accounting for fake or misleading trades, the market is really much smaller, less volatile, and tamer — and these trends show signs of continuing as the market is institutionalized with futures and funds.

Critics of the report suggest that the market for Bitcoin may not be as mature as Bitwise claims given that two exchanges that account for about half of total legitimate trading volume still lack banking relationships and use a stablecoin that is both unregulated and unaudited. Many investors and regulators will be waiting on the sidelines for these issues to clear up.

The reality may lie somewhere in-between. There’s no question that Bitcoin volatility has decreased following the launch of the futures market, while regulated exchanges have undoubtedly tight spreads. That said, there’s still a lot of uncertainty surrounding some of the largest players in the market, which could be a cause for concern.

DecentraNet to Speak at Global Block Builders in Austin, Texas

AUSTIN, TX – April 10, 2019 – This week, DecentraNet’s Ted Moskovitz and Matt McKibbin will be attending the Global Block Builders conference taking place April 10-13th in Austin, Texas. The Global Block Builders are a group of enthusiastic blockchain leaders from a diverse background, joining together for the purpose of high-level education and intentional collaboration. The three-day event will take place at the Fairmont Hotel in the heart of downtown.

“I’m excited to be a part of Global Block Builders conference in Austin. The community they have built reflects the true essence of the open source decentralized movement that we are all building together.,” said Matt McKibbin, Founder of DecentraNet.

The event will host a networking meet-and-greet, three full days of speaking, an entertaining happy hour, and a bonus day for long-term relationship-building. Ted and Matt will focus their energies on participating in the blockchain tracks. DecentraNet clients Jake Vartanian of Native Project and Steven Buchko with Coin Clear. If you are attending, please reach out and schedule some time to chat with our team at matt@decentranet.com and ted@decentranet.com.

You can also use the code SPEAKER to receive a 20% discount on tickets.

Make Them Care: Why Every Tech Startup Needs a Press Kit — and 12 Steps to Get One

Every business needs press, and failing to make your brand story easily accessible to journalists is a mistake. If you have a company, you need a press kit, and here’s 12 steps to create one.

As advisors, we meet with dozens of companies per week. Most are tech startups or early-stage companies with compelling brands and interesting stories, that are simply not sharing their story with the marketplace. Many, particularly those in the blockchain or transformative technology spaces, are working on stellar concepts and cutting edge products. Yet no one knows about the awesome work they’re doing.

Every business needs press coverage, and failing to make your brand story easily accessible to journalists is a mistake. Particularly if you’re a technology startup, storytelling is absolutely essential and one of the most crucial components of your communication strategy. Creating an easily accessible narrative for the outside world can level up your brand awareness, especially if your company is working on complicated products that few understand.

So if you have a company, you need a press kit, and here’s how to create one.

What is a press kit?

A press kit (aka a media kit), is a website page or downloadable PDF document that contains resources and information for reporters, publishers, and event managers. Optimal kits streamline information about your company, team, and product so reporters can swiftly learn about your brand, access marketing materials, and contact you if they are interested.

Leveraging a press kit sends the message that media is welcome and speaks volumes about your ability to market your own brand story.

Getting Started

1. Research other press kits. There are dozens of sample press kits online. Check them out. Spend a few minutes researching what is needed to make an effective media kit. For reference, here’s our media kit for DecentraNet, our blockchain and transformative technology advisory and consultancy firm.

2. Write your story. Start with your WHY. Share your business story, how your business came to be, and tell the world about yourself and your mission. Startup and entrepreneurial life are hard. Why do you do what you do? Make the reader care.

As one of my favorite marketing gurus, Megan Groves, once pointedly said:

“Your potential customers live in a noisy world, so your company needs to build a concise story that will penetrate all of the clamor and actually reach your consumer base. This means condensing the major points of your company into two consumable bits: your company story and your founder story. Having both and keeping them distinguishable from one another is really important for ensuring that neither overshadows the other, but together will create leverage for a great brand story.”

3. Gather your facts. What is your competitive edge? How many customers do you have? How many sales have you completed? Where are your company and team located? What are your accomplishments and milestones? Where is the product manufactured?

