Being a successful graduate of Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU), Maria has acquired competencies in economic and social studies. Given Maria’s previous research working experience, and desire to explore what's really shaping the future, the main research focus is placed on FinTech and Blockchain Technology.
Every blockchain-based startup believes they have an idea that will change the way we live our lives or conduct our business, but it can be a struggle to find out which companies are actually worth looking out for.
Most of these startups publish complex and detailed whitepapers, which are fantastic for programmers and engineers but are not much help to investors and stakeholders. It often makes it confusing to pick out the enticing or innovative parts of a project.
One of the problems with the industry right now is that around 95% of all new blockchain-based startups fail. When they disappear they often take lucrative ideas, robust technologies, and intellectual property away with them; essentially meaning that they are lost to the public. LEXIT provides the industry with a solution to this problem. Amir Kaltak, the CEO and co-founder of LEXIT shared his thoughts at the Web Summit 2017:
“More than 95% of all startups vanish prematurely, taking invaluable knowledge and great ideas with them. The remaining 5% often pivots radically during their lifecycle, abandoning amazing tech on their way to success. Even successful mid-tier startups struggle to find exit strategies that reflect their true value. LEXIT’s goal is to help all of them utilize their technology, putting it in a new and successful context.”
LEXIT specifically aims at the 95% of blockchain technologies by streamlining the arduous process of acquisitions and mergers by using a blockchain platform. Kaltak further stated that “With millions of businesses forming and disintegrating annually, buyers and sellers have an unbelievably hard time trying to find each other and to negotiate fairly. This results in imperfect flows of information, high mediation costs, and expensive overhead, which render merger and acquisition processes extremely complicated.”
By creating a central, unified, platform which seamlessly joins buyers, sellers, and assessors together, LEXIT is aiming to disrupt the field of mergers and acquisition processes by making them faster, cheaper, and significantly less restricted. This is an extremely exciting and promising business, especially considering just how lucrative and expansive the industry is. LEXIT allows for technologies, intellectual property, and other assets to be sold in as fast as six months, rather than the standard amount of time it would take (2+ years).
At the heart of LEXIT is the LXT token. This token allows buyers to access detailed reports regarding listed blockchain projects as well as contact sellers discreetly, among other functions. For sellers, the LXT token is collected as a listing fee and used to complete the evaluation process. LXT creates an entire ecosystem which allows buyers, sellers, and assessors to benefit from its qualities.
Agrello is an Estonian startup which is revolutionizing the concept of smart contracts by joining legal documentation with artificial intelligence. The Agrello team, comprised of experienced lawyers, programmers and engineering experts, have crafted a drag-and-drop graphical interface that allows anybody to create self-executing, legally binding, intelligent smart contracts using the Ethereum network. These contracts can even be created by people who do not have programming or legal knowledge. It acts as a means of bringing legal protection to the masses. As Ethereum uses a decentralized blockchain, this means that all contracts created with Agrello will be immutable and therefore unchangeable. This is extremely important as it means that a chronological record of every contract will be available, which cannot be edited after being signed.
These smart, legally binding contracts are managed by agents who will advise the user on their terms and obligations. The smart contracts can also be used as a means of making a payment or unlocking a smart lock. As a means of combating identity complications, the Agrello team has partnered with Veriff, an online identification specialist, to create IDs for all Agrello users. These IDs are KYC compliant and provide lightning-fast and robust identity solutions.
Agrello is currently working with two prominent law firms: Attela, and LEXTAL. Both will be incorporating Agrello’s technology into their working environment likely within 2018. Using Agrello means that legal projects are streamlined and reduced in cost to their clients.
The Agrello network will run on the Delta (DLT) token. These tokens are required to utilize the Agrello platform and to perform certain contractual actions. One of Agrello’s many powerful elements is that it creates an essentially crowdsourced marketplace where lawyers and law firms alike can build contract templates and subsequently provide these for their clients, essentially saving a significant amount of time and energy. The Agrello token is readily available on numerous crypto marketplaces such as Binance, YoBit, and EtherDelta.
