There are early adopters, then there are early early adopters.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the first coder to work alongside bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, Martti ‘Sirius’ Malmi, is joining a team of developers launching a new cryptocurrency called AXE. The project, which is combining Malmi’s Identify online reputation system with decentralized database system GUN, is taking on the long-desired mission of decentralizing the Web.

And Malmi’s history in the cryptocurrency space should pique the interest of plenty of enthusiasts.

An amateur college developer in 2009, Malmi played a crucial role in bitcoin’s early days as the only active developer working alongside Satoshi – and even striking up a bit of a friendship. He earned Satoshi’s trust enough to be given admin access to the website, and most of the changes in bitcoin’s second code release are attributed to him.

But a couple years in, Malmi followed Satoshi’s lead and left the project, thinking bitcoin didn’t really need him anymore.

“I felt like bitcoin had already gone from zero to one, so to say. It was already up and running with a growing community and had lots of great developers working on it,” he told CoinDesk.

In 2014, then, he started Identifi, with a decentralized architecture that didn’t include a cryptocurrency at first.

But as he built – with his eyes on reducing the control web companies like Google and Facebook have – he decided something else was needed that hadn’t been tried before and that a crypto token could incentivize its use.

Malmi told CoinDesk:

“Most of the giant online businesses, such as Google, Facebook, eBay or Airbnb are basically centralized indexes – searchable lists of stuff. If we want to disrupt them, we need decentralized indexing.”

And that’s where GUN, which has been in the works since 2014 as well, comes in.

Two projects as one

To tie it all together, the decision was made to launch a new company called ERA.

“Martti and I were discussing how governments can still blacklist bitcoin miners’ IP addresses. Telecom companies, Google, Amazon or others can throttle or reroute our traffic without net neutrality,” ERA CEO Mark Nadal (also the CEO of GUN) told CoinDesk.

“This is a huge vulnerability that could affect everyone, thus why we’re building AXE,” he continued.

GUN, which is known for using simple stick-figure comics to explain how its tech works, scored a $1.5 million round led by Draper Associates earlier this year, and has already built a decentralized Reddit and YouTube.

While those services are a bit slower than their centralized counterparts, Nadal argues both have been taking off “like crazy.” And according to Malmi, Identifi can help decentralize the system further by offering a censorship-resistant identity layer.

While digital reputation systems can conjure up images from the “Black Mirror” episode “Nosedive,” whereby a mobile reputation system goes awry, Malmi says he’s been careful to improve on older attempts and keep these unintended consequences in mind.

In the context of ERA, Identifi provides a crucial role.

“You could have users digitally sign all their posts and use Identifi to fetch the identity profile (name, avatar, feedback etc.) that corresponds to the public key,” Malmi said. “You could use your Identifi web of trust to filter out spam, trolls and other kinds of unwanted content without resorting to centralized censorship. That is useful for decentralized social media.”

But to be truly decentralized, ERA needs people from around the world running the database systems – which is where the new crypto token comes in.

Reminiscent of older blockchain storage projects like Filecoin and Storj, ERA with AXE is supposed to incentivize users on the network to store data. But it takes a slightly different approach by paying servers to move encrypted data around (instead of paying them to store data).

Since the data is encrypted, the data won’t be readable by the servers moving it around.

Practical decentralization

Although Malmi is about to head a new cryptocurrency project, he’s still skeptical of the promise of blockchain tech as it’s been advertised recently.

“Blockchain technology is overhyped and pushed for applications where it is not useful,” he said. “If you don’t need a distributed ledger with no trusted parties, you don’t need a blockchain.”

Yet, he thinks ERA is going about incorporating cryptocurrency into a decentralized web in the “right” way. “Crypto should be given credit for incentivizing the decentralization of infrastructure,” Malmi continued.

Indeed, he and Nadal make a big deal about this tech being more “scalable” than other tech.

“The missing piece [to a decentralized web] was a decentralized database that could handle CryptoKitties scale traffic,” Nadal said, pointing to the blockchain-based cat app that earlier this year clogged the ethereum network to the point users were having trouble using other decentralized apps on the network.

