Panos

Founder of DigitalGen Financial Services. Focusing on financial and crypto education.

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The real estate industry is one of the oldest and most established industries in the world. It is also one of the most opaque and bureaucratic industries, which has made it slow to adapt to new technologies. However, that is changing with the advent of blockchain technology that is transforming this industry, making it easier to buy and sell property, as well as making it more democratic and accessible than ever before.

One of the biggest advantages of blockchain technology is that it enables peer-to-peer transactions without the need for a third party, such as a bank or real estate agent. This not only makes the process of buying and selling property much cheaper and faster, but also opens up real estate to a whole new pool of buyers and sellers who were previously excluded from the industry.

Another advantage is that it makes real estate ownership more secure and transparent. A blockchain is a distributed database that records all transactions that take place on it in a secure and tamper-proof way. This means that real estate ownership can be tracked and traced on the blockchain, making it much harder for fraudsters to sell properties that they do not own.

Blockchain technology has the potential to democratize real estate by making it more accessible to ordinary people. For example, there are now platforms that allow people to invest in real estate without having to go through the traditional channels of banks and real estate agents. This is opening up real estate investment to a whole new group of people and making it more inclusive than ever before.

Tokenization is another area where blockchain is transforming real estate. Tokenization is the process of creating a digital token that represents a real-world asset, such as a property. These tokens can then be bought and sold on exchanges 24/7, which makes investing in real estate much easier and more efficient.

In reality, there are several advantages to real estate tokenization. It's not just about providing liquidity to an industry that has been illiquid and difficult to access. It's also a way for smaller investors to participate in fractional ownership of real estate properties, allowing them to build a diverse portfolio with modest stakes in real estate assets. It's a means for modest investors to get their hands on high-value and high-return investments.

A notable company called ReTok was created for that reason — to provide a solution for people who are interested in investing in real estate or their first house. Investors can use ReTok tokens to assist a whole generation of people become homeowners and be compensated for it. Young families that can't afford houses are at risk of being renters for the rest of their lives, and that's not fair. People with a decent wage should be able to buy a house. ReTok’s goal is to provide an improved alternative to mortgages so that people may purchase their new home.

The real estate industry is changing, and blockchain with tokenization are at the forefront of this change. These new technologies are making real estate more accessible, democratic, and transparent than ever before. It is an exciting time to be involved in the real estate industry, and we are only just beginning to see the potential of what can be achieved.

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2021 has been a defining year for the crypto industry. From Web3 and NFTs to DAOs and Metaverse. In 2022, there are many more things to expect and see, new ideas to explore, new applications that we hadn’t imagined before, and much bigger adoption. As we are moving to a new digital era, crypto and blockchain will play a significant role in almost all industries of the world economy.

In the midst of a bull run you can make money with almost every crypto, even the ones that have nothing good to offer. But what matters most is the long term success and projects with solid fundamentals that are solving problems in innovative ways and can survive bear markets. In the short term, the market is mainly driven by speculation and hype, but there are also many projects that keep building and delivering good products and don’t have the attention they deserve, for different reasons. It’s time to have a look at some of them.

1) Avalanche (AVAX) — https://www.avalabs.org/

Avalanche is a Layer 0 ecosystem made up of 3 core blockchains and allows anyone to create their own tailor-made application specific blockchains & DApps, supporting multiple custom VMs such as EVM and WASM. Thanks to its revolutionary consensus protocol, It’s currently the fastest and most efficient smart contracts platform in the industry. The Avalanche (AVAX) token is the native token of the Avalanche platform and is used to secure the network through staking, transact peer-to-peer, pay for fees, and provide a basic unit of account between the multiple subnetworks created on the Avalanche platform. It is one of very few projects where enterprise use still provides utility for the token. Avalanche is basically creating the Internet of Finance, offering the best place to build DeFi applications and not only.

2) Blockzero Labs (XIO)  —  https://blockzerolabs.io/

If Y Combinator was a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), what would it look like? Blockzero Labs has the answer. A Web3 accelerator for the decentralized world. Blockzero Labs is crypto’s first community-driven token studio and accelerator with a mission to give Web3 builders and founders the community, connections, & capital they need to reach escape velocity. Started in 2019, Blockzero Labs has had innovation at its core and has been a pioneer in concepts such as liquidity mining, governance voting, flashstaking, and more. They have also accelerated projects such as UMA Protocol and Ideamarket. The governance token of Blockzero Labs is XIO. XIO token holders vote for which projects Blockzero creates or accelerates. The newly generated yield and native tokens from these projects are deposited into the Blockzero treasury where XIO holders can earn this basket of cryptocurrencies via staking or burning and vote for the next steps of the DAO.

3) Vulcan Forged (PYR)  —  http://vulcanforged.com/

Vulcan Forged is an established NFT game studio, marketplace and dApp incubator with 8+ games and 15,000+ users. They are also building their own blockchain, Elysium, which will be specifically built for gaming and metaverse projects. Vulcan Forged offers a full suite of tools for game development, and it’s on the verge of becoming the biggest decentralized gaming ecosystem. It combines gaming with blockchain, NFTs and metaverse. Their native token is PYR and has only 50 million maximum supply, making it one of the projects with the lowest supply across all Virtual Worlds projects. PYR empowers a growing list of 8+ games and all elements of the Vulcan Forged ecosystem.

4) Safe Haven (SHA)  —  https://safehaven.io/

Safe Haven is a decentralized B2B2C platform built on the VeChainThor blockchain and is building asset management and inheritance solutions on the blockchain. With their solution, they are tackling a growing problem that every crypto investor will face at some point. Safe Haven encrypts data and assets until predetermined conditions are met such as death, illness or other, and then grants access to these funds. Safe Haven is building various products and services integrated with its platform under the term “crypto asset management” and its flagship product is Inheriti Platform which is the first and only decentralized inheritance solution. The Safe Haven ecosystem is powered by their native token called SHA.

5) Trader Joe (JOE) — https://traderjoseph.com/

Trader Joe is a one-stop decentralized trading platform on the Avalanche network that offers leveraged trading by combining DEX services with DeFi loans. Since its launch, the platform has attracted over 4 billion in assets and is now the #1 DEX on Avalanche. Their governance token, JOE, has unique tokenomics and offers many rewards, passive income opportunities and access to early-stage projects.

6) LTO Network (LTO)  —  https://www.ltonetwork.com/

LTO Network is a Dutch GDPR-compliant hybrid Blockchain for securing, verifying and exchanging business-critical information. It is a trustless blockchain that focuses on creating connections and collaborations between businesses. With this hybrid approach the LTO Network has become the first blockchain that is data privacy and GDPR compliant. It is the easiest to integrate Blockchain technology in the market and enables its customers to upgrade and interconnect their business systems seamlessly for a fraction of the costs of its competitors. LTO Network’s increasing adoption rate in B2B coupled with very interesting deflationary token economics and a low market cap gives it great potential.

7) Quant (QNT)  —  https://www.quant.network/

Quant is a technology provider, delivering enterprise-grade interoperability for the secure exchange of information and digital assets across any network, platform or protocol, at scale. Quant developed Overledger, the world’s first blockchain operating system (OS) that not only inter-connects blockchains but also existing enterprise platforms, applications and networks to blockchain and facilitates the creation of internet scale multi-chain applications otherwise known as mApps. It provides enterprise and developers with what Quant calls “universal interoperability”. Quant’s Overledger isn’t a blockchain, but a blockchain Operating System that runs on top of blockchains to provide scalable Any-to-Any interoperability. It enables interoperability across many blockchains and legacy networks to be processed in parallel rather than being restricted to just 2 connected networks. The QNT token is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) as a utility token and has only 14.6 million maximum supply.

8) IoTeX (IOTX) — https://iotex.io/

IoTeX is building the first decentralized ecosystem where humans and machines can interact with guaranteed trust, free will, and privacy. With its own EVM-compatible blockchain, It has the potential to lead the blockchain-IoT sector. IOTX is the native coin that governs the underlying blockchain protocol while being used as the gas for the blockchain protocol. Burndrop (http://burndrop.iotex.io/) is a unique economical design that leads to deflation of IOTX while the number of devices orchestrated by IoTeX increases.

9) Colony (CLY)  —  https://colonylab.io/

Colony is a decentralized, community-centric VC fund for the Avalanche Ecosystem. It provides early-stage funding to Avalanche-built projects and liquidity to established DeFi protocols operating on Avalanche. It also purchases and stakes AVAX in the Avalanche network and operates an index fund comprised of selected Avalanche projects designed to offer diversified exposure similarly to an ETF. All these rewards and returns go back to the holders of the governance token, CLY.

10) Merit Circle (MC)  —  https://meritcircle.io/

Merit Circle is a DAO focused on growing the blockchain gaming economy. Its mission is to maximize value accrual across different games in the metaverse. It is creating a platform at the intersection of capital (investors), expertise (platform and managers) and players (gamers). The project aims to create a new era of gaming where users can make money by playing the games they love. MC is the governance token of the Merit Circle DAO and is also used as a play-to-earn index where each MC token represents a share of the DAO’s treasury. Through MC tokens, users also gain exposure to multiple gaming NFTs .