Contracts are a core component of how we live our lives and there is virtually no aspect of life that isn’t covered by a contract of some sort, whether it is a written or spoken word contract. This is especially true in the financial industry. As the world of currency and assets evolves in front of our eyes, many traditional financial institutions are eager to incorporate blockchain-based smart contract technologies into their businesses. However, huge corporations can be slow to embrace the new technologies, and companies like Everex have already crossed that bridge.
Everex’s strategy is to bring financial services to the unbanked and under-banked world. By combining traditional financial services with blockchain technology and Agrello’s smart contract solutions, the platform brings much needed services such as payments, remittance, currency exchange, and microfinance to the two-billion people around the globe who cannot access standard financial institutions. This is a huge, and almost entirely untapped, market.
To perform these actions, Everex will utilize ‘Cryptocash’, a technology which allows for each token’s value to reflect the fiat currency on which it is based. Users can convert local fiat currency into Cryptocash through the specialized Everex Wallet, and then have the balances held in licensed financial accounts linked to recognized institutions. For instance, 1 CryptoUSD (USDEX) will always be equal to 1 fiat USD ($1.00). Cryptocash is backed by fiat and pegged to the blockchain.
Everex holds the belief that traditional remittance and transfer systems are far too expensive and time-consuming, and that there are too many dangers in the form of exchange rate losses and counter-party risks. By using blockchain technology to dispense with bureaucracy and extensive paperwork, Everex renders existing systems obsolete by providing affordable and accessible credit, settling transfers in seconds, providing low FX fees, and offering direct irrevocable payments.
While it is an excellent idea to offer microlending to the unbanked and the underbanked, it does pose a problem: who can you lend money to in a world of decentralized trust? Institutions like Equifax, Experian, and other traditional credit agencies only provide supporting information based creditor reporting. Considering this fact, how can someone have a credit reference when they cannot access credit in the first place? Enter Bloom.
The Bloom team are reconstructing and revolutionizing the way in which credit scores are calculated. By taking into account non-credit-based payment information, such as utility bill payments, they are able to assess credit scores in a new way. They call this a Bloomscore. A person’s Bloomscore is an assessed P2P attestation system whereby people who you personally know can vouch for you, thus taking someone away from a ‘high-risk’ credit rating.
Furthermore, Bloom have a robust and secure KYC procedure, which expertly prevents fraudulent transactions and forgeries, plus its decentralised ID system keeps your sensitive documentation even safer than well known businesses such as Equifax; who for instance accidentally allowed for around 150 million users’ data to be compromised and stolen globally.
The Bloom token (BLT) is used as a means of allowing organisations to participate in evaluating user identities and consider creditworthiness. It also acts as a way of voting on BloomScore changes, algorithms, and protocols.
Recently, Bloom and Everex have announced a partnership which allows for both blockchain-based startups to change the way they interact with money, and pave the way for the future of finance.
Finance is not the only field which is being shaken up by blockchain startups. There are many other industries where this technology can be proven as useful. Take Selfkey, for example.
Selfkey is a startup which is solving self-sovereign identity issues; an untapped and exciting field. There has been a long debate for many years as to who owns a persons’ digital identity, and what elements of that identity they have. Selfkey may have found a solution to this.
They have found a way of giving users, organisations, and individuals the ability to gain complete ownership of their identity. Their blockchain-based system stores a user’s data and documents locally on their device so that nobody has access to it unless the sole owner grants them permission. This allows individuals to provide sensitive documentation for numerous reasons such as for citizenship and residency information, fintech products, financial services, company incorporation information, coin exchanges, and token sales whilst still maintaining complete autonomy over their identity.
The Selfkey token (KEY) is used as a means of providing access rights as well as verifying identity. Users, applicable parties, and certifiers will need to stake a certain amount of KEY tokens in order for an identity to be verified. The KEY token can also be used to safely participate in token sales and other ICO events.
It is fair to say that not every idea is great and that not every great idea gets the recognition it deserves, however in the cases of LEXIT, Agrello, Everex, Bloom, and SelfKey these ideas are not just great but they also have the teams, investors, and infrastructures to ensure their success.