To create that scalable system, ERA is only using its cryptocurrency as a decentralized money, and will not be using a blockchain to store people’s data.

In this way, they argue they’re on a better track to building something that people might actually want to use.

Though, admittedly, the apps built using GUN today are not nearly as large as the companies they hope to replace. Yet, they have big hopes the project will go beyond that, since like so many others in the industry they believe decentralization is the way of the future.

“One of the things I learned is that it is better to do what is meaningful, not what is expedient,” Malmi said, adding:

“I believe that decentralization of digital identity and other basic infrastructure of our society are the some of the most meaningful things a developer can work on these days.”

Canadian mass media and information company Thomson Reuters has announced a crypto asset data partnership with cryptocurrency tracking resource CryptoCompare, according to a July 31 press release.

As the press release explains, CryptoCompare will now provide order book and trade data on 50 cryptocurrencies for Reuters’ financial desktop platform Eikon, which is aimed at institutional investors.

Sam Chadwick, the director of strategy in innovation and blockchain at Reuters, noted in the press release that the “decline in the price of many of the leading cryptocurrencies during 2018” has not lessened the “increasing demand from our customers for pricing coverage of the major names.”

Reuters had already been engaged with cryptocurrency monitoring through a separate deal with MarketPsych Data, which has provided the data for tracking 100 cryptocurrencies in Reuters’ sentiment data pool since June.

The moves come at a time when institutional integration of such assets remains a major talking point, with various commentators eyeing increasing acceptance to occur this year.

CryptoCompare founder and CEO Charles Hayter stated in the press release that as the markets mature, they’ve seen rising interest from institutional investors:

“As the digital asset markets mature, we see a fast-growing demand from the institutional investor community for comprehensive, real-time and global market data, which can be trusted as the basis for investment decisions.”

According to the release, the Reuters data will come from a “wide variety of trusted exchanges,” without specifying a commencement timeframe.

In March, Reuters had also launched a Bitcoin (BTC) sentiment data feed to its MarketPsych Indices (TRMI), getting data by scanning more than 400 news and media sites related to cryptocurrencies.

The Australian government has granted A$2.25 million ($1.7 million) to the Sustainable Sugar Project, Foodnavigator-Asia reports July 30.

The Sustainable Sugar Project, led by the Queensland Cane Growers Organization, will use blockchaintechnology to track the provenance of sugar supplies to Australia. The initiative known as the Smart Cane Best Management Practice (BMP) is part of a sugar industry push for better sustainability and traceability.

Blockchain technology will purportedly allow buyers to clearly see where sugarcane comes from and prove the provenance and sustainability of the farm. Canegrowers told Foodnavigator-Asia:

“Blockchain’s main attribute is that it’s a secure database in which all transactions are recorded and visible… the quality sugar produced from the sustainably-grown cane can be traced back through the chain, giving consumers confidence in what they are buying.”

For the initiative, industry experts and sugarcane farmers collaborated on best practices and industry standards based on productivity, sustainability, and profitability.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources stated that large buyers of sugar could pay more in the future for sustainable sugar, as customers increasingly demand sustainably-sourced products. Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said:

“This technology would provide assurances around the sustainability of our sugar and ensure cane farmers using sustainable practices can attract a premium for their product.”

Blockchain technology has proven to be a boon for logistics and supply chain applications, and is widely regarded as a cheaper and more efficient way to track complex supply chains globally.

Today, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced that it completed a successful trade of 17 tons of almonds to Europe using blockchain technology. The platform, which was part of a collaborative effort of five “supply chain leaders,” is underpinned by distributed ledger technology (DLT), Internet of Things (IoT), and smart contracts.

Earlier this month, U.S. computer technology firm Oracle released its blockchain platform focusing on transaction efficiency and supply chain authentication. Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service uses Hyperledger Fabric as its basis and launched following a series of trials with banking, business, and government clients.

