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Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?

Crypto Banking Wars: Can BlockFi & Celsius Disrupt Banking?
These crypto lending & borrowing services found early traction. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market?
https://reddit.com/link/icps9l/video/98kl1y596zh51/player
This is the third part of Crypto Banking Wars — a new series that examines what crypto-native company is most likely to become the bank of the future. Who is best positioned to reach mainstream adoption in consumer finance?
While crypto allows the world to get rid of banks, a bank will still very much be necessary for this very powerful technology to reach the masses. As we laid out in our previous series, Crypto-Powered, we believe a crypto-native company will ultimately become the bank of the future. We’re confident Genesis Block will have a seat at that table, but we aren’t the only game in town.
In the first post of this series, we did an analysis of big crypto exchanges like Coinbase & Binance. In our second episode, we looked at the world of non-custodial wallets.
Today we’re analyzing crypto lending & borrowing services. The Earn and Borrow use-case covers a lot of what traditional banks deliver today. This category of companies is a threat worth analyzing. As we look at this market, we’ll mostly be focused on custodial, centralized products like BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.
Many of these companies found early traction among crypto users. Are they capable of bundling more financial services and winning the broader consumer finance market? Let’s find out.

Institutional Borrowers

Because speculation and trading remains one of the most popular use-cases of crypto, a new crypto sub-industry around credit has emerged. Much of the borrowing demand has been driven by institutional needs.
For example, a Bitcoin mining company might need to borrow fiat to pay for operational costs (salaries, electricity). Or a crypto company might need to borrow USD to pay for engineering salaries. Or a crypto hedge fund needs to borrow for leverage or to take a specific market position. While all of these companies have sufficient crypto to cover the costs, they might not want to sell it — either for tax or speculative reasons (they may believe these crypto assets will appreciate, as with most in the industry).
Instead of selling their crypto, these companies can use their crypto as collateral for loans. For example, they can provide $1.5M in Bitcoin as collateral, and borrow $1M. Given the collateralization happening, the underwriting process becomes straightforward. Companies all around the world can participate — language and cultural barriers are removed.

https://preview.redd.it/z9pby83d6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=54bf425215c3ed6d5ff0ca7dbe571e735b994613
The leader (and one of our partners) in this space is Genesis Capital. While they are always the counterparty for both lenders and borrowers, they are effectively a broker. They are at the center of the institutional crypto lending & borrowing markets. Their total active loans as of March 2020 was $649M. That number shot up to $1.42B in active loans as of June 2020. The growth of this entire market segment is impressive and it’s what is driving this opportunity for consumers downstream.

Consumer Products

While most of the borrowing demand comes from institutional players, there is a growing desire from consumers to participate on the lend/supply side of the market. Crypto consumers would love to be able to deposit their assets with a service and watch it grow. Why let crypto assets sit on an exchange or in cold storage when it can be earning interest?
A number of consumer-facing products have emerged in the last few years to make this happen. While they also allow users to borrow (always with collateral), most of the consumer attraction is around growing their crypto, even while they sleep. Earning interest. These products usually partner with institutional players like Genesis Capital to match the deposits with borrowing demand. And it’s exactly part of our strategy as well, beyond leveraging DeFi (decentralized finance protocols).
A few of the most popular consumer services in this category include BlockFi, Nexo, and Celsius.

https://preview.redd.it/vptig5mg6zh51.png?width=1051&format=png&auto=webp&s=b5fdc241cb9b6f5b495173667619f8d2c93371ca

BlockFi

BlockFi (Crunchbase) is the leader in this category (at least in the West). They are well-capitalized. In August 2019, they raised $18.3M in their Series A. In Feb 2020, they raised $30M in their Series B. In that same time period, they went from $250M in assets under management to $650M. In a recent blog post, they announced that they saw a 100% revenue increase in Q2 and that they were on track to do $50M in revenue this year. Their growth is impressive.
BlockFi did not do an ICO, unlike Celsius, Nexo, Salt, and Cred. BlockFi has a lot of institutional backing so it is perceived as the most reputable in the space. BlockFi started with borrowing — allowing users to leverage their crypto as collateral and taking out a loan against it. They later got into Earning — allowing users to deposit assets and earn interest on it. They recently expanded their service to “exchange” functionality and say they are coming out with a credit card later this year.