11) XRP — https://xrpl.org/

Αlthough XRP is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, there is a lot of misinformation about it and it is one of the most misunderstood projects. Created in 2012, XRP is a cryptocurrency that was mainly designed for payments. XRP is the native token of the XRP Ledger (XRPL), an open-source, permissionless and decentralized blockchain technology. XRP can settle transactions in 3 seconds and It was built to be a better Bitcoin — faster, cheaper and greener than any other crypto asset. It is also deflationary as every transaction fee is burned. XRP is used by a wide range of individuals, developers, companies and institutions, who ought to develop innovative value-adding solutions in a decentralized manner. The XRP Ledger has a built-in Decentralized Exchange (DEX) which has been operating since 2012 and makes it the first ever DEX. Apart from all these, NFTs, native smart contracts and sidechains will also be added on the XRPL this year. Finally, the unfair lawsuit that the SEC filed against Ripple, a company founded after XRP by some of XRP’s developers, is going to end soon with Ripple probably being the winner. This will be very positive for XRP, as it will gain regulatory clarity and will give the green light for bigger adoption and usage.

12) VerseX —  https://versex.io/

VerseX is building the first complete metaverse and NFT ecosystem on the XRP Ledger with the goal to offer a fully immersive experience for their users. They are targeting brands and businesses so they can utilize the VerseX features and provide goods and services through their virtual world. VerseX has a dual-token economy with XVR being the native and governance token that will be used for all purchases in-game and the marketplace, while XMEN gives access to the 3D NFT characters that will be used in their metaverse and provides special earning rights and extra abilities in-game.

13) Love Monster  —  https://mylovemonster.com/

Born on the XRP Ledger, Love Monsters is a limited series of 9999 handcrafted Monsters. A truly revolutionary vision, Love Monster NFT is “more than just a .jpeg” enabling collectors to own, play, earn and breed. Love Monster is developing a metaverse for the Love Monster NFT community. Centered around the Love Monsters, the game takes place in a metaverse called Monster Planet which will provide a play-to-earn environment for NFT and crypto collectors. NFT holders will be able to not only personalize their monsters and battle with other players but play a wide variety of open-world adventure games, as well as own plots of land which will generate yield daily.

Crypto and blockchain technology are changing the world and disrupting a lot of industries. This technology is changing the way we perceive money and value, the way we transact, and they allow us, for the first time in history, to actually own our money, assets and data. This technology allows us to become our own banks and institutions. Web3 is opening doors for millions of people to participate in a new wave of value creation with new business models that benefit creators. We should look for ways to integrate this technology in our daily lives and take advantage of it.

For more visit my personal website and follow me on social media: http://panosmekras.com/

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not financial advice. I hold all these crypto projects and not planning to liquidate any positions in the short-term.

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On October 31st 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper on the cryptography mailing list at metzdowd.com describing a digital currency, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. On January 3rd 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Satoshi mined the starting block of the chain. And the rest is history.

Litecoin was the second cryptocurrency that was launched in October 2011, and after that came XRP. The underlying technology of XRP, XRP Ledger (XRPL), was the second major blockchain system and consensus mechanism that was different from Proof of Work that Bitcoin and Litecoin used.

The XRPL was launched in June 2012 by three bitcoin developers who saw the potential problems of bitcoin and Proof of Work and wanted to build something that would not use Proof of Work and mining to validate transactions. The goal was to create a better bitcoin, with a more sustainable and advanced consensus mechanism. The XRPL uses the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) model as its consensus algorithm and it's called XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol.

Bitcoin's maximum supply is 21 million and XRP's maximum supply is 100 billion. The difference is that all XRP were created in the first day, all are in existence today and no more than the original 100 billion can be created. Until Bitcoin's supply reaches its maximum, they are created through the mining procedure, each block generates new bitcoins, which are distributed to the miners as rewards. That's how bitcoin's supply is increasing, while XRP works differently. There are no rewards, no more XRP can be minted and it is also deflationary, as every transaction cost is burned/destroyed, which slowly reduces its supply.

Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm uses the mining procedure to validate transactions. Bitcoin miners act as the network’s transaction validators and verify all the transactions before including them in a block and then adding the latter to the blockchain. By verifying transactions and adding new blocks to the blockchain, miners earn block rewards. This is how new bitcoins are created and are distributed to miners as an incentive to validate transactions and secure the network.

On the other hand, the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol relies on validator nodes, which are basically servers, to record and verify transactions without incentivizing any party. XRPL Validator nodes are nodes running as a validating server – meaning they are configured to participate in the consensus process for validating transactions and the governance of the network.

Validator nodes are different from miners, because they aren’t paid when they order and validate transactions. For consensus to be reached on the network, at least 80% of the validator nodes must agree. This means that there isn't a 51% attack on the XRP network like on Bitcoin network. Furthermore, on Bitcoin network whichever miner finds the blocks, they are unilaterally responsible for which transactions are approved and go into that block, while on the XRP network (XRP Ledger) the transactions and changes have to be approved by all the validator nodes (>80% for consensus) and not by a single node, like it happens with miners on Bitcoin. This means that the XRP network has a better, more robust and more decentralized structure than Bitcoin and Ethereum networks. But overall, both networks are decentralized, as they have no central authority and no single party can control their networks.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation in the crypto space, especially against XRP, and it's good and recommended for everyone to fact-check everything and do their own research. This article can help you clear up some of the XRP misconceptions: https://write.as/panos/why-xrp-is-the-most-misunderstood-cryptocurrency

On average, one bitcoin block is mined every 10 minutes, but a transaction can take much longer, especially if there is a congestion on the network and high usage. The transaction cost can also vary from few dollars to tens of dollars. On the other hand, the XRP Ledger settles transactions in 3 to 5 seconds with a transaction cost of less than a penny (0.0001 XRP on average), and it can process 1500+ transactions per second.

Here you can see the main differences:

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Another difference is that the XRPL has a built-in decentralized exchange (DEX), operating since 2012 and making it the first ever DEX. The XRPL has many great features and you can also issue tokens, IOUs, NFTs and use its smart contract features like escrow and checks.

Bitcoin was designed by Satoshi Nakamoto to be a P2P digital currency system. His/her/their vision was to use Bitcoin for P2P transactions and as an alternative payment system that had no central authority. But after some time, people started to realize that its consensus mechanism, Proof of Work, has many flaws, which lead to bitcoin becoming slow and expensive for what it was designed for. Furthermore, Proof of Work is not a sustainable system and consumes huge amounts of energy, which makes it non eco-friendly.

That's why the XRP creators built XRP and the XRP Ledger as a more advanced, scalable and sustainable system that would be closer to the real Satoshi's vision, regarding P2P transactions. The underlying technology of XRP uses a unique consensus algorithm, which makes it faster and cheaper to send transactions without having to rely on mining, thus making it more secure, eco-friendly and decentralized. In bitcoin, if someone gains over 51% of the mining power, then they can double spend and reverse transactions. Something that is not possible on the XRP Ledger, as it works differently, and over 80% of validators must agree for any change to occur. And there is no way to reverse transactions and double spend like you can do on bitcoin network. This is one of the most important problems of Bitcoin and Proof of Work that the XRP creators solved with the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol.

Today, many people see Bitcoin as a store of value and a hedge against inflation and not as an efficient system for P2P transactions anymore. Either way, Bitcoin was the first in the market, it started this revolution and it's the reason we are all here today. It opened the way for this technology to show what it can do and allowed for more experiments to be done and better technologies and decentralized consensus mechanisms to be created. There is no reason for tribalism and maximalism. There are countless use cases, markets and problems to be solved by this transformative technology, and each cryptocurrency does its own thing. Like Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, all are focusing on different things and use cases. There will not be only one winner. We are in a new internet era.

In the end, blockchain is a revolutionary technology and it is transforming the world. Cryptocurrencies are the evolution of money and finance, and for the people who are here for the technology and the vision of decentralization, must let hatred and tribalism aside and support each other.

Some useful links to learn how Bitcoin and XRP operate:

Bitcoin: 1. https://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf 2. https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Main_Page 3. https://bitcoin.org/en/how-it-works

XRP: 1. https://xrpl.org/intro-to-consensus.html 2. https://xrpl.org/xrp-ledger-overview.html 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo8ZScrXFZE&feature=emb_title 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK3nJ6HFGYY&t= 5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1aXZEVq_v8

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Ever since the first Bitcoin exchange, Bitcoin Market, launched in February 2010, exchanges have been in a strange love-hate relationship with crypto users. With the Mt. Gox meltdown in 2014, and the countless stories of how exchanges disappeared or went bankrupt as a result of hacks, platform glitches, exit scams or even founder deaths, served as reminders that money would never truly be safe in the hands of an intermediary or centralized party. As a result, decentralized exchanges or DEXs emerged as a viable alternative to centralized exchanges (CEXs).