The world of cryptocurrency is in a constant state of flux. As a result, the process of sorting through untold amounts of background information and data can be a laborious, time-consuming endeavor. Continually subjected to emotions and opinions, investors are often unable to reliably assess the informational signals needed to make informed market decisions.

That’s where WatermelonBlock, a data analytics company featuring a suite of products that deliver cryptocurrency insights directly to the consumer, comes in. Through a mix of data points gathered from social media as well as traditional technical analysis, this emerging startup assists investors in staying abreast of critical data and information sets in real time.

WatermelonBlock seeks to deliver these insights to all levels of investors, from experienced traders seeking to stay ahead of the curve relative to their personalized portfolio to newcomers attempting to mitigate the information overload often tied to their first major investments.

It’s here that the company recognizes a gap in the ability of ordinary algorithms to analyze the size of critical data sets. By deploying the computing power of IBM Watson, arguably the most advanced AI platform in the world, WatermelonBlock is able to scan, categorize, weigh and analyze big data sets within seconds, providing users with current market information and real-time actionable insights right at their fingertips.

More Accurate and Better-Informed Trading Decisions

WatermelonBlock is not just a proof of concept — it’s an actual working protocol that puts user experience first, all with the goal of integrating cryptocurrency investments into any lifestyle through a 24/7 stream of market analytics.

A free insights smartphone app powered by WatermelonBlock is replete with a sleek, simple user interface and is scheduled for release in Q4 of this year. It will feature neatly packaged, real-time cryptocurrency, market and initial coin offering (ICO) analysis; personalized portfolio notifications and a digital wallet.

In phase two for the app, which will be released in Q3 of 2019, the WatermelonBot will be launched — an automated artificial intelligence (AI) bot that can execute trades according to user-set preferences. This second phase will also include a more advanced digital wallet and payments platform, allowing for more rapid trading and fulfillment.

Driving this initiative is the WatermelonBlock token (WMB), which serves as the on-ramp for decision makers seeking to access the suite of sentiment analysis and AI trading tools, all without difficult-to-navigate fee structures. All prices are simple and transparent, allowing users to focus on markets and their investments versus costs.

The WatermelonBlock pre-token sale will commence on July 27, with the full public sale beginning on August 27. Investors can gain exclusive access to the WatermelonBlock presale by registering on the WatermelonBlock website.

Seeding the Road Ahead

WatermelonBlock’s director and UX developer, Elliot Rothfield, has a passion for creating communities, particularly for the millennial set. With several successful startup businesses under his belt in addition to serving as the co-founder of a ten-year-old international community and arts festival, he is now putting the full force of his energy behind WatermelonBlock’s app suite.

“Through my involvement in one of Australia’s largest community and arts festivals, I began to notice that there were a lot of struggling artists that I was working with,” Rothfield said. “Many were able to support their craft and their lifestyle through cryptocurrency, as opposed to work through menial jobs. This is where my entrance into the cryptocurrency market began. Being an avid follower of the market, I noticed the volatility of the market straight away.”

Rothfield added that the name WatermelonBlock comes from the Japanese Watermelon — “It’s fun, it’s quirky and it’s memorable. We really wanted to go against a conventional blockchain name. We figured that there were enough names like Tron, Dash and Laser Gun 5000.”

With respect to the value proposition that WatermelonBlock hopes to deliver, Rothfield has got a clear vision.

“People are sick of biased information and ‘fake news,’” he said. “They are getting smarter and they are realizing that a lot of what is being fed to them via the media is heavily biased, with publishers often having a vested interest. As a result, these individuals are looking for smarter ways to trade (and that goes for any market), as well as more efficient ways to conduct market research.”

He added that WatermelonBlock’s ability to combine sentiment analysis with geolocation and indexing provides a much better system for consumers.

“WatermelonBlock hopes to capture the pulse of both cryptocurrency and traditional markets, delivering insights and information accessible to all,” said Rothfield. “In 12 to 18 months, we see ourselves running with a full suite of applications to provide market analysis across all industries.”

