The Convergence Brief: August

August 2017

The Convergence Brief: August

The Top Stories You Should Have Read Last Month

Summer went by fast! Before everyone gets stuck back in for a busy September, take some time out to reflect on our top Convergence stories of August 2017!

Blockchains

Plasma is announced!

Vitalik Buterin & Joseph Phon (Lightning Network) join forces to design Plasma, a new way to scale Ethereum Plasma is a proposed framework for the incentivised and enforced execution of smart contracts which is potentially scalable to billions of state updates per second. Plasma could enable the blockchain to be able to represent a significant amount of decentralized financial applications worldwide.

Although a lengthy draft paper, it is positive to see Vitalik and Joseph be proactive in understanding and attempting to overcome the limitations of an already incredibly powerful platform. As interest in building on top of Ethereum grows, this paper and others that follow it will become even more important; it is much harder to fix problems at scale Link

$100 Million — Coinbase Raises Biggest-Ever Round for Bitcoin Startup

Put in context, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger startups have raised a combined $1.9 billion to date, meaning Coinbase now accounts for 10% of all venture capital invested in blockchain startups.

The Coinbase raise is an important marker of two things: (a) the crypto space is finally maturing, and (b) equity sales of bitcoin and blockchain startups have not been written off quite yet. In fact, I would hope that blockchain startups think very carefully about the utility of their tokens and whether they need to complete a token sale. Startups like Balance taking strong strides in this regard and it is in the best interest of this community that the rest of us do tooLink

Tokens

$200 Million in 60 Minutes: Filecoin ICO Rockets to Record

Just over 30 minutes into the sale, the Filecoin team announced that it had garnered a total of $252 million in investments — a figure which includes the pre-sale raise.

Filecoin’s token sale represents the largest one to date, overtaking the likes of even Tezos and Bancor. Naturally, this has continued to fuel the ‘bubble argument’ (or ‘tulips’ as Twitter has been proclaiming as of late); either way, it will be interesting to see what happens when we (finally) have suitable valuation metrics to compare all ICOs against Link

Mobile Messenger Kik Raises $50 Million Ahead of $75 Million ICO

Ahead of $75 Million ICO Mobile messaging app Kik has raised $50 million from the private sale of its ethereum token Kin to institutional investors, including Blockchain Capital, Pantera Capital and Polychain Capital.

Kik is a notable case because they are using institutional investors for fundraising, presumably for due diligence, branding and cryptoeconomics but is a rare consumer application. We can expect this to fuel an even more high-profile raise with significant buy-in from retail investors Link

Convergence

Lampix Creating Blockchain-based Decentralized Database of Images for AR/AI

As the Lampix team continued to develop their platform, they discovered that there were many around them who were having the same issues — access to machine learning for AR and Artificial Intelligence (AI), which can be nearly insurmountable without significant resources.

Lampix is an excellent case of the convergence of emerging technologies; artificial intelligence, augmented reality and blockchain technology. The team has found a way to leverage the unique properties of the blockchain to decentralise participation while still building robust software so that one day its image bank may reach the size of Web 2.0 tech giants’, but is also intelligently incentivising its contributors to co-create the platform and profit from it Link

Internet to the Masses: Tokenizing Broadband Access

Ammbr is a blockchain-built wireless mesh network that will have its bandwidth traded throughout the day. Essentially, it is building software that will allow people to get paid for sharing their Wi-Fi access.

This project has ramifications for all markets; they could significantly boost internet access in emerging markets while also reducing waste and lowering the barrier to entry for some demographics in more mature markets. Ammbr enters the market alongside several other startups including Substratum and Filecoin to quite literally build a new internet Link

That’s your roundup for the last month of all things convergence, let me know what you thought of the selection and if there are any you thought should have made this list!