With your typical centralized exchange, you deposit your money, either fiat (via bank transfer or credit/debit card) or cryptocurrencies. When you deposit crypto, you give up control of it. Not from a usability standpoint, as you can still trade it or withdraw it, but from a technical standpoint – you cannot spend it on the blockchain. You don’t own the private keys to the funds, which means that when you withdraw, you ask the exchange to sign a transaction on your behalf. When you’re trading, transactions don’t occur on-chain – instead, the exchange allocates balances to users in its own database.

A decentralized exchange changes the narrative of how people buy and sell crypto to each other. Instead of proprietary software with closed-source codes that CEXs run, DEXs usually use smart contracts to allow orders to be settled automatically and directly from blockchain wallets. In simple words, Decentralized exchanges are autonomous decentralized applications (DApps) that allow cryptocurrency buyers or sellers to trade without having to give up control over their funds to any intermediary or custodian. With no intermediary or counterparty to hold on to any funds, users retain sole ownership of their private keys and, thus, their assets. This does come at the cost of independence: you need to trust the exchange with your money. As a result, you expose yourself to some counterparty risk.

At the heart of the emergence of DEXs in the crypto narrative was a simple but all-important fact in their makeup: non-custodial wallets and fund management. This continues to be the most obvious difference today between DEXs and CEXs.

The XRP Ledger (XRPL) was the first DEX in the history, which was built in 2012 and still operates without issues. It uses on-chain order books and it is a fully-functional built-in (native) exchange where users can trade XRP, XRPL tokens or issued currencies with each other. Unfrotunately, due to the non-stop misinformation and lack of reporting by the crypto media, the majority still does not know that the XRPL has a DEX, among other great features. Users can interact with the XRPL DEX through different interfaces such as XUMM app, xrptoolkit.com , sologenic.org and Gatehub.net .

Some of the most popular DEX platforms right now are Uniswap, SushiSwap, 1inch, Binance DEX, 0x, Kyber Network.

Pros and cons of DEXs

Pros

1. Privacy – No KYC

KYC/AML (Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering) compliance is the norm for many exchanges. For regulatory reasons, individuals must often submit identity documentation and proof of address.

This is a privacy concern for some and an accessibility concern for others. What if you don’t have valid documents on hand? What if the information is somehow leaked? Since DEXs are permissionless, no one checks your identity. All you need is a cryptocurrency wallet.

2. Sovereignty

Sovereignty, or control over one’s funds, can be exercised freely in DEXs. Users will have full custody of their funds and will be able to use them as they please. Concerns like exchanges freezing their assets or blocking withdrawals rarely happen in DEXs. It needs to be noted that not all decentralized exchanges are created equal, and in practice they range from quasi-decentralized to fully decentralized.

3. No counterparty risk

The primary appeal of decentralized cryptocurrency exchanges is that they don’t hold customers’ funds. As such, even catastrophic breaches like the 2014 Mt. Gox hack won’t put users’ funds at risk or expose any sensitive personal information.

4. Financial Inclusiveness

Many centralized exchanges restrict people from certain jurisdictions from using their services. This is not an issue for DEXs because anyone from anywhere in the world can utilize them. This creates a much more inclusive and fair ecosystem.

5. Unlisted tokens

Tokens that aren’t listed on centralized exchanges can still be traded freely on DEXs, provided there’s supply and demand.

Cons of DEXs

1. Low Liquidity

Liquidity is achieved by centralized exchanges through enormous capital. DEXs often have a problem on this end because, unlike centralized exchanges, their liquidity heavily relies on the number of users actively trading on the platform. They also often do not have access to any fund which they can move around to facilitate trades.

Fortunately, the decentralized finance (DeFi) space has come up with a solution to this through liquidity pools that DEXs can tap.

2. No fiat on/off ramps

Unlike centralized exchanges where you can deposit money directly through your card or bank account, there is no such option on DEXs. You need to necessarily use a CEX or a service that will deposit your money directly to your wallet, but they usually have high fees. Hopefully this will change in the future.

3. Your Responsibility

Assuming that DEXs and DeFi are free of risks and issues, it’s still not responsible for your mistakes. DeFi transfers responsibility from intermediaries to users. If you lose your private keys or funds by mistake no one will be responsible, hence, creating some tools to prevent human errors and mistakes might be needed in the DeFi space. With freedom comes a lot of responsibility, and many users are not used to having to take care of themselves in this way, which can lead to them losing funds or being scammed.

In conclusion, many decentralized exchanges have emerged over the years, each iterating on previous attempts to streamline the user experience and build more powerful trading venues. Ultimately, the idea seems heavily aligned with the ethos of self-sovereignty: as with cryptocurrencies, users don’t need to trust a third party. With the rise of DeFi, Ethereum-based DEXs have seen a massive uptick in usage. If the momentum continues, we’ll likely witness increased innovation in the technology across the entire industry. Both centralized and decentralized crypto ecosystems work hand in hand. However, the paradigm is gradually shifting in favour of DEXs, with more people realizing the value of decentralization.

If you want to have access to exclusive financial and crypto content, video tutorials and more, join my patreon: https://www.patreon.com/panosmek

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Over the years, XRP has been criticized and accused of being “centralized” and a “bankers' coin”, among other things. But what is the actual truth and why do many people avoid doing their own research?

Let's begin with the history of XRP. In 2011, three bitcoin developers, David Schwartz, Jed McCaleb and Arthur Britto, began developing a blockchain technology that would not use Proof of Work and mining to validate transactions and it would not have its limitations. They called this technology XRP Ledger (XRPL). The goal was to create a better bitcoin, with a more sustainable and advanced consensus algorithm, to send value efficiently. And they did it. They built the XRPL based on the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) consensus algorithm. The XRPL settles transactions in 3 seconds with a transaction cost of less than a penny (0.0001 XRP on average), can process 1500+ transactions per second and is eco-friendly. XRP is also deflationary, as every transaction fee is burned/destroyed, which slowly reduces its supply.

On June 2nd 2012, they created 100 billion XRP, with no way to create more, and later they decided to start a company (now called Ripple) to work with the community and also pursue its own mission and business model. It was still the early days, so they were trying to figure out what worked best. Ultimately, they decided to focus on cross-border payments and improving the banking infrastructure, as the banking system was running on an old, broken and corrupted system (SWIFT). They wanted to revolutionize the financial system and solve a multi-trillion dollar problem. You can read the whole history here: https://xrpl.org/history.html

Today, Ripple uses XRP and the XRP Ledger for cross-border payments and liquidity management and, through it, it offers instant payments and settlement to financial institutions. There are over 20 financial instutions, at the moment, that are using XRP on daily basis though Ripple's On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) solution. You can read more about it here: https://ripple.com/ripplenet/on-demand-liquidity/

A common misconception is that Ripple products and RippleNet do not use XRP, but that's wrong. RippleNet is Ripple's payments network and it's a suite of products/services. Right now, RippleNet consists of xCurrent, the messaging system that all banks are required to have for the exchange of information, and it can compared to SWIFT, On-Demand Liquidity (ODL), which uses XRP as a bridge currency for instant settlement and to avoid pre-funded liquidity, and finally Line Of Credit, which also uses XRP and allows financial institutions to borrow XRP and source capital on demand to initiate cross-border payments and increase their working capital. If you want to understand exactly how XRP is used by Ripple and why it's revolutionizing the financial and banking system, read this: https://write.as/panosmek/xrp-disrupting-swift-gpi-and-correspondent-banking

And if you read that, you can understand that XRP not only isn't a “bankers' coin”, it's actually trying to go against the corrupted and broken financial system. So, Ripple is actually going against the big banks that own SWIFT and the system that many people, and especially bitcoin maximalists, hate so much. But Ripple is doing that from within the system and by trying to work with regulators and educate them, because that's the only way. If the XRP critics were open-minded and saw things how they really are, they would actually support Ripple and XRP in the next minute. In the early days, Bitcoiners tried to do that by going against the system and promoting an anarchist ideology, trying to block and exclude everything else around it and stay out of it, but that of course didn't and can't work. This can't be achieved with this way and crypto can't stay out and build their own bubble. Connecting this technology with the system is inevitable and it is already happening. We must just try to improve it and make it work for the majority. Blockchain and crypto can do that. Ripple is already doing that by using the transformative blockchain technology of XRP and changing millions of lives and improving the outdated financial and payments infrastructure.

XRP vs Ripple vs XRP Ledger vs RippleNet

Ripple is a company building payments solutions and software. RippleNet is their own payments network and system that financial institutions use. It's like SWIFT has its own system and network of financial institutions. RippleNet consists of many products/services, with the main ones being xCurrent and On-Demand Liquidity. The XRP Ledger is the underlying blockchain technology of XRP. So, do not confuse these 4 different things.