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.

A new blockchain-driven company has bold plans to establish a global network of health centers designed to help people lead active and longer lives.

Although life expectancies around the world are soaring, BitVit argues that many of these extra years are dominated by sickness for too many years. Research cited in its white paper suggests German women can currently expect to live until they are 83, but only 72 of those years will be in good health. For men the average lifespan is 78 years, with nine of them blighted by sickness.

BitVit hopes to offer a “holistic solution” which would involve creating an intellectual exchange among industry experts and scientists, with their expertise then being shared with the public. It is hoped that future generations will be “more knowledgeable and healthier as a result.”

At the heart of its concept will be Yllasports centers. As well as being able to rent sports equipment such as bicycles and receive training from former professional athletes, the company plans to offer an array of activities at these centers including yoga, Pilates, Zumba, cardiovascular training and specialist lessons for seniors.

There would also be an emphasis on nutrition, allowing customers to engage with cooking classes, counseling and weight loss challenges. Meanwhile, nutrition plans would be devised which help the public to alleviate skin conditions, improve heart health, lower blood pressure and improve their mental wellbeing.

Embracing crypto

BitVit envisages that all of these goods and services would be paid for using a specially created cryptocurrency known as the BitVit Coin. This payment method would be accepted at every sports center – with customers receiving bonus coins and discounts whenever a transaction is successfully completed.

The company argues that, although the health sector is known for innovation and setting trends, the true potential of cryptocurrencies is yet to be embraced. Its white paper says: “Through the introduction of the BitVit Coin, we have the possibility to enhance trust, networking and acceleration in the business. It is the predominant way for the market to develop digitally, take its next steps, and increase its social spread.”

BitVit’s coin will be one component of a six-part ecosystem. An app is being created which will enable the “borderless and cost-efficient” transfer of this cryptocurrency – as well as giving users the chance to sell data to researchers in exchange for rewards. This will be coupled with an exchange to allow BitVit Coins to be exchanged into euros and other fiat currencies with ease. Users will also have the option to load their crypto on to a specially created debit card.

Although it won’t be embedded into the app at first, a BitVit eWallet will enable these coins to be converted into an array of other cryptocurrencies and allow transfers to be made to friends. Offering “decentralized and risk-free storage,” multisig eWallets will also be available for large-scale businesses who accept payments using BitVit.

Looking ahead to the future

A presale for BitVit Coins began on July 1 2018, and is running until August 15. The following day, a full initial coin offering commences – and this is going to conclude at the end of September. A maximum of 200 million BitVit Coins are being produced, with 120 million of these going on sale for $0.50 apiece. A minimum purchase amount of 100 BitVit Coins has been set, with the startup establishing a fundraising goal of $60 million.

Even private and permissioned blockchains need to build ecosystems and achieve network effects, just like their permissionless, public counterparts.

At least, that’s the thinking behind LedgerConnect, a financial blockchain “app store” that aims to make it easier for banks to access distributed ledger technology (DLT) solutions from fintech and software providers, and for those vendors in turn to reach bank customers.

Announced Monday, LedgerConnect is the offspring of bank-owned currency trading utility CLS and enterprise software giant IBM, and counts major banks Barclays and Citigroup among its founding members.

In fact, nine financial institutions are participating in the proof of concept (PoC) and have selected services from a number of vendors including Baton Systems, Calypso, Copp Clark, IBM, MPhasis, OpenRisk, SynSwap and Persistent Systems.

On LedgerConnect, financial institutions will be able to access DLT-based services in areas such as know-your-customer processes, sanctions screening, collateral management, derivatives post-trade processing and reconciliation and market data.

This new hub will address a connectivity gap, where upstart fintechs and large tech firms alike are faced with the cost and complexity of spinning up their own distributed networks so banks can consume their various applications, according to Keith Bear, IBM’s vice president for financial markets.

“Having a secure network and proven infrastructure allows an app store kind of model, where banks can identify applications from certified fintech and software providers and deploy these apps over a seamless blockchain network,” Bear told CoinDesk.

