Monero is a privacy-preserving cryptocurrency based on the CryptoNote protocol. Its key components are anonymity, security, and fungibility. Recipients and senders of Monero use unique, one-time only, public keys for every transaction. These are called Stealth Addresses and mitigate the risks of wallet data mining, a non-trivial concern of Bitcoin users. Another feature, Ring Signatures, is also used in every transaction and is made by fusing a transaction’s actual signer with a group of random signers pulled from past transactions in the blockchain. This masks the true identities of the sender and receiver.
PeerPlays is a provably fair and auditable betting platform that runs on a modified version of the Graphene blockchain, the same blockchain used by BitShares. Users can design their own specialized tokens, buy or sell gateway tokens for other popular tokens, and wager the native PPY token in on-chain games. Players are matched with other users for peer-to-peer gameplay through a series of smart contracts. These contracts escrow the funds wagered by each player, which are then released to the winner after specific conditions in the game are met. The PeerPlays network earns revenue from various operations, including the creation and trading of digital asset tokens by users, the performance of certain custom operations, and most notably from the “rake” or the percentage of each jackpot that is collected as a fee. The blockchain automatically splits this revenue into a virtual account governed by a smart contract that distributes the fees in three directions. The largest percentage is distributed to PPY token holders at regular intervals.
Peercoin was launched in August 2012 and was one of the first projects to use the Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, which was first described in a whitepaper co-authored by Sunny King, a pseudonym for the founder of Primecoin, and Scott Nadal. It is a peer-to-peer digital currency similar to Bitcoin. A key differentiator is that transaction fees are burned, rather than paid to miners. This puts downward pressure on the supply, thereby increasing the value of existing PPC tokens. PeerCoin is the basis for several existing projects and many high-profile forks have emerged, Emercoin being one of the most popular.
NoLimitCoin (NLC2) is a Proof of Stake digital token designed to power online fantasy sports games and applications. NLC2 currently powers four different gaming platforms: Crypto Fantasy Sports; No Limit Fantasy Sports (NLFS); No Cost Fantasy Sports and NFL Stat Challenge. NLFS is a fantasy sports betting platform that created the NLC2 token so that it would not need to accept fiat currency, which NLFS notes will allow the platform to “navigate around restrictive gambling laws in the United States and other countries around the world.”
Namecoin was an early fork of Bitcoin and began as a project called Bitdns, which wanted to improve the decentralization, security and censorship resistance of certain components of the Internet infrastructure, such as domain name servers and identities. Namecoin is used to register names and store associated information in its blockchain. The project is important from a historical perspective because it was the first token to use merged-mining, a protocol that allows users to mine different tokens at the same time. It was also the first token to solve Zooko’s Triangle, a longstanding problem of creating a naming system that is simultaneously secure, decentralized and easily used and understood by humans. In March 2014, OneName, an identity system built on the Namecoin blockchain, was released and enabled the storing of usernames and personal profile data on the blockchain. In September 2015, OneName switched from the Namecoin blockchain to the Bitcoin blockchain.
Etheroll is a dice game written as an Ethereum smart contract that is provably random, cryptographically secure, and provides Etheroll with a 1% house edge. Players send Ether (the bet) to Etheroll and bet that the number they chose will be greater than the number rolled by a 100-sided dice. Etheroll collects 1% of the payout to winning players as its source of revenue and the only other “fee” is the Ethereum gas charge. Holders of the native DICE token are entitled to vote on proposals from the Etheroll team and collectively they receive 100% of the profits earned from the game (the “Reward”). The Reward is paid-out during a 7-day “Rewards Period,” during which DICE tokens are frozen and non-transferable. To claim the Reward, holders must hold the tokens with their own private keys (i.e. not on an exchange) and connect to the Etheroll website using an Ethereum enabled browser (e.g. Mist, MetaMask) during the Rewards Period. During the 1st Rewards Period (August 7, 2017 – August 14, 2017), 1,400 ETH was available to DICE holders and more than 90% was claimed.
Analyst’s Note: One day after Elastic’s ICO, “Lannister,” one of the anonymous founding core developers of the team, left the project and took an undisclosed amount of ICO funds.