4. Promote your team. Your team is the core of your business. Brag about them. Tell their story, their role and impact on your company, and why they do what they do for your business. Include high-quality headshots and thorough biographies. Definitely remember to hyperlink their email address (mailto:email@.com) so they can be easily contacted. Also, consider including any of their social media accounts.

5. Feature your CEO. Our founder, Matt McKibbin, is a public speaker and part of getting our message and mission out into the world is having Matt speak. In our media kit, we featured Matt’s accomplishments and gathered statistics on how many events he had actually attended (it’s a lot). Do you have a public speaker on your team? What do they specialize in? Make sure you feature them on at least one slide and provide details about their expertise.

Here’s an example from our media kit, showcasing Matt’s talents:

6. Include your logos. Make it easy for content publishers to use your logo or create graphics using your logo by providing high-resolution options in your media kit. Provide high-quality graphics that also include a transparent background to make your graphics easy to use for nearly any purpose.

7. Gather your data. Hopefully, you have Google Analytics tracking data and some method of monitoring your social media reach. Gather these stats and share them. How many followers do you have on Twitter? Do you have demographic data? How many people are on your mailing list? Where are they located in the world? Has your team been featured or spoken at notable events? All of these details are important to collect as they showcase your target market and key demographics.

8. Be clear. Use clear messaging and simple, concise soundbites about your brand story, product, and market opportunity. Particularly for companies in transformational technology, write as if the reader has no idea what your technology is or does — this is crucial as you do not want press with little knowledge about your product to walk away more confused. Aim for clarity and limit the use of buzzwords. Also, remember to list important milestones. Tell the world your mission. What is your company doing and why? What is your goal? What do you want to achieve?

9. Be visual. Include as many photos of past events or images of your team. Show your office, your product, your favorite customers, or any other bragging rights that can be visually expressed.

10. Documents are fun. Has your founder published something notable? Do you have a white paper? If you’re a technology company, do you have product reviews worth sharing? Specific blueprints that can be made public? A product manual? The more information, the better.

11. Don’t forget the essentials. Include an email address for press inquiries and make sure you list your social media accounts. Do you have a blog? Link it!

12. Testimonials. If you can, get several testimonials from clients or customers. Depending on your industry, these could be powerful narratives that demonstrate your marketplace position and competence. Aim for a minimum of three.

Let’s talk about tools.

To gather some of your demographic or customer/user data, we recommend installing Google Analytics on your website. Google Analytics is a web analytics service offered by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It’s free. The platform can provide you with a host of information, including important data that you should already be gathering about your customers. Here’s a quick guide on how to get started with Google Analytics.

For the press kit’s presentation, you can simply add this information to your website under a dedicated page, “Press Kit”. Regardless of the platform that you’re using, (Squarespace, WordPress, HTML, etc.), add a page with a simple name and link it from your main menu.

If you’re on a budget and have an in-house marketer, we recommend the free online tool Canva. You can also hire graphic designers on sites like Upwork or Fiverr to complete these projects. Our company, DecentraNet, also designs press kits. You can contact us here.

Final Thoughts

With a media kit, you can leverage data and storytelling to increase the likelihood of attracting sales through the press. If a media venue or platform features your company’s story, the promising potential for new traffic and brand awareness can be unlimited. Further, earned media coverage provides substantial credibility that paid advertising simply cannot offer.

Regardless of where you are in the startup journey, no one cares about your company more than you do. You have to tell them why you’re awesome. You have to make them care.


Want to Know More About All the Awesome Stuff We Do?

DecentraNet is a purpose-driven investment and advisory firm specializing in blockchain and other transformational technologies with global impact. We also create event experiences and innovative content to bring our clients projects to market and to evangelize the potential of transformational technologies generally.

  1. Click HERE for instant access to our 2019 Market Report. Explore what 30 thought-leaders from dozens of industry verticals had to say.
  2. We are advisors and consultants that work with blockchain companies and other transformational technology projects. If you’d like to connect with us on how we can help your company, please click HERE or send us an email at hello@decentranet.com.
  3. You can also reach out to inquire about any of our current clients or portfolio companies at hello@decentranet.com.