XRP is the native cryptocurrency of the XRP Ledger (XRPL) — an open-source, permissionless and decentralized blockchain technology. Ripple might be an important party in the XRP ecosystem, as everything began from them, but they are not alone. Right now, XRP and its technology are being leveraged by an increasing number of other companies and developers. There are already tens of companies and developers that have built and are building projects on top of XRP's blockchain technology and are using XRP for many different use cases. Some of the use cases that XRP is used right now are micropayments for content/web monetization (Coil), music (Audiotarky, raised in space), tokenization of financial assets (Sologenic), gaming (Forte) , smart contracts – DeFi (Flare Network, Flare Finance, XRPL Labs), security infrustructure & data analytics (XRP Forensics/xrplorer, xrpscan), Wallets/payments/apps (XRPL Labs, Towo Labs, Gatehub, Trustline) and many more. In fact, there are far more projects/apps for individuals and retail investors than there are for institutions and banks.

Centralized or Decentralized?

One of the biggest misconceptions is that XRP is centralized and that Ripple controls most of the nodes or that the UNL leads to centralization. But let's look at the facts. XRP's blockchain, XRP Ledger, uses a consensus protocol that relies on validator nodes to record and verify transactions without incentivizing any party. The XRP Ledger uses a form of the Federated Byzantine Agreement (FBA) consensus algorithm. Validators are nodes running as a validating server – meaning they are configured to participate in the consensus process for validating transactions and the governance of the network. Validators are different from miners in Proof of Work that bitcoin uses, because they aren’t paid when they order and validate transactions. On the XRP Ledger there are two kinds of nodes – 1. Validators, which were explained above, and 2. Stock nodes, which protect the validators, store the ledger's history and allow API calls. Today, there are over 170 validators and 900 nodes that operate at locations across the globe and are run by a broad range of individuals, universities, institutions and exchanges. For consensus to be reached on the network, at least 80% of the validators must agree. Ripple runs only 6 validators and controls less than 4% of all validators on the network, which gives them no power whatsoever on the XRP Ledger. Furthermore, on Bitcoin network whichever miner finds the blocks, they are unilaterally responsible for which transactions are approved and go into that block, while on the XRP network (XRP Ledger) the transactions and changes have to be approved by all the validator nodes (>80% for consensus) and not by a single node like it happens with miners on Bitcoin. This means that the XRP network is highly decentralized and it has a better, more robust and more decentralized structure than Bitcoin and Ethereum.

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Anybody can run a validator or stock node and set it up in minutes. You can see all the information about the nodes here: https://livenet.xrpl.org/network

As for the Unique Node List (UNL) on the XRP Ledger, it's simply a list of recommended validators. Users can select the specific validators for their own UNL or they can rely on recommended UNLs that have been compiled by other parties. The network has a number of recommended UNLs, including one list Ripple recommends, and users can choose whichever one they prefer or create their own.

And what about Ripple owning ~50% of the supply? Doesn't that make XRP centralized? No, because the XRPL does not use Proof of Stake consensus algorithm, so the control of the supply does not play any role in the de-centralization of the network. Ripple has been very transparent and everything is public. They have locked the XRP on escrow and a small part is unlocked every month, which they distribute carefully to expand the XRP ecosystem, fund XRPL projects, and sell OTC to institutions and provide extra liquidity for RippleNet. More specifically, 1b XRP is unlocked every month and Ripple has been using 100m to 200m on average, while returning the rest back to escrow.

In simple words, XRP can do what Bitcoiners wanted Bitcoin to do and what was designed for by Satoshi, but in a much more efficient way. With the XRPL you can be your own bank today, and use all its amazing features like escrow and checks or use its built-in Decentralized Exchange. Yes, you read that right, the XRPL has a DEX and the majoriy doesn't know that. In fact, XRPL's DEX was the first ever decentralized exchange and it is operating flawlessly since 2012 that the XRPL launched. Also XRPL was the first blockchain to allow for the tokenization of other assets (such as BTC, ETH, USD and more).

Which means, XRP is not just for banks or institutions, it's not only about cross-border payments or Ripple. It's an open-source, independent and permissionless technology. Anybody can use it however they like and anyone can build anything on top of it.

Difference between Bitcoin and XRP

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Bitcoin was designed to be a P2P digital currency system. The vision of Satoshi Nakamoto was to use Bitcoin for P2P transactions and as an alternative payment system that had no central authority. It uses Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm, which uses the mining procedure to validate transactions. This consensus mechanism has many drawbacks, which lead to bitcoin becoming slow and expensive for what it was designed for. Furthermore, PoW is not a sustainable system and consumes huge amounts of energy, which is not eco-friendly. That's why the XRP creators built XRP and the XRP Ledger as a more advanced, scalable and sustainable system that would be closer to the real Satoshi's vision. The underlying technology of XRP, XRP Ledger, uses a unique consensus algorithm (mentioned above), which makes it faster and cheaper to send transactions without having to rely on mining, thus making it more secure, eco-friendly and decentralized. In bitcoin, if someone gains over 51% of the mining power, then they can double spend and reverse transactions. Something that is not possible on the XRPL, as it works differently, and over 80% of validators must agree for any change to occur, and still there is no way to reverse transactions and double spend like you can do on bitcoin network. This is one of the most important problems of Bitcoin and PoW that the XRP creators solved with the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol.

Why is there so much misinformation, is it done on purpose?

Unfortunately, there is too much misinformation being spread, either by ignorance or on purpose. The majority doesn't want to devote time and do their own research, so they repeat what they hear and see from others. There is a lot of tribalism and maximalism in the crypto space and many people treat crypto like a religion. This is mainly seen in bitcoin and the known bitcoin maximalists that believe bitcoin is the only one and all the others are shitcoins. A surprising and tragic fact is that many bitcoiners started paying other people in 2013 (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=212730.0) to spread misinformation and FUD against Ripple and XRP, which has continued and created a cycle over the years. Maximalists feel threatened by the other cryptocurrencies, especially when they are better and more advanced. So repeating false information is a way to prevent new people and beginners from investing in other cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin or whatever each group accepts. That's why doing your own research and understanding how the technology works, is very important.

Bitcoin started this revolution and it's the reason we are all here today. It opened the way for this technology to show what it can do and allowed for more experiments to be done and better technologies to be created. There is no reason for tribalism and maximalism. There are countless use cases, markets and problems to be solved and each cryptocurrency does its own thing. Like Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, all are focusing on different things and use cases. There will not be only one winner. We are in a new internet era.

In the end, blockchain is a revolutionary technology and it is transforming the world. Cryptocurrencies are the evolution of money and finance, and for the people who are here for the technology and the vision of decentralization, must let hatred and tribalism aside and support each other.

Do your own research and learn about the transformative technology of XRP: http://xrpl.org/

Some useful links on how the XRP Ledger operates: 1. https://xrpl.org/intro-to-consensus.html 2. https://xrpl.org/xrp-ledger-overview.html 3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo8ZScrXFZE 4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1aXZEVq_v8

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Many people have been constantly asking me “what to do to prepare for a bear market”? And here I am to give my answer from a long-term investor and holder perspective, and as someone who first of all supports the vision of crypto and believes in the technology. I can't speak as a trader or short-term investor, because I am not any of these and I am not planning to become one. If you are a trader or you are trying to trade between market cycles and time the market, then this post is not for you. But if you are a long term investor, focusing on the long-term success of solid crypto projects and building wealth, and you want to prepare for the next bear cycle in the best way possible, then this is for you.

You must first understand that each individual is different, has different risk tolerance and goals, but this should apply to most long-term investors that care about building wealth, passive income streams and big profits over the long run.

Foundational technology breakthroughs carry both great opportunity and great uncertainty, the two key ingredients in the recipe for cycles. Ever since Bitcoin started trading about 11 years ago, people have learned just how volatile the crypto market can be. Over the years, bull and bear trends have constantly replaced each other, with no way of predicting them or preventing them. Even the smallest detail has been enough to change the situation completely. The sentiment of the market can change quickly, from holding, “going to the moon” and “this is a revolutionary technology” to “there is no hope for this market anymore”, “the crypto market is a scam”, “nobody cares about the technology, I just want my money back and exit” and endless panicking. We saw that in 2018. Even the strongest hands and most disciplined investors doubted themselves.

Let's be clear: Market crashes and bear markets are just a part of investing. Cycles are neither good nor bad, they are simply natural. Peak euphoria provides the opportunity for the world to dream about the future. Rock-bottom despair forces practicality and clarity. When things are good, they're never as good as they seem and when things are bad, they're never as bad as they seem. It's part of the game and you can do nothing to prevent it, but you can do things to prepare.

First of all and most importantly, you need to prepare yourself psychologically and understand that this is normal, it happens in every market and there are no reasons to feel overwhelmed by your emotions. Seeing your account in the red day after day for months can take a tremendous mental and emotional toll. You will likely feel the entire spectrum of negative emotions, from anger to sadness to embarrassment to shame. There’s nothing wrong with feeling these emotions. BUT, what you want to avoid is making trades based on these emotions. Investing should be a cold, calculated process based on logic, reason and fundamentals, not an emotional Band-Aid to make you feel better after a bad day in the market.