Elastic characterizes itself as a protocol for distributed computation that administers arbitrary computational tasks between buyers, who need computational resources and sellers, who have idle resources that they are willing to sell for ELC tokens. Elastic utilizes its own programming language, Elastic PL, which is based on C. Competitors to Elastic include Golem, Zennet and Gridcoin. Looking at Elastic’s Github repository, it is clear that there has been minimal development on the project since the ICO.
Edgeless is a decentralized casino protocol that plans to offer blackjack, dice, poker and sports betting games. The games will have a 0% edge for the house, meaning that players who play the game perfectly can be guaranteed a 50% chance of winning. Each month, 60% of profits are sent to the Edgeless team for development and 40% is sent to the “Edgeless Lounge” prize pool, a lottery style game where EDGE tokens lost during normal play are used to gain entry. Edgeless lost 26,793 ETH because of the Parity wallet hack but the developers believe it will only cause a slight delay in the platform’s rollout. In December 2017, Edgeless received a gambling license from Curacao, which is one of the easiest jurisdictions to obtain a gambling license. In January 2018, the casino was opened to the public.
Counterparty is a smart contract platform that leverages the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) to facilitate the execution of smart contracts on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. Counterparty operates like a platform since it does not have its own blockchain. Instead, it exists as data within the Bitcoin blockchain through the OP_RETURN data encoding method. As a result, on-chain XCP transactions are by definition Bitcoin transactions with encoded data. The XCP token is used to pay for the execution of smart contracts, much like the concept of “gas” in Ethereum. Counterparty was launched through a “Proof of Burn” offering, whereby Bitcoin users sent bitcoin to a special address that burned, or locked up the bitcoin forever, in return for an equivalent amount of XCP. Other than Peter Todd, a Bitcoin Core Developer, the Counterparty development team is largely anonymous.
CloakCoin is a privacy focused protocol released in June 2014. The architecture of CloakCoin is similar to Dash as it relies on staked full nodes that perform specialized services. CloakCoin differs from most privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies as it employs a shielded Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism. The project uses a native mixing mechanism called ENIGMA for the creation of private transactions. Coin mixing, or tumbling, is a common blockchain obfuscation mechanism that mixes the senders (inputs) and receivers (outputs) within the same transaction. CloakCoin differs from other protocol-based mixing services by providing its full nodes a TOR-like onion routing system for intercommunications. Like Dash, this mixing service is provided by a group of masternodes in the network. ClockCoin transaction fees are 1.8% of the sent amount, making it one of the most expensive privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies. As of February 2018, the identities of all core developers are unknown.
Analyst’s Note: There is an unusually small amount of information about this project and the information that is available largely comes from its website and is not otherwise verifiable. Many online reports claim that Bitdeal is a scam.
Bitdeal is a project that aims to make purchase suggestions to the users of its platform based on their geographical location. Stores registered in the platform offer their own unique discounts to you. The project attempts to do this by using a QR code system, but it does not address the potential challenges of making purchases using a volatile digital token. The entire team behind Bitdeal is anonymous and, like BitConnect, its website also has news related to digital tokens.
PotCoin is the first digital currency created to facilitate transactions in the legalized marijuana industry. PotCoin was originally a fork of Litecoin with a few differences, such as shorter block times, a quicker halving schedule and an increased maximum supply of tokens. PotCoin was created by three entrepreneurs who went by the nicknames, Hasoshi, Mr. Jones and Smokemon 514. Mr. Jones (Joel Yaffe) and Smokemon 514 (Nick Iverson) have both revealed their identities, but Hasoshi’s identity is still unknown. On August 23, 2015, the PotCoin consensus mechanism was changed from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake Velocity, similar to Reddcoin.
Viacoin is a digital P2P currency that was originally a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. After Litecoin, Viacoin was one of the initial altcoins to implement Segregated Witness (SegWit). Besides doubling the block size, SegWit increases blockchain malleability and enables atomic swaps, bi-directional payment channels, and lightning networks, all of which Viacoin plans to implement in the latter half of 2017. Although most of the core developers are anonymous, the team includes Peter Todd, a former Bitcoin core developer. The team is currently led by a Dutch programmer known as “Romano.”