Ethereum’s Constantinople Upgrade — Here’s What You Need to Know

Ethereum’s Constantinople Upgrade — Here’s What You Need to Know

After Initial Delays, the Next Ethereum Hard Fork is Scheduled for block today, February 28th, 2019. We outline what happens next for ETH holders.

 

Image courtesy BeatingBetting via Flickr

 

A big update is coming to the Ethereum network today known as Constantinople.

Though the initial rollout has been delayed twice now due to vulnerability concerns, Ethereum developers are now confident the network is prepared for the newest update. Currently, the hard fork is scheduled to occur at block 7,280,000 which is expected to take place on today, February 28th. But is this a “hard fork”? What are the changes happening? And is there anything I need to do as an Ether (ETH) holder to ensure my coins are safe? Let’s talk about all of that and more as we break down everything you need to know about Ethereum’s latest upgrade.

 

“Hard Fork”

The term “hard fork” often elicits a negative response by many in the cryptosphere. Thoughts of contentious debates, currency splits, and big changes come to mind where enthusiasts have to decide which currency and chain they’d like to support in the future. Hard forks in the past that many are familiar with include the DAO hack and split between Ethereum classic (ETC) and Ethereum (ETH) as well as the Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fork.

However, not all hard forks are contentious and to the everyday crypto observer, some feel more like a soft fork — though they’re not.

What is a Hard Fork?

At its core, a hard fork is simply an update and change in protocol for the current blockchain that is not backwards-compatible. Depending on the circumstances of the hard fork, most users who haven’t updated to the latest version will realize they’re on the old chain and update to join the new one. When there are disagreements, and a hard fork is considered to be “contentious,” then the community can end up with a currency split and different coins.

But similar to previous non-contentious hard forks in the past like Homestead and Byzantium, Constantinople isn’t going to be splitting ETH or the Ethereum community. In fact, Vitalik Buterin has even discussed using different terminology to avoid newcomers and those less technically inclined in the industry.


Source: https://twitter.com/VitalikButerin/status/1083450179347394560 

 

What’s Changing?

With the Ethereum update, there are five Ethereum Improvement Proposals, or “EIPs,” set to be implemented.

EIP 145 introduces bitwise shifting for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). This change is expected to make the execution of shifts in smart contracts cheaper by processing information more efficiently.

EIP 1052 looks to increase the speed and efficiency of smart contract verification by only requiring a smart contract to pull the hash of another contract to verify it. Previously, smart contracts needed to pull the entire code of another contract to verify.

EIP 1014 was made by the founder of Ethereum himself, Vitalik Buterin. 1014 introduces enabling state channels, a specific scaling solution for off-chain transactions by allowing interactions with addresses that don’t exist yet.

EIP 1283 known by its full name, “Net Gas Metering for SSTORE Without Dirty Maps,” reduces the cost of gas for the SSTORE operation.

EIP 1234 brings with it the most talked about changes to the Ethereum network with a reduction in block rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH as well as delaying the difficulty bomb for 12 months. This is where “the thirdening” comes from, and the change will effectively reduce the rate of inflation for ETH on the market as the block reward is decreased.

These 5 EIPs are the actual updates that will be happening to the Ethereum network during the hard fork, but what does that mean for the average ETH holder?

 

What it Means For Everyone Else

 

First and foremost, because this isn’t a contentious fork and there won’t be a currency split, ETH holders (and holders of any ERC-20 tokens) don’t need to do anything with their cryptocurrency.

In fact, even those storing ETH on major exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, OKEx, etc. can leave it in their exchange wallet during the fork (though storing cryptocurrencies on exchanges long-term is never recommended, see our article on Hardware Wallets for more on that). Most major exchanges have already prepared for the upcoming fork and are fully supporting the update to the Ethereum blockchain.

While miners will be updating to the latest blockchain, the only other thing ETH holders need to do is watch out for various scams and market movement. Because not everyone in the crypto space is tech-savvy, there are already phishing schemes being attempted. There’s news of a new “Ethereum Nova” airdrop that’s an attempt at getting users’ private keys.

 

Don’t share your keys with anyone or any website promising to give you free tokens via airdrop — be wary and sit tight.