While it’s impossible to predict the future, past cycles give us some sense of what to be ready for. They can help us imagine the potential aftermath of after the wave of euphoria. And they serve as a reminder that bouts of uncertainty and volatility are to be expected given the scale of the opportunity for crypto, a technology that could transform not just money, but the financial system and basically the whole world.

Is this time different? Yes and no. Yes, because the market is now more mature, there is more serious adoption, mainly institutional adoption, there are more serious projects, more utility, usage and problem solving. Future cycles will most probably look different than past cycles. We may not even be in another cycle. We could keep growing as a market for the next 1-2 years at least. But markets do tend to go through cycles, with key elements that generally repeat themselves. To prepare for future scenarios, it’s worth understanding the elements of past cycles:

  1. They are highly emotional. People quickly gain or lose large sums of money and have a hard time handling either, completely rationally. Compounding this effect, periods of “hype” have historically been short, while “normal/down” periods have been much longer.

  2. They attract massive public attention. The mainstream media starts sharing about crypto . Family members ask you to explain what's going on. Friends press for investment advice. There is euphoria everywhere.

  3. They strengthen the ecosystem. Crypto have exited every cycle stronger than it entered. This is true across all key metrics: entrepreneurial and developer activity, academic research, infrastructural maturity, corporate adoption, public awareness and finally prices. Zooming out, cycles can be reframed as volatile periods around a relatively consistent adoption curve.

  4. They wash out weak companies and projects. While in a bull market, everything seems like a success, poor fundamentals and flawed strategies are ruthlessly exposed in the bear markets. Many fail to survive. Those who do have the advantage of having built while others perished, typically thrive in the next cycles.

So... what to do?

When it comes to good projects with good fundaments, do... nothing! I have talked countless times about this. Best ever long term investment strategy is to just hold and keep accumulating and DCA. Market crashed? Either do nothing and hold or buy more. Most of the times it pays to stay calm and do nothing. Fluctuations are natural and If you make good investments, manage them well and stick with the long-term mindset, you will do better than the majority who will panic or try to trade between the cycles and catch the tops and bottoms. Market crashes are the best opportunity ever to invest and accumulate your favourite projects.

Alternative? When you see parabolic moves, you can simply cash out a portion of your crypto, like 10-20% and just hold on stablecoins, and if the market drops, you can re-enter. But still it's risky and if you are not experienced and you haven't learned how to control your emotions and leave them completely out of investing, then there is a big chance that you will lose money. So, you choose.

Now for short term investments and gamble coins, of course you must have set some exit points, so if you see parabolic moves and you are in good profit, do not hesitate. Sell and either put them directly on the good projects, or a wait for a dip and then buy the good projects.

Generally, you need to be prepared more psychologically and learn how to be disciplined, have a good investor mindset and focus on the long term and the big picture. It doesn't matter what happens in the short term and if the market crashes or if we enter a bear market. In 5-10 years the market will be exponentially higher. Not to mention that you can simply hold and keep earning passive income and accumulate more and more, either it's a bear or bull cycle. In the DeFi world, there are endless opportunities to earn both passive and active income. It's all about generational wealth. Be disciplined, have a good plan and focus on the big picture. Cryptocurrencies are much more than a simple investment, so do not treat them like that. They are a whole new economy and financial world with countless use cases, and they provide financial and technological freedom. You can also use the technology to benefit as an individual in many ways. Crypto and blockchain are the evolution of money and finance, they are here to stay and they are already changing the world. If the technology succeeds, you will make money as well. You are an early adopter and investor in the biggest technological breakthrough of the century. Enjoy the journey.

If you want to have access to exclusive financial and crypto content, crypto analyses, project reviews and more, join my patreon: https://www.patreon.com/panosmek

There is no doubt that blockchain technology is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, and most important technological innovations of the century. It is already disrupting and revolutionizing many sectors, mainly the financial sector, and it's now here to revolutionize gaming as well. As more people become familiar with blockchain, they are embracing the new technology and begin to leverage its benefits. In the gaming industry, the decentralized, steady and secure properties of blockchain can make it a popular tool for developers to build new games or in-game advancements, and improve the user experience through ownership, globalization and more.

Gaming is a global multi-billion dollar industry, with professional players from all over the world coming together through digital platforms. Transferring or buying digital assets across the world, however, has been more difficult, with processes taking multiple days and putting the brakes on games between players in different countries. Blockchain can revolutionize the gaming world by creating opportunities for both players and developers.

And here comes Vulcan Forged. Although, there are several crypto projects focusing on blockchain gaming right now, Vulcan Forged brings something unique that nobody else has. This project exists for about a year and in contrary with all the other projects, they decided to first build and prove themselves, and then create a token and push further their ecosystem.

Vulcan Forged is already an established NFT game studio, marketplace and dApp incubator with 10+ games, 12,000+ users and is in top 5 NFT marketplaces by volume (over $15 million). In simple words, it's a blockchain gaming platform with the goal to redefine the $165 billion online gaming industry by creating a decentralized gaming ecosystem. The Vulcan Forged ecosystem offers a full suite of tools for game and application development, with an NFT marketplace and arena to host gaming tournaments and other virtual events. Vulcan Forged has an enormous community of gamers, developers and streamers. It's a complete gaming ecosystem.

Vulcan Forged enables players to truly own in-game assets through NFTs. The primary owned assets for users in the game are Land, Vulcanites, Gods, and Items. Different assets give them different advantages, and these can be bought on the market, traded with other users, or foraged.

Some of the popular games currently on Vulcan Forged include Berserk, Geocats, Rekt City and VulcanVerse. VulcanVerse, which is the flagship game of Vulcan Forged, is the first 3D MMORP to offer actual land parcel ownership. It is an AAA fantasy decentralized universe that bridges the gap between normal blockchain sandbox games to MMO (massively multiplayer online) game functionality. It offers complex building tools as well as fight, forage and spy mechanics embedded into the game world.

Every decentralized ecosystem needs a token to empower it. Vulcan has $PYR, the native ERC-20 token for the Vulcan Forged ecosystem. In January 2021, Vulcan Forged and Matic announced a cross-chain partnership to launch their ecosystem-wide token PYR.

The total supply of the token is 50 million with 20 million in circulation. From the rest 30 million, 10 million are allocated to the reward pool (play-to-earn and staking – 5m each) over a period of 24 months, 10 million for the development and expansion of the ecosytem and finally 10 million to the core team. With only 50 million total supply, this is probably the lowest supply token across all Virtual Worlds projects. PYR empowers a growing list of 10+ games and all elements of the Vulcan Forged ecosystem.

The token will be used in fee settlement, staking, DeFi game launchpads, play-to-earn benefits, gaming platform pools and discounted marketplace usage. PYR is a deflationary token, where on every PYR transaction, 10% will be sent to reward pools, and 5% used to buy-back and lock supply. PYR tokens can be used as a lock up token to stake and earn within the gaming ecosystem.

Finally, Vulcan partnered with Safe Haven few months ago and the ecosystem supports Safe Haven's inheritance platform (Inheriti), which means that Vulcan's NFTs are inheritable.

In conclusion, Vulcan Forged is on the verge of becoming the largest NFT and decentralized gaming ecosystem. The team is constantly delivering new updates and working towards revolutionizing the gaming industry. The fact that the PYR token has actual utility and many use cases in the whole ecosystem, makes it appeal to buy and hold, and the rich role will create an excellent, seamless environment for the games.

Learn more about Vulcan Forged:

https://vulcanforgedco.medium.com/pyr-101-the-ultimate-play-to-earn-economy-aa87351fe281

https://vulcanforgedco.medium.com/vulcanverse-stores-sell-your-own-assets-b91fce81e842

https://vulcanforgedco.medium.com/vulcan-forged-to-launch-economy-on-matic-network-with-pyr-d6a5b59bd2c3

https://www.one37pm.com/nft/gaming/vulcanverse-nft-gaming-mmorpg

For the past few months, there has been an increasing adoption and interest in cryptocurrencies and the industry as a whole. As we are moving to a new digital era and economy, crypto and blockchain will play a big role. In the midst of a bull run you can make money with almost every crypto, even scams. But what matters most is the long term success of a project and projects with good fundamentals. In the short term, the market is mainly driven by hype and speculation, but there are also many projects that are undervalued and don't have the attention they should have, for different reasons. It's time to have a look at some of them, starting from the ones with the lowest market cap.

1. Blockzero Labs (XIO) - https://blockzerolabs.io/

Market cap: $8 million

Supply: 25,179,182 / 100,000,000

Blockzero Labs is crypto’s first community-driven token studio and accelerator and it's basically a DAO. Blockzero is here to bring the next round of innovations and push DeFi one step further. Its mission is to build, launch, and scale the next generation of Web3 startups. The vision for Blockzero is to become the Y Combinator of the decentralized world.