https://preview.redd.it/byv2tbui6zh51.png?width=800&format=png&auto=webp&s=bac080dcfc85e89574c30dfb396db0b537d46706
Security Woes
It’s incredible that BlockFi has been able to see such strong growth despite their numerous product and security woes. A few months ago, their systems were compromised. A hacker was able to access confidential data, such as names, dates of birth, postal addresses, and activity histories. While no funds were lost, this was a massive embarrassment and caused reputational damage.

https://preview.redd.it/lwmxbz5l6zh51.png?width=606&format=png&auto=webp&s=ebd8e6e5c31c56da055824254b35b218b49f80e0
Unrelated to that massive security breach and earlier in the year, a user discovered a major bug that allowed him to send the same funds to himself over and over again, ultimately accumulating more than a million dollars in his BlockFi account. BlockFi fortunately caught him just before withdrawal.
Poor Product Execution
Beyond their poor security — which they are now trying to get serious about — their products are notoriously buggy and hard-to-use. I borrowed from them a year ago and used their interest account product until very recently. I have first-hand experience of how painful it is. But don’t take my word for it… here are just a few tweets from customers just recently.

https://preview.redd.it/wcqu3icn6zh51.png?width=1055&format=png&auto=webp&s=870e2f06a6ec377a87e5d6d1f24579a901de66b5
For a while, their interest-earning product had a completely different authentication system than their loan product (users had two sets of usernames/passwords). Many people have had issues with withdrawals. The app is constantly logging people out, blank screens, ugly error messages. Emails with verification codes are sometimes delayed by hours (or days). I do wonder if their entire app has been outsourced. The sloppiness shines through.
Not only is their product buggy and UX confusing, but their branding & design is quite weak. To the left is a t-shirt they once sent me. It looks like they just found a bunch of quirky fonts, added their name, and slapped it on a t-shirt.

https://preview.redd.it/mi6yeppp6zh51.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=fd4cd8201ad0d5bc667498096388377895b72953
Culture
To the innocent bystander, many of these issues seem totally fixable. They could hire an amazing design agency to completely revamp their product or brand. They could hire a mercenary group of engineers to fix their bugs, etc. While it could stop the bleeding for a time, it may not solve the underlying issues. Years of sloppy product execution represents something much more destructive. It represents a top-down mentality that shipping anything other than excellence is okay: product experience doesn’t matter; design doesn’t matter; craftsmanship doesn’t matter; strong execution doesn’t matter; precision doesn’t matter. That’s very different from our culture at Genesis Block.
This cancerous mentality rarely stays contained within product & engineering — this leaks to all parts of the organization. No design agency or consulting firm will fix some of the pernicious values of a company’s soul. These are deeper issues that only leadership can course-correct.
If BlockFi’s sloppiness were due to constant experimentation, iteration, shipping, or some “move fast and break things” hacker culture… like Binance… I would probably cut them more slack. But there is zero evidence of that. “Move fast and break things” is always scary when dealing with financial products. But in BlockFi’s case, when it’s more like “move slow and break things,” they are really playing with fire. Next time a massive security breach occurs, like what happened earlier this year, they may not be so lucky.
Institutional Focus
Based on who is on their team, their poor product execution shouldn’t be a surprise. Their team comes mostly from Wall Street, not the blockchain community (where our roots are). Most of BlockFi’s blockchain/crypto integration is very superficial. They take crypto assets as deposits, but they aren’t leveraging any of the exciting, low-level DeFi protocols like we are.
While their Wall Street heritage isn’t doing them any favors on the product/tech side, it’s served them very well on winning institutional clients. This is perhaps their greatest strength. BlockFi has a strong institutional business. They recently brought on Three Arrows Capital as a strategic investor — a crypto hedge fund who does a lot of borrowing. In that announcement, BlockFi’s founder said that bringing them on “aligns well with our focus on international expansion of our institutional services offering.” They also recently brought someone on who will lead business development in Asia among institutional clients.
BlockFi Wrap Up
There are certainly BlockFi features that overlap with Genesis Block’s offering. It’s possible that they are angling to become the bank of the future. However, they simply have not proven they are capable of designing, building, and launching world-class consumer products. They’ve constantly had issues around security and poor product execution. Their company account and their founder’s account seem to only tweet about Bitcoin. I don’t think they understand, appreciate, or value the power of DeFi. It’s unlikely they’ll be leveraging it any time soon. All of these reasons are why I don’t see them as a serious threat to Genesis Block.
However, because of their strong institutional offering, I hope that Genesis Block will ultimately have a very collaborative and productive partnership with them. Assuming they figure out their security woes, we could park some of our funds with BlockFi (just as we will with Genesis Capital and others). I think what’s likely to happen is that we’ll corner the consumer market and we’ll work closely with BlockFi on the institutional side.
I’ve been hard on BlockFi because I care. I think they have a great opportunity at helping elevate the entire industry in a positive way. But they have a lot of issues they need to work through. I really don’t want to see users lose millions of dollars in a security breach. It could set back the entire industry. But if they do things well… a rising tide lifts all boats.