Team Decentranet

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Here’s How Cryptocurrencies are Helping Mitigate Bad Centralized Currency in Venezuela

After news of the largest bank in the US, JPMorgan, launching a cryptocurrency of its own, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are back in the spotlight. Though traders and investors won’t be able to actually purchase the newly minted JPM Coin, it brings to light one of the most important questions in the cryptosphere: usability.

There won’t be any speculative investing in the JPM Coin. Rather, the bank is testing blockchain technology for moving vast amounts of money internationally — something JPMorgan does a lot with an estimated $2-$5 trillion transferred every day. Intended to improve upon the current SWIFT network used by global banks today, JPMorgan is leveraging blockchain-based JPM Coin to enhance its own business. However, as many in the cryptosphere have pointed out, there are many ways that JPM Coin isn’t really a cryptocurrency being wholly centralized, tied to the USD, and not for individual use.

So then what about other “real” cryptocurrencies that aren’t created by a bank? This latest development raises more questions on cryptocurrency usability and, as it turns out, there are already real-world examples of them in action today. One of the ways they’re being used is to help mitigate bad centralized currencies in places like Venezuela, here’s how.

Venezuelan Crisis

According to a recent estimate from the United Nations, more than 3 million people have fled Venezuela since 2015 amid the current economic and political crisis. While violence is still a problem in the country, one of the other pressing concerns for many is the economic turmoil and hyperinflation of the local currency, the bolívar.

Chart: Prof. Steve H. Hanke

As a result, Venezuelan citizens have endured losing nearly all the value of their life savings to hyperinflation. Now, the future of the country remains even more concerning as political tensions rise between the current President, Nicolás Maduro, and the newly elected Juan Guaido claiming the title for himself.

Political conflicts aside for a moment, Venezuelans are turning to cryptocurrency as a viable alternative to the devastating decline in the bolívar. Even before the most recent devaluation of the bolívar, Venezuelans began turning to bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a means of storing value. As early as 2014, one Venezuelan bitcoin trader told Reuters:

“Even though bitcoin is volatile, it’s still safer than the national currency.”

Cryptocurrency Solutions

While there’s no denying that bitcoin prices fluctuate greatly, its price movement pales in comparison to the runaway devaluation of the bolívar which hit estimated inflation of 1.37 million percent in 2018.

Cryptocurrencies offer citizens a way of purchasing and storing value that isn’t controlled by a centralized party and Venezuela offers a real-world example where centralization goes awry. Due to capital limitations enforced in the country, it’s increasingly difficult for Venezuelans to get a hold of other fiat currencies like the USD. Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, remain decentralized and operate agnostic of geographic location, political borders, and government control, meaning anyone and everyone can take advantage of them.

For Venezuelans, cryptocurrencies aren’t a novel concept about the future of the financial world, they’re increasingly becoming a part of daily life. Daily volume for bitcoin in Venezuela is now greater than $1 million per day and consumers are embracing other altcoins like Dash for daily transactions.

Victoria Merchán is the founder of Tradición Gourmet, a restaurant specializing in homemade food in the Venezuelan Capital of Caracas. In an interview with MarketWatch she said:

“Cryptocurrencies, especially Dash, have helped me to have an alternative means of income that, unlike the bolívar is stable and much safer. In addition, it has opened the doors of my business to many more clients and the general public.”

Centralization

Of course, blockchain technology alone isn’t the secret end-all be-all to help citizens circumvent terrible centralized currencies like the bolívar. Similar to the way JPMorgan has created a non-cryptocurrency “cryptocurrency,” so too has the Venezuelan government in the past.

In December of 2017, President Maduro announced the release of a state-issued cryptocurrency, the petro, that was said to be pegged to the country’s oil and natural resources. The petro did not have all the tenets of a typical cryptocurrency and, most importantly, wasn’t decentralized. Because of that, it also brought forth none of the benefits associated with being a cryptocurrency. Instead, the Venezuelan people ended up with yet another centralized attempt at a currency that was nothing more than digital fiat controlled by the government that left more questions than answers.

The Bottom Line

While Venezuela provides one of the best examples of how cryptocurrencies can help people circumvent centralized currencies, it’s not alone. Beyond the hyperinflation of the bolívar, there are many other cases where cryptocurrencies stand as the most viable alternative for transferring value.