They also build DeFi projects with the community, which is its strongest part and they are called Citizens. There are over 7,000 community members (Citizens) at the moment. One of the main benefits of becoming a Citizen is that you can participate in the Blockzero Mental Mining Program, a program that rewards Citizens for their prompt, consistent, and quality engagement across all social platforms. You can earn up to $1500 per month in XIO through this program. Citizens are rewarded in XIO tokens, the primary (ERC-20) token of Blockzero Labs. XIO is the native token of Blockzero that fuels the entire ecosystem. There are three utilities for the XIO token – Governance, Rewards and Staking. XIO holders earn all the tokens that Blockzero develops or join the Accelerator. Also soon, for the first time in the crypto history, XIO holders will be able to stake XIO and simultaneously earn multiple tokens at once, from all the projects that are in the Vortex (Blockzero DAO).

Finally, because Blockzero Labs is community-driven, all tokens developed by the token studio are 100% distributed directly to XIO holders. So, anyone who holds XIO tokens, will receive all future tokens that Blockzero Labs develops. Blockzero has also built Flashstake, the world's first flashstaking protocol and currently is developing AquaFi, a universal liquidity minig protocol.

In conclusion, this is a project/concept that every single crypto enthusiast should support and be excited about. This is one of the best concepts I have seen in the 5 years that I am in the crypto space. If I could describe Blockzero Labs with one phrase, I would say true innovation. Learn more about Blockzero here: https://blockzerolabs.io/blockzero-explained/

2. Flashstake (FLASH) - https://flashstake.io/

Market cap: $11 million

Supply: 15,713,234 / 22,965,227

You may have heard the term “money now is worth more than money later”. The time value of money means your fiat money today is worth more than your money tomorrow, because of inflation. Inflation increases prices over time and decreases your purchasing power. But what if that could change and you could be able to bring money from the future?

For the first time ever, this concept becomes a reality with Flashstake.io. Developed by Blockzero Labs, Flashstake is a permissionless protocol allowing everyone to stake FLASH tokens and earn instant upfront yield. It enables a new DeFi framework that wasn’t possible until now: Flashstaking. Instead of staking and earning small amounts of interest over long periods of time, Flashstake allows you to earn instant upfront yield on your crypto. $FLASH is the primary flashstaking token that gives the safest, fastest, and easiest transition for the protocol. If, for example, someone stakes for a year those FLASH tokens are locked up for a year. The result could be limited supply and price surge. There’s also incentivised token burning for early unstakes.

Overall, this is one of the most exciting and innovative projects I have seen. It’s the first of its kind, a revolutionary platform built by a visionary team. Flashstake solves the disincentives of locking capital for long periods of time by solidifying the market value of opportunity cost in the present. Read my article about Flashstake here: https://coil.com/p/Panosmek/Flashstake-The-Time-Travel-of-Money/_mfUzwgGL

3. Vulcan Forged (PYR) - http://vulcanforged.com/

Market cap: $31 million

Supply: 20,000,000/50,000,000

Vulcan Forged is already an established NFT game studio, marketplace and dApp incubator with 10 games, 12,000+ users and is in top 5 NFT marketplaces by volume (over $13 million). The Vulcan Forged ecosystem offers a full suite of tools for game and application development, with an NFT marketplace and arena to host gaming tournaments and other virtual events. Some of the popular games currently on Vulcan Forged include Berserk, Geocats, Rekt City and VulcanVerse. VulcanVerse, which is the flagship game of Vulcan Forged, is the first 3D MMORP to offer actual land parcel ownership.

Every decentralized ecosystem needs a token to empower it. Vulcan has $PYR, the native ERC-20 token for the Vulcan Forged ecosystem. In January 2021, Vulcan Forged and Matic announced a cross-chain partnership to launch their ecosystem-wide token PYR. With only 50 million total supply, this is probably the lowest supply token across all Virtual Worlds projects. PYR empowers a growing list of 10+ games and all elements of the Vulcan Forged ecosystem.

The token will be used in fee settlement, staking, DeFi game launchpads, play-to-earn benefits, gaming platform pools and discounted marketplace usage. PYR is a deflationary token, where on every PYR transaction, 10% will be sent to reward pools, and 5% used to buy-back and lock supply. PYR tokens can be used as a lock up token to stake and earn within the gaming ecosystem.

All in all, Vulcan Forged is on the verge of becoming the largest NFT and decentralized gaming ecosystem. The team is constantly delivering new updates and working towards revolutionizing the gaming industry. The fact that the PYR token has actual utility and many use cases in the whole ecosystem, makes it appeal to buy and hold, and the rich role will create an excellent, seamless environment for the games.

4. Plasma Finance (PPAY) - https://plasma.finance/

Market cap: $48 million

Supply: 154,432,135 / 1,000,000,000

Plasma Finance is a DeFi platform and dashboard that aggregates all of the most popular DeFi applications in one place. With the goal of simplifying the DeFi market for its users and eliminating some aspects regarding DeFi barriers to entry, Plasma Finance is working to become a cornerstone of the DeFi economy. The Plasma Finance platform acts as a bridge between DeFi markets and users and provides them a facility to use fiat on- and off-ramp services across the world. Users can send, exchange, request payments, deposit, and withdraw digital assets using their bank accounts or credit cards.

PlasmaPay (PPAY) is the native token of the Plasma Finance ecosystem. PPAY token holders can participate in the governance voting system, stake their tokens and earn rewards, and much more. The PPAY is a community utility token and unlocks the full potential of the Plasma ecosystem.

In conclusion, Plasma Finance is an innovative and powerful project. The platform is supported by many top protocols. It offers many attractive features to all user groups, ranging from a simple and easy-to-use dashboard for the new users to the advanced financial tools to control complex crypto portfolios for the experienced investor.

5. Zap Protocol (ZAP) - http://zap.org/

Market cap: $52 million

Supply: 247,619,465 / 520,000,000

Zap Protocol is the first decentralized data marketplace & oracle platform. it's a whole infrastructure where you can create tokens & oracles in a couple of minutes. Zap platform utilizes bonding curve mechanics, as the pricing mechanism for providers (Oracles/Services). Oracles use bonding curve to set price structure for each of your data feed, this bonding curve will not only serve as pricing model to encourage early users; ensure price stability( in the case of flat bonding curve); but also as a way users can speculate your data feeds. In simple words, it's like Ethereum, Chainlink and Uniswap combined, allowing for the tokenization of anything, including the oracles themselves, while offering decentralized, liquid markets.

All of these exciting features are facilitated by the ZAP token, which is used for monetizing feeds as well as access to the platform’s data. In order to launch or interact with a specific oracle on the decentralized Zap marketplace, you must first bond (lock) ZAP tokens.

Recently, the team launched a new updated UI with new features and with many partnerships in the pipeline, making it easier, not only for developers, but also for the average guy to use the platform. Read my article about Zap Protocol here: https://coil.com/p/Panosmek/ZAP-Revolutionizing-Oracles-and-Decentralized-Finance/mfI1Zz3w6

6. Safe Haven (SHA) - https://safehaven.io/

Market cap: $65 million

Supply: 4,700,000,000 / 8,500,000,000

Safe Haven is a decentralized B2B2C platform built on the VeChainThor blockchain and is building asset management and inheritance solutions on the blockchain. Safe Haven Tech has developed and patented the Share Distribution (SD) Protocol, which allows an initiator to encrypt and distribute digital asset shares between stakeholders, such as family members or business partners, through the use of smart contracts. With their solution, they are tackling a growing problem that every crypto investor will face at some point. Safe Haven encrypts data and assets until predetermined conditions are met such as death, illness or other, and then grants access to these funds.

Safe Haven is building various products and services integrated with its platform under the term “crypto asset management” and its flagship product is Inheriti Platform which is the first and only decentralized inheritance solution.

The SHA token is integral to the Safe Haven Platform and all of its products and services. The tokens fuel the whole ecosystem, acting as a service payment for the creation and execution of the 3 main smart contract types. SHA tokens also needs to be locked up, to join the TAN as a legal entity and to participate in the governance of the system. While tokens are locked, the circulating supply reduces increasing the value of SHA. The SHA token is integral to the Safe Haven Platform and all of its products and services.

All in all, this is a unique concept addressing real and urgent issues with the inheritance of digital assets. Safe Haven is solving a specific and important problem and it has a very good vision and strategy for the future, having already secured some good partnerships.

7. Meme (MEME) - https://dontbuymeme.com/

Market cap: $72 million

Supply: 25,631 / 28,000

MEME is a decentralized protocol for farming NFTs. But instead of farming for yield, DeFi users stake assets to earn limited edition NFTs from some of the top artists in Ethereum. The protocol allows staking, governance, fair distribution, and crypto collectibles.