Numerai is a decentralized hedge fund that crowdsources its quantitative analytics by using its native Numeraire token. Any data scientist can contribute to the fund by applying a predictive data model to a predetermined dataset, which could be anything from crop production rates, to sales numbers, to the price of gold. Data scientists submit their predictions to the platform and compete against each other in weekly tournaments. The accuracy of each model is quantified and ranked without data scientists having to share their actual models. After submitting their predictions, data scientists stake a number of Numeraire proportionate to their confidence level. If a prediction is proven incorrect, the Numeraire staked is retired by the protocol, deflating the total supply of tokens. If a prediction is proven accurate, the data scientist is rewarded with Ether. Numerai uses these predictions for its meta-model, which produces actionable trading ideas. Numeraire token holders do not share in any profits made by Numerai. The fund is led by Richard Craib, a former hedge fund quant featured on the Forbes “30 under 30” list.
MobileGo is a token used to gamify the GameCredits mobile platform by incentivizing loyalty and participation through rewards, such as coupons, free entry into tournaments and private beta testing of new games. There is a relationship between MobileGo and GameCredits in that many team members work on both projects and the funds raised from the MobileGo issuance will in part be used to fund the marketing and branding of the GameCredits platform. The goal is that success of that platform could lead to a large gamification platform, thereby increasing the value of MobileGo. GameCredits is a Proof of Work Scrypt token and the team believed that the gaming industry also needed a smart contract solution, which is what led to MobileGo. It is the first token to be simultaneously issued on both the Ethereum and Waves blockchains. Using a new technology comprised of a web interface, locked wallets and smart contracts on the Ethereum side, MobileGo is interchangeable between the two blockchains.
LBRY is a tokenized marketplace for creative content, such as movies, music and artwork. The platform uses the LBRY token for all transactions on its platform. The token was created as a fork of Bitcoin Core and received some backlash from the community due to its lack of innovation. Much like BitTorrent, the project counts with a network of nodes that store the digital content offered in the marketplace. At the time of writing, the LBRY blockchain is mostly empty and very few items are exchanged through the platform.
Humaniq characterizes itself as a humanitarian project targeting the unbanked; those not served by a bank or similar financial institution, and the underbanked; those with poor access to mainstream financial services. Its core components are an Ethereum-based mobile wallet and token, as well as a digital identity service that aims to assist distressed countries by providing an alternative to a national currency and identification system. It employs face and voice recognition to verify user accounts and allows users to instantly transact on their mobile devices.
DECENT is a decentralized network for publishing, distributing and consuming content based in Slovakia. The network’s DCT token attempts to enable publishers to create and disseminate content directly to consumers on the platform. DECENT uses a Delegated Proof of Stake consensus mechanism intended to be operated by key industry leaders. When new blocks are generated, payments are distributed to the authors, publishers, and themselves (for generating the block). The project has not experienced much development after its launch and key members of its team appear to be focused on other projects.
district0x is a cooperative of decentralized marketplaces and communities built on top of the Ethereum network. Districts, in the context of 0x, are decentralized entities that exist as Ethereum smart contracts and serve a specific community. Etherlance, for example, is a moderately popular job listing service for Ethereum professionals that exists as a district0x community. Such organizations can be built using d0xINFRA, an open source framework comprised of a smart contract library and powered by the Inter Planetary File System, or IPFS. The purpose of the district0x Network Token (DNT) is to allow for the participation and coordination of all members of network through a set of network governance tools. Improvement proposals, such as improving the district’s website, can be proposed by staking 1000 DNT. Participants in that district must then vote on the proposal by using their DNT tokens, and any user can challenge a proposal by staking the same amount. The framework for these governance tools is provided by the Aragon project, which specializes in protocol governance solutions.
Civic is an Ethereum-based identity management platform that compensates third parties, such as financial institutions, government entities, service providers, and individuals for performing online identity verification services. The project aspires to ease Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) compliance through an Ethereum smart contract . Civic was founded by Vinny Lingham, a South African entrepreneur who gained fame as one of the “sharks” on South Africa’s Shark Tank. Civic has secured several strategic partnerships with large organizations that plan to integrate Civic’s online verification technology. These organizations include, Augmentors, Bayonet Technologies, Bankcoin.global, BnkToTheFuture, BitGo, C.O.S.S., Doc.ai, Injii, Jaxx, Keynua, Lykke, Propy, REIDAO, ShapeShift, RSK, StockTwits, SweepSouth, TokenMarket, Turo, Inc., WikiHow, Xapo and Yola.