Honorable Mentions

Celsius (ICO Drops) raised $50M in an ICO, and is led by serial entrepreneur Alex Mashinsky. I’ve met him, he’s a nice guy. Similar to Binance, their biggest Achilles heel could be their own token. There are also a lot of unanswered questions about where their deposits go. They don’t have a record of great transparency. They recently did a public crowdraise which is a little odd given their large ICO as well as their supposed $1B in deposits. Are they running out of money, as some suggest? Unclear. One of their biggest blindspots right now is that Mashinsky does not understand the power of DeFi. He is frequently openly criticizing it.
Nexo (ICO Drops) is another similar service. They are European-based, trying to launch their own card (though they’ve been saying this forever and they still haven’t shipped it), and have a history in the payments/fintech space. Because they haven’t penetrated the US — which is a much harder regulatory nut to crack — they are unlikely to be as competitive as BlockFi. There were also allegations that Nexo was spreading FUD about Chainlink while simultaneously partnering with them. Did Nexo take out a short position and start spreading rumors? Never a dull moment in crypto.
Other players in the lending & borrowing space include Unchained Capital, Cred (ICO Drops), and Salt (ICO Drops).

https://preview.redd.it/9ts6m0qw6zh51.png?width=1056&format=png&auto=webp&s=dd8d368c1aa39994c6bc5e4baec10678d3bbba2d

Wrap Up

While many companies in this category seem to be slowly adding more financial services, I don’t believe any of them are focused on the broader consumer market like we are. To use services like BlockFi, Nexo, or Celsius, users need to be onboarded and educated on how crypto works. At Genesis Block, we don’t believe that’s the winning approach. We think blockchain complexity should be abstracted away from the end-user. We did an entire series about this, Spreading Crypto.
For many of these services, there is additional friction due to ICO tokens that are forcefully integrated into the product (see NEXO token or CEL Token). None of these services have true banking functionality or integration with traditional finance —for example, easy offramp or spending methods like debit cards. None of them are taking DeFi seriously — they are leveraging crypto for only the asset class, not the underlying technology around financial protocols.
So are these companies potential competitors to Genesis Block? For the crypto crowd, yes. For the mass market, no. None of these companies are capable of reaching the billions of people around the world that we hope to reach at Genesis Block.
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The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next 2 hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features and NavPay you read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
submitted by crypto_sIF to NavCoin [link] [comments]

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

The History, The Current State And The Future Of NavCoin

This is it. If you're interested to see what NAV is all about, this is the ultimate guide for you. You will learn about the history of NavCoin and how it evolved. You will learn about the current state and features of NavCoin and you will learn about the exciting new features that are planned and coming up in the (near) future.
So buckle up, this is going to be a long ride!

Table Of Content


Introduction - What is NavCoin?


The History

Introduction
The following chapter will summarize and break down the history of NavCoin in a few sentences. NAV started a long time ago, went through rebrandings and changes of the core team before it became what it is today.