For Barclays, one of the most active banks in the DLT field, the app store is a way to test out a new approach.

Dr. Lee Braine of the investment bank CTO office at Barclays, explained that there are several different deployment options to consider when architecting distributed ledgers for live environments.

For example, if a financial market infrastructure provider like CLS is providing the governance and business services for a particular use case, then there may be an option for that market infrastructure provider to also host the nodes on behalf of the banks in order to accelerate the initial speed to market, said Braine.

“Some banks may also look to explore the more decentralized deployment option of hosting their nodes themselves,” said Braine. “By participating in the LedgerConnect proof-of-concept, Barclays is gaining experience of a distributed ledger private network aimed at connecting both market infrastructure-hosted nodes and bank-hosted nodes.”

LedgerConnect itself runs partly on a permissioned blockchain based on IBM’s blockchain platform, which in turn was built on Hyperledger Fabric, and all the apps currently in the store are Hyperledger-based. However, the founders are open to other enterprise blockchain solutions making use of the app store.

“We are not averse to supporting other ledger implementations, whether it is R3’s Corda, whether it is Quorum (provided these techs are robust and can meet the needs we have from security perspective etc.),” said Ram Komarraju, head of innovation and solution delivery at CLS.

He added:

“Our expectation is that in principle we will not be limited to one technology only.”

Original consortium

Stepping back, CLS can perhaps be thought of as the original blockchain consortium.

Granted, it was founded in 2002 (six years before the first blockchain was conceived) to provide plumbing for FX trades. But it’s been testing blockchain technology since early 2015, before Hyperledger started and when R3 was still flying under the radar.

The early CLS blockchain efforts were later formalized into CLSNet, a way of testing blockchain to match and net trades involving a range of new currencies not on the main platform, keeping immature blockchain technology separate from the core settlement engine used by 60 large financial institutions.

“There is a lot of trade processing we do for banks and buy-side firms, without getting to the last mission-critical aspects of settlement itself,” said Komarraju.

As such, CLSNet will be one of the first applications on the new LedgerConnect portal. All these apps have been selected in the hope of removing typical reconciliation efforts and data duplication (remedies include things like capturing digitalized master agreements of derivatives contracts on a single ledger for example).

“Look at capital markets today, every bank has its own silo office systems even though they are trading typically with a counterparty that has the same type of business logic but using the same technology stack,” added Komarraju.

IBM and CLS go back a ways; the main CLS platform was built by IBM. And LedgerConnect is a way of joining the dots between their respective financial infrastructure and blockchain work, at the same time extending the blockchain work CLS has been doing beyond foreign exchange into other capital market domains.

“This is really leveraging the combination of CLS’s position as a globally systemically important market utility owned by the banks, and also IBM’s investment in that,” said Komarraju.

PoC fatigue

Unlike the average PoC, LedgerConnect is at quite an advanced state, according to Komarraju.

“We didn’t start this on Monday,” he said. “We have institutions that have selected a number of use cases and these have been implemented and we are in the very late stages of proving the technology.”

While Barclays and Citi are the only banks being named at this time, big hitters like JPMorgan and Goldman, which are both part of CLSNet, are logical candidates to take part.

Another list of likely suspects are the banks on the platform, which also uses Hyperledger in the form of an IBM software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

Explaining why CLS couldn’t reveal all the participants in LedgerConnect, Komarraju hinted that some of these big banks are experiencing a bit of blockchain PoC fatigue.

“We cannot share the names of full list of banks because we haven’t (yet) received the approvals from some of them. Some of them wanted to wait until the proof of concept is complete and others needed more time for internal approvals,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bear of IBM said the whole reason we are seeing PoC fatigue is because so many of them don’t progress. While this can be because of a weak business case, or one that doesn’t need a blockchain, oftentimes it comes down to the cost and complexity of getting a network up and running.

“In many ways we are trying to get rid of that PoC fatigue,” said Bear. “I know we have to go through a PoC to do that, but it’s kind of inevitable.”