The native token of the protocol is $MEME. Only 28,000 MEME tokens will ever exist (max supply), while 25,600 are already in circulation. The largest holders own less than 5% of the supply and there was a fair distribution to early community members via airdrop to about 1000 people. In simple words, the distribution and tokenomics are incredible and the vision of the team amazing. $MEME allows users to farm limited edition NFTs that could then be sold on the open market such as opensea.

Having some good partnerships with artists and platforms already, on March 23, MEME introduced its sister company — Nifty’s. Nifty’s is an NFT-focused social media platform that brings together publishers, brands, and creators with collectors, curators, and fans and it already has some big backers like Mark Cuban, Joseph Lubin, Tim Draper, Polychain, Liberty City Ventures, and NFT whale ‘0xb1’ among others. The MEME protocol will benefit from the partnership and new launch with additional resources to be channeled into product development. $MEME token holders will get a number of benefits. These include early beta access to Nifty’s products, exclusive access to community channels and special events and unique Nifty’s NFTs. MEME also announced its v2 launch which will go live on April 12. This version introduces a more streamlined NFT farming experience, improvements to user experience in artist discovery, and greater platform flexibility. So, this should give artists more control over their drops.

In conclusion, this is a project with a great story behind it. What was started for fun is now a unique concept that has big potential in the NFT industry that is just getting started.

8. LTO Network (LTO) - https://www.ltonetwork.com/

Market cap: $234 million

Supply: 280,246,746 / 401,931,245

LTO Network is a Dutch GDPR-compliant hybrid Blockchain for securing, verifying and exchanging business-critical information. It is a trustless blockchain that focuses on creating connections and collaborations between businesses. With this hybrid approach the LTO Network has become the first blockchain that is data privacy and GDPR compliant. It is the easiest to integrate Blockchain technology in the market and enables its customers to upgrade and interconnect their business systems seamlessly for a fraction of the costs of its competitors. This makes it one of the top projects based on Blockchain activity and price-to-earnings (P/R) ratio. Live Contracts were built to optimize business workflow. Combining private chains and a public Leased-Proof-of-Stake blockchain, the LTO Network enables General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) compliant blockchain solutions. LTO Network is also developing a range of applications such as Proofi, FillTheDoc, and LetsFlow.

Its native token is deflationary as a part of the fee is burned and the rest go for rewards to the network participants. The main use case of the token is to enable the anchoring of data hashes on the public chain to ensure immutability and security, through the novel Leased Proof of Importance staking mechanism. The 3 main uses are: 1) It is used for Gas fees for data anchoring, token transfer, and other transaction types. 2) For Staking as part of the Leased-Proof-of-Stake model. 3) For Governance for on-chain voting.

Overall, this is a very solid project with real-world adoption, solving specific problems and with very good tokenomics. LTO Network's increasing adoption rate in B2B coupled with very interesting deflationary token economics and a low market cap and price gives it great upwards potential.

9. Quant (QNT) - https://www.quant.network/

Market cap: $498 million

Supply: 12,873,332 / 14,612,49

Quant is a technology provider, delivering enterprise-grade interoperability for the secure exchange of information and digital assets across any network, platform or protocol, at scale. Quant developed Overledger, the world's first blockchain operating system (OS) that not only inter-connects blockchains but also existing enterprise platforms, applications and networks to blockchain and facilitates the creation of internet scale multi-chain applications otherwise known as mApps. It provides enterprise and developers with what Quant calls “universal interoperability”. Quant's Overledger isn't a blockchain, but a blockchain Operating System that runs on top of blockchains to provide scalable Any-to-Any interoperability. It enables interoperability across many blockchains and legacy networks to be processed in parallel rather than being restricted to just 2 connected networks.

Quant Network currently has a business development pipeline of 300 clients consisting of financial institutions, central banks, government health services, and other enterprise-level organizations and established partnerships. They have already partnerd with big players like Oracle, Hyperledger, Nvidia, pay.uk, AWS and Binance.

The QNT token is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) as a utility token. The token is required for all the functions and the usage of the Quant Network and Overledger operating system. Access to the Overledger Operating System is only possible through the use of QNT.

In conclusion, Quant has the whole package. Great and professional team, with vision and strategy, solving a specific and very important problem and finally, incredible tokenomics.

10. Avalanche (AVAX) - https://www.avalabs.org/

Market cap: $3.9 billion

Supply: 128,052,492 / 377,752,194

Avalanche is an open-source platform for launching decentralized finance (DeFi) applications and enterprise blockchain deployments in one interoperable, highly scalable ecosystem. It is the first smart contracts platform that confirms transactions in under one second, supports the entirety of the Ethereum development toolkit, and enables millions of independent validators to participate as full block producers. Avalanche is capable of throughput orders of magnitude greater than existing blockchain networks (4,500+ transactions/second), and safety thresholds well-above the 51% standards of other networks. There are over 15 projects launched on the platform since September that Avalanche launched their mainnet.

The Avalanche (AVAX) token is the native token of the Avalanche platform and is used to secure the network through staking, transact peer-to-peer, pay for fees, and provide a basic unit of account between the multiple subnetworks created on the Avalanche platform. Transaction fees across all the blockchains in the Primary network, fees for creating and minting of assets, creation of blockchains and the creation of subnets are all paid in AVAX which are burned, reducing total supply. AVAX is one of very few projects where enterprise use still provides utility for the token.

In simple words, Avalanche is a platform of platforms and allows anyone to create their own tailor-made application specific blockchains, supporting multiple custom virtual machines such as EVM and WASM. Avalanche is creating the Internet of Finance, offering the best place to build DeFi applications and not only.

Bonus: XRP - https://xrpl.org/

Market cap: $43 billion

Supply: 45,907,836,568 / 100,000,000,000

Although I would say that XRP doesn't need an introduction, because there is no crypto investor that haven't heard about it, unfortunately there is so much misinformation about it and it is one of the most misunderstood crypto. And because of that many people do not know about its amazing capabilities and features, and along with its huge potential, it still makes it one of the most undervalued crypto projects, even if it's in the top 10. Not to mention the unfair lawsuit that the SEC filed against Ripple.

Created in 2012, XRP is a cryptocurrency that was mainly designed for payments. XRP is the native token of the XRP Ledger (XRPL), an open-source, permissionless and decentralized blockchain technology. XRP can settle transactions on the ledger in 3-5 seconds. It was built to be a better Bitcoin — faster, cheaper and greener than any other crypto asset. XRP is used by a wide range of individuals, developers, companies and institutions, who ought to develop innovative value-adding solutions in a decentralized manner. The XRPL uses a consensus protocol that relies on a majority of validators to record and verify transactions without incentivizing any one party. Today, there are over 150 validators that operate at locations across the globe and are run by a broad range of individuals, universities, institutions, exchanges and more. For consensus to be reached on the network, at least 80% of the validators must agree. Ripple controls less than 4% of all validators which gives them no power on the XRP Ledger. Anybody can run a validator and set it up in minutes.

The XRP Ledger has a built-in Decentralized Exchange (DEX) which is operating since 2012 and makes it the first ever DEX. Anyone can create their own tokens and IOUs on the XRPL and then trade them on the DEX. The XRPL also supports some smart contract functions like escrows, payments channels, checks and more.

Ripple, a company that was founded few months after the XRPL by some of its creators, has been a key member in the XRP ecosystem, but it's not the only one. Ripple is using XRP as a bridge currency between financial insitutions for faster and cheaper transactions, offering many benefits over the current and outdated banking system. Other than Ripple, there are many companies like Coil, Sologenic, XRPL Labs, Flare Networks that are utilizing XRP for different use cases like micropayments, gaming, DeFi and smart contracts. Finally, there are also many independent developers that are building their own projects on the XRPL.

Overall, XRP is the best cryptocurrency for payments, with one of the most secure, stable, scalable, eco-friendly and advanced blockchain systems. The adoption and usage is constanly increasing and it doesn't seem like it will stop anytime soon. With more and more people and companies learning about the uknown-to-most capabilities of XRP and the XRPL, XRP is one of the best crypto to buy and hold for the long term, as in terms of utility, technology and use cases, it's in the top.

If you want to see more crypto content, analyses/reviews and tutorials, check my patreon: https://www.patreon.com/panosmek

Disclaimer: This is not a financial or investment advice, only an analysis and my opinion on different crypto projects.

You may have heard the term “money now is worth more than money later”. The time value of money means your fiat money today is worth more than your money tomorrow, because of inflation. Inflation increases prices over time and decreases your purchasing power. But what if that could change and you could be able to bring money from the future? We can't travel into the future in the physical world, but what if we could in the financal world?

For the first time ever, this concept becomes a reality with Flashstake.io. Flashstake is a permissionless protocol allowing everyone to stake FLASH tokens and earn instant upfront yield. It enables a new DeFi framework that wasn’t possible until now: Flashstaking. Flashstaking introduces the concept of locking money today and earning money from the future — the time travel of money. All done in a decentralized, instantaneous, and permissionless manner. Its unique mechanism is Proof-of-Time. While not an official blockchain consensus mechanism, it is conceptually set apart from Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work or Ethereum 2.0’s Proof-of-Stake, which require mining or staking power. Instead of staking and earning small amounts of interest over long periods of time, Flashstake allows you to earn instant upfront yield on your crypto.