SummerCoin
NavCoin was initially first introduced under the name SummerCoin on April 23 in 2014. SummerCoin was a fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. It used to have a PoW/PoS hybrid algorithm with a block time of 45 seconds.

SummerCoinV2 /NavajoCoin
Soon after the initial launch of SummerCoin, the original developer left and SoopY (soopy452000 on bitcointalk) took over as the main developer and rebranded the project to SummerCoinV2 respectively NavajoCoin and introduced new features.
The name NavajoCoin was chosen in honor of the Navajo Code Talker. The unbreakable Navajo code was used to encrypt highly classified military information and commands and decrypt the same in WW II.
SoopY introduced a technology which allowed sending transactions anonymously and private. This technology was called "Navajo Anonymous Technology". SoopY also released a new wallet and set the Proof of Stake rewards at 10% for the first year, 5% for the second year and 2% for every year after.

NavCoin
On August 12, 2014, Craig (current lead core developer, pakage on bitcointalk) started to get involved with NAV by helping to set up a website [10].
It was officially announced that Craig joined the core team as a "Wallet & Web Developer" on November 06, 2014.
The last tokenswap and restart of the blockchain of NAV happened on May 12, 2016.
Soon later, SoopY stopped showing up and Craig stepped into the role of the lead core developer. Since then, Craig has assembled a strong team with which he built NavCoin into what it is today.
Currently, Craig and the NavCoin Core team is located in New Zealand and they are actively developing many ground-braking features which differentiate NAV from other cryptocurrencies. You will read more about that later in this article.

The Current State

Introduction
The year 2018 has been a thriving year for the NavCoin ecosystem. Despite the USD price of NAV not reflecting it, in 2018 the core team has developed a whole bunch of new features. Also the core content creators published the first official guidelines that function as an orientation guide for community content creators. This chapter will give you an overview of the current team, the features, the prior mentioned guidelines and the community of NavCoin.

Core Team [1]
Last year, the core team has grown alot. It contains of developers, content creators and interns. The core team are employees of Encrypt S, the New Zealand's leading blockchain R&D lab. Encrypt S is developing blockchain solutions since 2014 and values building open-source software highly.

Craig MacGregor - Chief Executive Officer
Craig is the CEO of Encrypt S and the founder of NavCoin. He is one of the world's most experienced blockchain developers. Craig founded NavCoin in 2014 and is developing software for it since then. He has assembled a strong team of like-minded people. Craig also speaks at seminars and conferenced. Some of the companies and conferences he did blockchain education sessions at are Oracle, Xero, Air New Zealand, Blok Tex and trademe. Together with the team, he is also doing a education series on YouTube where he explains upcoming features in-depth for the community.

Alex Vazquez - Chief Technical Officer
Alex is the CTO of Encrypt S and the most active contributor to the NavCoin core Github. He has incredible knowledge of blockchains and proposes and implements solutions for challenges and features. He supports community developers frequently and answers any questions of the community thoroughly. Like Craig, Alex is developing software for the NavCoin ecosystem for a very long time. Alex speaks at universities at times and educates students about the blockchain technology.

Paul Sanderson - Lead Software Engineer
Paul is the Lead Software Engineer at Encrypt S. He has a flair for technology. His technical and management skills are perfectly suited for consultancy and investment advising. He also frequently contributes to the NavCoin core source code.

Rowan Savage - Senior Software Engineer
Rowan is a full stack software engineer with more than a decade experience in developing complex front-end web applications. He joined Encrypt S in February 2018 and has since been involved in the Valence Plattform, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. You will read more about these feature/projects later.

Carter Xiao - Lead UX/UI Designer
Carter specializes in user-centric design and is also very talented with 3D animation, motion graphics and programming. One of NavCoins core principle is "Simplifying Crypto" and UX/UI is a very important part of that.

Matt Paul - Software Engineer
Like Rowan, Matt is a full stack Software Engineer. He joined the core team in Mai 2017 and has since worked on NavPay, NavPi, the Kauri Wallet and NavCoin Core. Kieren Hyland - Chief Strategy Officer Kieren is one of the employees that are working for Encrypt S for a very long time. He is the CSO and is a digital strategist and growth hacker with a passion for new technology and has a lot of experience in online marketing. Laura Harris - Creative Director Laura has a combination of commercial and creative flair. She manages the social media accounts for NavCoin and ensures, that NavCoins' message is always powerful, relevant and distinctive. John Darby - Content Creator John is an internationally awarded Technology and Financial sector marketing communications specialist. He is one of the Core Content Creators for NavCoin.