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has announced the completion of a cross-border shipment that utilized blockchain to track goods in the supply chain.

The multinational, one of Australia’s “Big Four” banks, said in a statement on Monday that some 37,000 pounds of almonds were shipped from Australia to Germany and were tracked via a private blockchain platform developed by the bank on top of the ethereum network.

Participating nodes of the blockchain system included key parties along the supply chain, such as agriculture producer Olam Orchards and logistic carriers, as well as port operator Patrick Terminals and the Port of Melbourne.

The CBA said the blockchain-based system stores the data of containers, documents and financial transactions on a distributed network. As such, different partners can simultaneously view and track information about a shipment in real-time – data including the shipment’s status or the temperature and humidity of the containers.

“This level of data provided partners in the supply chain with a greater level of transparency and efficiency regarding the location, condition and authentication of the goods being transported,” the bank said in the release.

Olam Orchards’ supply chain manager Emma Roberts commented in the announcement:

“Trade inefficiency can be extremely detrimental to our business. It is vital that as an industry, we look at emerging technology for ways to enhance the supply chain to develop a more transparent and efficient platform.”

The news follows the banking giant’s previous work to test a blockchain system for tracking cross-border shipments of cotton in real-time through a partnership with Wells Fargo. Last year, the CBA also revealed a plan to issue a bond over a blockchain system.

The bank’s overall effort to adopt blockchain is part of its wider push for technology advancement. In early 2017, the CBA said it aimed to spend close to $1 billion on technology development in 2017, including a continuous investment on blockchain.

There are over 600 million Africans living without electricity despite an abundance of sunshine and hundreds of thousands of solar projects on the drawing board.

Now, Sun Exchange, a South Africa-based startup, has developed a solution to Africa’s solar electrification dilemma centered on the intersection of three fast-growing technologies: blockchain, crowd-sourcing and solar photovoltaics. Sun Exchange has combined and synergized these technologies seamlessly on its online platform, enabling people around the world to purchase solar panels that are then leased into projects in Africa to passively collect bitcoin from the leasing of the solar cells that provide clean and affordable electricity at no upfront cost to businesses and communities.

“I believe being able to harness energy from our star to be a basic human right,” said Abe Cambridge, Sun Exchange’s founder and CEO. “The Sun Exchange provides the tools for anyone on Earth to exercise that right. We are turning sunlight into a universal source of income. While most solar investment opportunities require a large minimum investment, with Sun Exchange you can buy into a solar project with increments of just $10 in bitcoin equivalent to start, and then increase the number of solar cells you own substantially over time if you like the platform and are happy with the returns.”

Ushering in an Era of Solar-Powered Money

Sun Exchange manages solar panel owners’ leases and the installation of the solar panels purchased through its platform onto the rooftops of either businesses or even whole community-scale rural micro-grids. As electricity from the solar panels is generated, used and paid for, bitcoin is deposited into the Sun Exchange user’s account as a continuous cryptocurrency income stream that the user can expect to enjoy for a couple of decades.

“The Sun Exchange started in 2015 as an Indiegogo project, and has since raised $1.6 million in seed money,” Cambridge explained. “We now have over 6,000 Sun Exchange members in 91 countries. Five solar plants are now being powered by our members’ solar panels and are paying out bitcoin income. And right now, Sun Exchange is inviting our members to buy solar panels to power a recycled plastics facility plant in Cape Town, which is one of the sunniest cities on the planet.”

Funding High-Impact, Off-Grid Projects

Sun Exchange locates projects where there is abundant sunlight, where smaller scale solar projects —sized a megawatt or less — are still commercially viable. The impact of such systems can be big, such as transforming remote villages into solar-powered communities that otherwise wouldn’t be able to meet the costs to install the requisite cells, but instead, through the Sun Exchange, are able to access clean and affordable solar power at no upfront cost. The core technology that makes this possible is Bitcoin, which is accelerating the growth of solar energy in Africa by providing the financial infrastructure that make possible projects that would otherwise never be built. Just as Africa leapfrogged telephone lines and went straight to cell phones, Bitcoin gives Africa instant access to a global financial market and communities can now skip fossil fuel utility grids and go straight to solar.