In other areas of the world like Sub-Saharan Africa, where cross-border payments average the highest costs according to the World Bank and are potentially holding back economic growth, cryptocurrencies offer a frictionless alternative for commerce. Venezuela and Sub-Saharan Africa are only the beginning as the world looks at other ways of implementing cryptocurrencies.

One factor remains consistent though: decentralization is crucial.

 


 

Want to Know More About All the Awesome Stuff We Do?

  1. Click HERE for instant access to our 2019 Market Report. Explore what 30 thought-leaders from dozens of industry verticals had to say.
  2. We are advisors and consultants that work with blockchain companies and other transformational technology projects. If you’d like to connect with us on how we can help your company, please click HERE or send us an email at hello@decentranet.com.
  3. You can also reach out to inquire about any of our current clients or portfolio companies at hello@decentranet.com.

Announcement: DecentraNet Founders to Mentor Blockchain Startups through Techstars Partnership

DecentraNet is honored to announce our mentoring partnership with Techstars, a legendary organization within the startup community.

AUSTIN, TEXAS — February 8, 2019 — DecentraNet is honored to announce our mentoring partnership with Techstars, a legendary organization within the startup community. DecentraNet’s Co-Founders, Matt McKibbin, and Ted Moskovitz, have been selected to mentor the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders in Techstars’ Alchemist Blockchain Accelerator. The featured companies are focused on integrating blockchain technology into various fields, specifically healthcare, IoT, gaming, software, and finance.

 Each year, Techstars chooses over 300 companies to join their three-month mentorship-driven accelerator, investing $120K and providing hands-on mentorship and access to the Techstars Network for life. DecentraNet is proud to contribute our network power and startup expertise to this phenomenal organization. Those that join the Techstars community gain access to over 1,500,000 founders, investors, mentors, and industry leaders, including Matt and Ted.

Through its mentorship program, Techstars has the demonstrated the means to guide startups, early stage companies and genuine innovators into excellence and prosperity. DecentraNet aims to do the same in the blockchain community while also casting a wider net throughout the transformative tech ecosystem. We are grateful to be aligned with such an impactful organization and can’t wait to be a catalyst for our mentees’ success,” says Matt McKibbin, Founder at DecentraNet

Matt and I are thrilled to let you know that we are participating in the Techstars accelerator. We are excited to be meeting the next crop of innovators changing the world. We are equally thrilled to meet fellow mentors and make meaningful connections to serve our fellow clients. — Ted Moskovitz, Co-Founder and Partner at DecentraNet.


ABOUT DECENTRANET
DecentraNet is purpose-driven full-service blockchain advisory and investment firm serving entrepreneurs with a suite of expert advice, deep industry partnerships, access to capital, community events, and a network of done-for-you service providers. We specialize in blockchain projects with a global impact as well as companies building the infrastructure to support them. We also produce events, content, and programming, and are evangelists for the potential of blockchain technology.

Learn more: http://www.decentranet.com

ABOUT TECHSTARS
Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow. Techstars operates four divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships, and the Techstars Venture Capital Fund.

Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Program supercharges success and Techstars Startup Programs inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs. Techstars Venture Capital Fund invests in the most innovative and disruptive Techstars companies to fuel their success. Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships helps brands create world-changing products and services. Techstars accelerator portfolio includes more than 1,000 companies with a market cap of $8.1 billion.

Learn more: http://www.techstars.com

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Tiffany Madison
tmadison@decentranet.com
(1) 469–730–6703 (US Central)

Hardware Wallets: “If You Don’t Own Your Keys, You Don’t Own Your Crypto”

2018 showed cryptocurrency investors that there are many risks to mitigate, including security, so what should they do better in 2019? Let’s talk hardware wallets, what they are, why you should use one, and other security best practices for the New Year.

Security is often one of the top concerns in the crypto community, and especially at Team Decentranet. We want to know what different blockchain projects are doing to combat attacks on the network, we want to see extra security precautions taken by exchanges with things like 2-factor authentication (2FA), and the list goes on. However, sometimes we get so caught up in what other people or companies are doing to enhance security that we neglect what we are doing to ensure our crypto assets are secure.