Features of NavCoin [2]
The following features are currently available and have been developed in the last months and years. It is sorted from newest to oldest.

Static Block Reward
The soft-fork for the enabling of static block rewards have been accepted and became active recently at 5th January 2019. This means, that the block reward was changed from a percentage based reward to a static reward. This will incentivize the stakers to have their node online 24/7 which increased the security of the network. It also aligns NavCoin with the PoSv3 specification. With this implementation, the yearly inflation will be 3.6% currently and will exponentionally decrease because of the static value of the rewards. Every staked block will now give the staker 2 NAV. Depending on how many people are staking, the yearly percentage varies. With the network weight currently being around 20'000'000 NAV, stakers earn around 10% rewards from staking 24/7.

Cold staking
To provide extra security to participants in the staking process in the NavCoin network, the core team decided to implement cold staking. This allows to store NAV offline and still be able to sign staking inputs. Looking forward, a possible integration into the Ledger Nano S would mean, that one can stake NAV securely from a offline hardware wallet. How cool is that?

OpenAlias
One of the core principle of NAV is to simplify cryptocurrencies. Many non-technical people are deterred from the long, cryptic addresses used in wallets. When sending funds, you have to make sure that every single letter and digit is correct which is nerve-wracking for the average person. NavCoin has implemented OpenAlias, which allows to transform the wallet address into a email-like form. Everyone can register a name like "[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])". Funds can then be sent to this name, which makes sending crypto much easier and less error-prone.

Community Fund
This is the one big feature I was most excited about. NavCoin core has implemented the first fully decentralized community fund. Acceptance of proposals and release of funds is all approved by the decentralized network. No central authority has access to the fund. The community fund enables everyone to propose their ideas to the NavCoin community and to get paid to implement these ideas. Everyone can propose whatever they like (of course there is a higher rate of success if the proposal contributes to the NavCoin ecosystem ;-)). In fact, this article was sponsored by the NAV-Community by voting "yes" for my proposal. The fund works like this:
For a fee of 50 NAV, everyone can create and present his idea/proposal to the entire NavCoin network. The fee is here to help prevent spam attacks. Proposals can literally be anything - be it development, marketing or anything else you can some up with.
After creating the proposal, everyone contributing to the NavCoin network can then decide if they like the proposal of not. They vote with "Yes" or "No" for the acceptance of the proposal. Voting happens via staking. Every transaction that gets validated by you gives you one vote. This means that the more NAV you are staking, the higher your voting weight is.
The proposal stays in the state "Pending" until it is accepted or rejected. To be accepted, a proposal has to have a participation of at least 50% of all staked blocks and at least 75% of these votes have to be "Yes"-votes. Like-wise to be rejected a proposal need 50% participation of the network and 75% of these votes have to be "No"-votes. Additionally, if a proposal didn't pass after 6 voting cycles (about 6 weeks) it is also rejected.
After a proposal has been accepted, the creator of the proposal can start his work. When the work is finished, or at in the proposal defined checkpoints, the proposal creator can create a payment request for the full or part of the requested funds.
The NavCoin network can then again decide, if the work is what the creator promised to do and vote for the funds or reject the payment request because it was not what he promised. This mechanism ensures, that the funds are only release if the creator of the proposal did what he promised. The NavCoin network decides everything, there is no central authority which makes the community fund 100% decentralized.
The community fund is quite new but there have already been some proposals that were accepted like paying for the development & hosting of NAV block explorer, the creation and distribution of NAV car stickers to the community for free (or paid by the community fund), the funding of interns for NavCoin Core, translation of the website into other languages and YouTube videos. What ideas could you come up with? By the way: this article was also sponsored by the community fund :-)

Proof of Stake
Like said before, NavCoin uses the Proof of Stake algorithm to create and validate blocks. Participants of the NavCoin network can earn rewards by putting their coins to stake and thus validating blocks and securing the network. The reward used to be 4% fixed but recently changed with the implementation of PoSv3. Currently, rewards for stakers that are staking 24/7 is about 10% but it is dependent on how many people are staking. If more nodes come online, this reward will go down. If 90% of all NAVs would be at stake, stakers would still earn 4%.