“Sun Exchange opens up high-impact, off-grid solar installations projects in emerging markets to anyone who wish to own solar panels in the sunniest places around the globe,” said Cambridge. “So not only are the solar panels going to produce more energy, and therefore have a greater environmental benefit, but these projects have a much bigger impact on individual lives and businesses than projects that simply provide extra electricity to an existing grid in a developed country.”

Businesses and small communities in emerging markets often lack the upfront capital to go solar. The reason why thousands of perfectly viable solar projects sit on the drawing board is due simply to a lack of access to funding. Prior to a project moving forward and before anything has been installed, Sun Exchange raises all of the capital required for the installation by pre-selling the solar panels that make up the project to its members. Once costs are covered, the array is purchased, installed and goes online within 60 days.

Unlocking Africa’s Solar Potential

“Growing low-cost clean energy in Africa is imperative for its development,” Cambridge said. “So what’s the barrier; why is Africa not going solar? We have the technology, the skills and the desire. What’s missing is the financial infrastructure.”

Africa is unbanked across most of the continent. But with the Sun Exchange, a $10 solar cell owned by anyone on Earth can be leased to someone in Africa for 20 years and that single solar cell could be owned by somebody in another region of the world where it might not make sense to install a solar panel.

“Our cryptocurrency-enabled system enables borderless solar ownership,” Cambridge said. “Anyone can own solar panels located in sun-drenched locations and earn an income from them.”

Sun Exchange makes transferring payments and value across borders cheap and easy. Using reserve banks and SWIFT comes with a huge cost of effort and cash value when using euros, USD or South African rand. Cryptocurrency breaks that barrier.

“We can now transact with the whole world while at the same time reducing the cost of ownership investment down to a single solar cell,” Cambridge explained. “I like to say that we are streaming monetized African sunshine around the world in real time, 24/7/365.”

A campaign to power a plastics recycling factory in Cape Town with solar electricity will be the largest Sun Exchange project to date. The Nioro Plastics 473kW solar array will power the recycling of used plastic bottles into new bottles. Anyone interested in generating a passive bitcoin income stream from the project can sign up here.

SUNEX Token Sale

Sun Exchange recently introduced SUNEX, its own digital rewards token, which can be earned to get discounts on the Sun Exchange marketplace and can be used to stake into a solar project insurance fund. The SUNEX Network Token is currently available for purchase through a public token sale event, which will run through December 31.

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.

For many, the complex nature of crypto investing is an unsolvable enigma. Despite the potential for great returns, many are hesitant to jump in and navigate the complexities and uncertainties inherent in this space.

One company that’s pioneering a process for solving the crypto investing puzzle is Aenigma Capital, a crypto hedge fund that combines pre-initial coin offering (ICO) investments with active investment in later stage publicly traded tokens.. Aenigma believes in getting involved early in projects that have distinct competitive advantages, mentoring them and utilizing research to bring broader institutional support and greater market adoption.

Aenigma’s heritage is in delivering proprietary, industry-leading valuation models that assess and analyze crypto markets. Target markets include institutions, researchers and mass-market audiences seeking high-quality research and collateral ideas around token dynamics and valuation fundamentals of the crypto space. This same rigorous thinking drives Aenigma’s investment process.

Aenigma’s founding portfolio is fueled by a diversified set of high-quality investments and tokens. Matrix AI Network, Orchid, Edenchain and OceanEx are among the company’s many partners.

Aenigma believes crypto investments succeed and flourish when their decentralized models provide a distinct competitive advantage to traditional centralized alternatives. Distributed autonomous corporations (DACs) are growing in popularity. If properly structured and applied to appropriate business areas, DACs have competitive advantages that can make them grow exponentially.