Recent Cases of Crypto Theft

As the cryptocurrency industry is still nascent, it’s not surprising that we’ve had so many encounters with sub-par security in the past resulting in hacks and theft. Of the most recent attacks, hackers reportedly stole nearly $60 million worth of cryptocurrencies (6.7 billion yen) from the Japanese exchange Zaif, and that’s only the most recent.

At the beginning of 2018, another Japanese exchange, Coincheck, made history as the victim of the largest cryptocurrency exchange theft to date, losing an estimated $400 million worth of cryptocurrencies. In fact, 2018 was a record-breaking year for exchange hacks and funds lost.

So if we know 2018 exposed investors to so much risk, what does that mean we should do in 2019 to reduce our own risk? Let’s talk hardware wallets, what they are, why you should be using one, and other security best practices for the new year.

Hardware Wallets: “If You Don’t Own Your Keys, You Don’t Own Your Crypto”

There’s an old saying in the crypto community that if you don’t own your keys, you don’t own your cryptocurrencies. In essence, that single statement summarizes the issues with cryptocurrency exchanges.

Exchanges are centralized platforms that are designed to facilitate transactions; they’re not banks. While large exchanges like Binance, Coinbase and others have come a long way in terms of their security measures, you’re effectively outsourcing security to a third party rather than ensuring your funds are secure on your own. That’s where hardware wallets come in.

What is a Hardware Wallet?

A hardware wallet is a physical device that’s used for storing your private key securely away from anyone who’s not the primary user. These physical devices store your private key(s) in an encrypted offline environment, meaning your wallet won’t be vulnerable to the types of attacks carried out against exchanges and even individual investors using software wallets (a wallet on your computer or phone connected to the internet, also known as a “hot wallet”).

Why Should I Use One?

The answer is pretty clear here: security. Storing cryptocurrencies — especially for long term investments — with a hardware wallet ensures that you actually own the asset, and have additional protection.

You can think of keeping your crypto on an exchange as effectively having an “IOU,” not the crypto itself. If something happens to the exchange, your crypto is gone, whether that be due to a hack, scam, or unforeseen problem with the team managing the exchange.

How Do I Get One?

Investors have a variety of options for offline storage, including an air-gapped computer or paper wallet, but those have their own limitations. Fortunately, with the advancement of the cryptocurrency industry came many companies specializing in creating dedicated hardware for storing cryptocurrencies securely.

There’s a good chance you may have already heard some of the bigger names like Trezor, Ledger Nano S, and KeepKey. All three are great wallet options and are designed to be user-friendly. Additionally, all three of the big names (along with other manufacturers) support multiple cryptocurrencies so you’ll be able to store your bitcoin, ether, and numerous tokens all in one place.

Security Tips

Of course, a hardware wallet is nothing more than a tool (albeit an effective one). With that in mind, it’s important to remember that ultimately it will only be as secure as you are. So here are some security best practices to use with your wallet.

  • Always purchase a hardware wallet directly from the manufacturer: Avoid discounted used ones from Craigslist, eBay, and especially a free wallet being handed out at an event.
  • Always backup your wallet seed and recovery phrase: This is the mnemonic passphrase you’ll need to recover your wallet should it ever be lost or stolen.
  • Always store your wallet, wallet seed, and recovery phrase separately and securely: If someone comes across your physical wallet and it’s stored in a safe, closet, etc. right next to everything you need to recover a wallet, then all you’re doing is helping the thief. Ideally, these three pieces should all be stored securely and in different locations (safe, safety deposit boxes, etc.)

The Takeaway

Now that we’ve talked hardware wallets and why they matter, you should have a better idea about why you ought to be using one. Hardware wallets are far more secure than storing crypto on your phone or personal computer and are leaps and bounds ahead of storing funds on an exchange. But remember, they’re not the ultimate be-all-end-all for crypto security — you are.

Best,

Team Decentranet

Want More?

  1. Click HERE for instant access to our 2019 Market Report. Explore what 30 thought-leaders from dozens of industry verticals had to say.
  2. We are advisors and consultants that work with blockchain companies and other transformational technology projects. If you’d like to connect with us on how we can help your company, please click HERE or send us an email at hello@decentranet.com.
  3. You can also reach out to inquire about any of our current clients or portfolio companies at hello@decentranet.com.