Tutorials And Guidelines [3]
The NavCoin Core team pushes the community to contribute to the NavCoin ecosystem constantly. They emphasize that NavCoin is an open source project and everyone can contribute. The team tries to make it as easy as possible for the average person to contribute and thus created different tutorials and guidelines.

Tutorials To Contribute To The Website
The whole website is open source. Everyone can contribute to the website. The team created different guides for people to follow [4].

The NavCoin Developer Manifesto
The content creator core team has build a developer manifesto. It defines the values that should be uphold like for example that they will always operate in the best interest of the network. If defines the principles, purposes, scope of involvement and operational requirements [5].

The NavCoin Content Creation Manifesto
Similar to the developer manifesto, there is also a content creation manifesto. Again it defines the principles for creating content, the purpose, the scope of involvement and the operational requirements [6].

NavCoin Brand Guidelines
In addition to the content creation manifesto, there is also a brand guideline booklet. This should help content creators to create images, videos, articles etc. in the same style as the core team. It defines the NAV brand. The brand guidelines contain definitions, the language to use (words to use, words not to use), the tone of voice, what the community aspires to be and what we discourage to be. It also contains the logo pack which can be used in graphics etc. It describes correct logo spacing, logo placement, the colors of NAV and different web assets. It gives tips about gradients and overlays, the typefaces (with a font pack) and many more. Check it out yourself [7].

NavCoin Educational Series
The core team has decided to actively involve the community in the creation of new features. For this reason and to allow users to ask questions, they created the NavCoin Educational Series. The core team schedules an online live meetup which can be joined by everyone. On YouTube they do live-streams and explain upcoming features. Examples of these series are explanations for cold staking, static rewards (PoSv3) and the community fund. The community can ask questions live and the core team will answer them immediately.

Community
During the last year there have been an influx of software developers from the community starting to create features for NAV.

navexplorer.com
An examples is navexplorer.com which is programmed by community developer prodpeak and is a block explorer for NavCoin. Additionally, it functions as a interface to see what is going on in the community fund. It shows pending proposals and payment requests.

NEXT Wallet
The NEXT Wallet is an alternative wallet for NAV and other cryptocurrencies. It has a beautiful user interface and is additionally the easiest interface to interact with the community fund (create proposals, create payment requests and vote for proposals and payment requests). It is programmed by community developer sakdeniz who put hundreds of hours into it during last year.

There were also some marketing activities starting to emerge with the release of the community fund. Some of these were for example free stickers for everyone in the NAV community to stick to their car / shop / window etc. or YouTube videos of CryptoCandor and Cryptomoonie that explained the details of NAV. I am sure, that with the 500'000 NAV available in the community fund per year there will be an influx of gread ideas - development as well as marketing activities - that will be funded.

The Future

Introduction
These features are planned for the future. Many of the following features are part of the 2019 roadmap. Some will not be described in great detail because not much is known about them yet. I've still listed them as they are part of what is yet to come.

Features
Rimu - Improved Privacy Solution
NavCoin used to be a optional privacy coin. That means, that you could choose to send a transaction in private. NavCoin was criticized for the way it handles private payments because it relied on a few servers which didn't make it that decentralized. The technology was called "NavTech" and was a secondary blockchain that obscured the transaction and the amount that was sent. NavCoin Core is currently developing a new improved privacy solution that will make the private payment system completely trustless and districuted and runs at a protocol level. Alex of the NavCoin Core team has published a paper that describes this new privacy solution. It's called Zero Confidential Transactions and can be found here: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330366788_ZeroCT_Improving_Zerocoin_with_Confidential_Transactions_and_more. What I want to highlight is the collaboration between Alex as the proposer of the solution and the Veil team, a Bitcoin Core developer and Moneros main cryptographer as reviewers. When the best work together, it will be interesting to see what the outcome is!