First,  DACs are censorship resistant, making them less prone to onerous regulation. Second, DACs are naturally resistant to seizures that often involve corporate financial assets and intellectual property. Third, DACs provide enhanced fiduciary oversight, as smart contracts and transparent accounting transactions on a blockchain help mitigate the risk of management not paying its shareholders with integrity. Finally, middlemen are productivity and efficiency removed in DACs, leading to borderless workforces that are highly vested and incentivized.

The Promising Future of Decentralized Models

While the popular press focuses on currency uses of crypto, Aenigma believes DACs are one of the most powerful and disruptive applications of crypto technology. As opposed to traditional, centralized models that rely on the fiduciary responsibility of management in terms of acting in the best interest of investors, the DAC open-source, decentralized model places the responsibility of project success back into the hands of investor stakeholders.

One example of a DAC providing competitive advantage is IDEX, the rapidly growing decentralized exchange built by Aurora DAO (AURA). IDEX has attracted many users because it embodies the ethos of crypto in providing a decentralized alternative to traditional exchanges. IDEX attracts investors both because the decentralized nature is more secure and because it is censorship resistant. Here, the fundamental value of the AURA token resembles that of a traditional stock. Token stakers are entitled to receive 50 percent (and eventually 100 percent) of the fees paid to the platform, all of which are distributed via smart contracts to workers.

Arguably, what’s most appealing about the AURA token is that the platform is already seeing heavy demand and activity. At times, in fact, the exchange has recorded daily volumes in excess of its own market capitalization. And according to DappRadar, it’s currently ranked as the number-one DApp exchange by volume and usage on the Ethereum network.

A Team-Based Approach

The Aenigma team combines experience in crypto investing, token economics, engineering, startup founding, venture capital (VC) and investment banking to address the particular nature of the crypto market.

Managing partner Juan Bruce was previously an engineer, startup founder and traditional venture investor. Educated at Stanford University, Bruce spent time in Silicon Valley building products for the renowned design firm IDEO, founded the media tech startup Epoxy and ran Robert Downey Jr.’s venture fund. Bruce realized the unique combination of skills needed in crypto investing.

“Crypto is like highly technical liquid venture investing,” Bruce said. “Compared to VC, we utilize similar diligence to evaluate projects and competitive advantage. Post-ICO we support our investments like VCs, but our technical and liquid trading team works with tokens more like a hedge fund or public market investors. Being startup founders, we also built technical tools for each stage of the process.”

Bruce added that decentralization is the next logical progression for many technology sectors.

“In the last decade, cloud computing eclipsed traditional solutions,” he said. “Decentralized technology has the same potential in the next decade and IDEX is an example of a decentralized solution growing rapidly in the exchange space.”

Partner David Grider, known as a pioneer in token economic models, believes that there’s a great misconception about crypto and decentralized projects: even some of the most sophisticated investors believe that these assets can’t be valued. He noted that crypto assets remain misunderstood by the vast majority of the financial public. Even informed investors, he said, have a narrow view of what an ICO is, what a token represents and what the resultant values that these networks create can be.

“Our investing philosophy is that tokens are no different than any other financial asset,” said Grider. “By understanding and measuring the way in which these value drivers translate into token price, we may assess the intrinsic value of crypto assets to make stronger, more informed investment decisions.”

He added that the valuation of AURA, for example, is quite simple. IDEX has already generated nearly $1 billion in volume in the six months since it has launch. Based on an approximate 0.3 percent average trade fee (0.1 percent maker/0.2 percent taker) and the anticipated fee split, that would have meant over $2.6 million in distributions would have been paid out to staking holders had the planned transition already taken effect. Doing a back of the envelope analysis, annualizing that trend and putting a growth price/earning multiple in the 20-times range would result in market cap of about $106 million — nearly 6 times the current value, according to the Aenigma team.

“The crypto market is constantly evolving, and so are we,” Grider concluded. “From a hedge fund perspective, we are particularly interested in tokens like AURA that are finding real-world usage and adoption early in their life cycles.”

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.