Flashstaking works similarly to flashloans, where anyone can borrow any amount of capital as long as they pay it back within one ethereum transaction. However, instead of borrowing money, you stake capital for a predetermined amount of time and earn the entire reward. Instant, upfront, all in one ethereum transaction. Everytime someone (flash)stakes, instant yield is minted as FLASH tokens and swapped for the token they have chosen within the Flashstake protocol, while much more FLASH is locked up for extended periods of time. Here is how it works in a single picture:

Through the Flashstake dApp, users can flashstake their FLASH tokens for a desired amount of time in return for a corresponding yield reward, earned immediately. Flashstake is trustless and allows for other projects to build on top of it in order to utilize its awesome flashstaking capabilities and this is just it’s basic use case.

$FLASH is the primary flashstaking token that gives the safest, fastest, and easiest transition for the protocol. If, for example, someone stakes for a year those FLASH tokens are locked up for a year. The result could be limited supply and price surge. There’s also incentivised token burning for early unstakes.

For example, if you stake $100 of SNX (Synthetix), you may earn $0.05 a day over the course of a year, totally $18.25. However, with FLASH, you can stake $100 and earn $18.25 immediately, upfront (assuming interest rates are the same). The FLASH tokens remain staked and locked for 1 year, but you earn the whole staking reward today. You can unstake earlier if you want, but a part of your FLASH tokens will have to be burned as a “fine”, based on the remaining time.

Flashstake was developed by Blockzero Labs (read also my article about Blockzero), a blockchain development studio, with a visionary team, focused on launching innovative, original, and experimental ideas into the decentralized world.

What to look forward to in the coming months:

1. Optimism + L2s

ETH gas fees are keeping a lot of people from using the protocol right now, but L2 solutions are going to change that, allowing for nearly free Flashstakes. As soon as Optimism is made public, Blockzero Labs plans to put development resources into Optimism and will continue to explore alternative chain options like Avalanche and Fantom.

2. Transferless Payment System

Venmo and PayPal give you a custom link to send to your friends in order to receive payments and for people to send you money.

FlashstakeMe will be a similar platform, but instead of having to send you money, they can simply Flashstake and redirect the yield to your wallet directly. Or you can do the same to send money, you keep the capital staked and you send the interest to whoever you want to pay. FlashstakeMe will be the world’s first transfer-less invoicing system.

This platform will also enable Upfront Flash Offerings (UFO) for startups. Think ICOs, but instead of risking your bag, you can flashstake a startup and give them the yield. This would be a solution for startups to raise risk-mitigated capital. You will also be able to do Flash Donations, supporting a charity by flashstaking.

3. Flashstake Protocol Zynthetic upgrade

Imagine being able to Flashstake any token. Whether it be DAI for LINK or SNX for AAVE, the Zynthetic Upgrade would make this possible. FLASH token will still offer way higher APY than the other tokens, but Zynthetic will put the flash protocol on the map just by allowing anyone to get upfront yield on their ERC tokens.

4. New UI/UX

Overall, this is one of the most exciting and innovative projects I have seen. It’s the first of its kind, a revolutionary platform built by a visionary team. Flashstake solves the disincentives of locking capital for long periods of time by solidifying the market value of opportunity cost in the present.

If you want to learn more about Flashstake (FLASH):

https://flashstake.io/2020/12/flash-in-5/

https://medium.com/bombx/flash-v2-five-things-to-look-forward-to-in-2021-c82ba6b7d3ee

https://xord.com/publications/flash-ecosystem-an-in-depth-explanation

Cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption is surging the past few months and it doesn't seem like it will stop anytime soon. This is arguably the biggest technological innovation since the Internet and the world has slowly started to realize this. As we are moving to a more decentralized world, it's important to focus on innovative solutions that can solve problems accross different industries and make the daily lives of people better.

The DeFi market’s momentum is constantly growing and we are seeing many new innovative apps, solutions and platforms coming out almost every day. Decentralized finance does not require traditional intermediaries such as banks, brokerages or exchanges. All of the work that would normally be handled by these institutions is instead performed by smart contracts and blockchain.

What is Blockzero Labs and why you should care?

Blockzero Labs is here to bring the next round of innovations and push DeFi one step further with revolutionary projects and products, and by putting community first. Blockzero Labs is crypto’s first decentralized and community-driven token studio and accelerator which operates as a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization). In simple words, it's a blockchain startup network focused on building, launching and sclaing blockchain projects into the decentralized world. Blockzero not only create their own unique and innovative projects, but they also help other existing projects to scale. Blockzero provides projects the initial infusion of capital they need to get off the ground and helps them connect with potential partners, advisors, and team members to scale.

Most importantly, they build DeFi projects with the community, which is their strongest part, and they are called Citizens. In simple words, blockzero is the community. Everything is done after discussing on the forum and voting. The community is the one that decides what will be done, and provides feedback, any help needed and proposes ideas. From day one, Blockzero’s credo has been, “Community first – technology second”.

There are over 8,000 community members (Citizens) at the moment. Anyone can become a Citizen by filling out the citizen application form. Why should someone become a Citizen? One of the main benefits is that you can participate in the Blockzero Mind Mining Program, a program that rewards Citizens for their prompt, consistent, and quality engagement across all social platforms. Citizens are rewarded in XIO tokens, the primary (ERC-20) and governance token of Blockzero Labs. Previously, Blockzero Labs was called XIO Network, but they were rebranded as Blockzero Labs in the end of 2020. And because Blockzero Labs is community-driven, all tokens developed by them are distributed directly to XIO holders. So anyone who holds XIO tokens, will receive all future tokens that Blockzero Labs develops.

$XIO Tokenomics

Total Supply: 100,000,000

Initial distribution was:

• 25% reserved for Liquidity Incentives

• 25% reserved for Social Initiative

• 25% reserved for Foundation

• 25% offered to Citizens at launch (10% of these tokens went unclaimed and was reserved by the XIO Founders)

Team

The team started working on their vision in 2019 and on October 2020, they launched mainnet. Zachary Dash is the founder of Blockzero Labs and there are over 15 core members in the team that you can see here. Generally, the whole team is fully transparent and open with everything, which is rare compared to other crypto projects, and of course it's necessary since the project is community-driven.

Blockzero Labs tokens/projects

January 1st, 2021 marked the launch of Flashstake, the first official project from Blockzero Labs, with the native token FLASH (read my article about Flashstake). Flashstake is the time travel of money – crypto’s first flash-staking protocol that allows you to earn instant upfront yield by staking FLASH tokens. There are also several other projects/tokens in the pipeline set to be distributed exclusively to XIO holders. The next one, coming soon, is AquaFi, a universal liquidity mining token. You can see more about the projects of Blockzero here. All Citizens are invited to propose token ideas to the community.

Blockzero DeFi Accelerator program

Recently, Blockzero Labs announced the launch of a DeFi Accelerator program with the mission to “educate, incentivize and onboard the next 1,000,000 users into the world of decentralized finance”. In early March, UMA Protocol became the first project to join in the program.

Projects accepted into the Accelerator are expected to offer between $10,000 to $250,000 worth of tokens to the Blockzero Vortex — a DAO that controls the inflow and outflow of capital. The Vortex is separated into three primary Orbits — each with their own purpose, distribution mechanism, and functionality. The XIO token is needed to remove these tokens from the Vortex. They can be removed by voting, staking or burning.

To ensure that assets are securely locked while incentivizing Blockzero Citizens to support projects/protocols for many years to come, the Blockzero Vortex utilizes a deflationary distribution model and XIO holders need to burn XIO tokens to remove tokens from the Vortex. In simple words, you are trading XIO, which are burned, for tokens that are in the Vortex and might worth more in total value than your XIO.

This is just one of the three ways to remove tokens. The Blockzero Vortex will be implemented in the near future.

To conclude, this is a project/concept that every single crypto enthusiast should support and be excited about. This is one of the best concepts I have seen in the 5 years that I am in the crypto space. If I could describe Blockzero Labs with one phrase, I would say true innovation.

Sources:

https://blockzerolabs.io/blockzero-in-5/

https://blockzerolabs.io/mainnet-launch-proposal-flash-to-the-future-xio-token-studio/

https://medium.com/bombx/uma-protocol-joins-blockzero-labs-defi-accelerator-program-5c9a6c84b1de

https://blockzerolabs.io/accelerator/

https://blockzerolabs.io/tokens/

https://medium.com/bombx/blockzero-labs-xio-tokenomics-the-vortex-proposal-df42cc84de13

https://medium.com/bombx/blockzero-labs-governance-how-to-make-a-proposal-council-members-2674c297cb66