Valence Plattform [8]
Valence is an applied Blockchain platform that can help businesses realise the tangible benefits of blockchain. You can think of Valence as a platform with which you can build Anonymous Distributed Applications (aDapps) with. But Valence is a different kind of platform that enables developers to create new types of blockchain applications. The problem with current (turing complete) dApp platforms are their complexity and rigid nature. Security holes in smart contracts and scaling issues happen frequently [9].
Valence provides transitional pathways that let businesses migrate only part of their activities to the blockchain without having to restructure their entire business model [9].
Valence will provide a spectrum of blockchain application solutions which sit along the decentralized spectrum, offering businesses simple ways to dip their toes into the blockchain at minimal risk or complexity [9].
Thanks to the proof of stake nature of the Valence blockchain, more of a node's resources can be used for processing and routing application data which makes the platform faster and scalable.
Valence aims to make building blockchain applications as accessible to the general public as WordPress or Squarespace has made building websites.
The developers NavCoin and Valence aim to make Valence extremely easy to work with:
A Valence application could be an open source mobile or web application that submits unencrypted or encrypted data directly to the blockchain. The only configuration necessary for the app developer would be setting up the data structure. Once they've done that they can start writing to the blockchain immediately.
The Valence blockchain interface is language agnostic, meaning developers are free to build applications in whichever language they're familiar with, which greatly reduces the barrier to entry.
As the platform progresses, Valence will introduce more and more smart contract templates in collaboration with the development community. These will be like plugins that users can simply select and configure for their application, without having to reinvent the wheel and risk contract errors or spend countless hours of research to program them.

NavShopper
The following information is taken from the latest weekly news: NavShopper is a new project which will allow people to spend NavCoin on a growing list of retailers and service providers. NavShopper sits between traditional retailers accepting fiat and NavCoin users and purchases products on behalf of the user by managing the crypt-fiat conversion, payment and shipping. This project will unlock many more ways for people to spend NAV on existing websites/marketplaces without requiring each site to individually accept cryptocurrencies. Some of the prototypes we are working on include crediting your Uber account, buying products on Amazon and donating to charities.

Kauri Wallet
The Kauri Wallet aims to be an open-source, multi-currency wallet which functions as a foundation for other features.

Kauri Enhanced
Enhancements to the Kauri Wallet will allow multiple accounts, pin numbers, recurring payments and more.

Kauri DAEx
The Kauri DAEx is a Decentralised Atomic Exchange that utilises the features of the Kauri Wallet and enables users to create safe peer to peer atomic exchanges for any currency supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavDelta NavDelta will be a payment gateway that allows users to spend NAV at any business which accepts currencies supported by the Kauri Wallet. NavMorph NavMorph is a fusion of Rimu and Kauri DAEx and will allow to privately send every cryptocurrency supported by the Kauri Wallet.

Outro

If you have made it this far: Congratulations! You have learned about how NAV evolved, what its current state is and what the future will bring. To sum all up: NavCoin has made incredible progress during last year and released many long awaited features despite the bear market. Many more exciting features are yet to come and it's going to be very interesting to see where we will stand on this day next year.

Giveaway

Unfortunately, the giveaway was not possible in the cryptocurrency-subreddit because of their rules, so I'm doing it here :-) As a surprise, in the next few hours I am going to send some NAV to everyone who wants to try out the awesome features you have read about above.
To get your NAVs, all you have to do is the following:
If you liked the experience, I'd be happy to hear back from you :)

References

[1] https://encrypt-s.com/company/
[2] https://navcoin.org/en/roadmap/
[3] https://navhub.org/get-involved/
[4] https://navhub.org/how-to-guide/
[5] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinDeveloperManifesto.pdf
[6] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinContentManifesto.pdf
[7] https://navhub.org/assets/NavCoinBrandGuidelines.pdf
[8] https://valenceplatform.org/
[9] https://valenceplatform.org/learn/business-on-the-blockchain-made-easy/
[10] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=679791.msg8320228#msg8320228
submitted by crypto_sIF to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]

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