Interview with HelloGold CEO Robin Lee: Bringing Blockchain and Gold to millions of people across Asia.

Robin Lee CEO Hello Gold

Hello Gold is a Shariah compliant gold investment app that allows anyone to buy and sell Gold hassle free. Its built on the Ethereum Blockchain with an aim to help the millions of low to medium income people from emerging countries save in Gold as apposed to their unstable local currency.

We spoke with Robin Lee, the CEO of HelloGold(former CFO of the World Gold Council) to find out more since the successful token sale which raised 17,149 ETH.


Can you briefly explain what HelloGold is?

“The amount of money in a person’s wallet should not be a barrier to his ability to access financial products that the rich enjoy. HelloGold wants to remove affordability and accessibility from the equation through the democratisation and digitisation of financial saving and loan products using real assets starting with gold” Robin Lee CEO HelloGold.

HelloGold has created an easy way for mass market customers to preserve their wealth by buying gold through a secure mobile app

How do customers purchase Gold, do they have to buy HelloGold tokens? Or only in RM1?

HelloGold is currently only available in the Malaysian market – we have plans to expand in 2018. For our customers, there are 2 ways to buy gold:

HelloGold app customers can log in and buy gold 24/7 once they have cleared the KYC process and topped up the app with cash using online banking. Prices track global market spot price and are updated every 5 minutes throughout the day. App customers can buy from as little as RM1. Customers buy, store and sell the gold which is physically vaulted down in Singapore. They can also gift the gold to another account holder, have the gold physically delivered or take a collateralised loan against the gold.

For people that are comfortable using crypto currency, HelloGold has recently launched our gold-backed token (GBT). Each GBT is fully backed by 1g of PAMP 99.99% investment grade gold vaulted in Singapore. GBTs will be available for purchase directly from HelloGold over the next few months to enable us to gauge demand

Why is Blockchain technology needed for buying Gold? What benefits does it provide to the consumer?

HelloGold uses blockchain technology to provide 3 benefits:

Transparency

By publishing the smart contracts and incorporating a blockchain explorer (transaction navigator), it will be possible to review the full list of anonymised transactions and calculate the amount of gold that HelloGold is holding on behalf of customers. This, in turn, can be compared not only to the amount of gold published in the customer gold list (anonymised) but also against the records managed by our custodian.

Security

HelloGold has incorporated several security mechanisms to protect customer accounts. All connections are encrypted using HTTPS. Internal API calls between the core components are secured with additional secret keys and firewall rules that limit interactions between trusted systems. For external facing APIs, for example APIs used by our mobile application, the API calls are further secured with a combination of industry standard OAUTH and secure tokens for each mobile device. The addition of a distributed record adds a further level of security from internal and external attempts to alter account data without leaving an audit trail. The smart contracts are being developed with best practices in mind following constant review of public audit documents. This should ensure that customer accounts are true and accurate.

Access

In addition, the Ethereum smart contracts enable HelloGold to create GBT, tradeable on any exchange which accepts them.With HGF’s gold-backed token everyone will only need the equivalent of a fraction of a dollar to save through gold (GBT works to 18dp). This will make the HelloGold platform available to everyone anywhere in the world

Do you think HelloGold will change how we buy gold in the future?

We are only at the start of our journey to impact the lives of the underserved and unbanked in emerging economies. Since our public launch in April, HelloGold has changed the way for over 4,000 customers when it comes to wealth preservation by providing a modern, convenient and cost efficient access to gold.

We have ambitious plans to expand the use of the product with both new partners and into new markets, to change how more people are able to access affordable financial products that were previously only accessible to the wealthy

Can you share any future plans or partnerships ?

We outlined our expansion plans in the whitepaper that we wrote for the recent token sale, full details can be found there.

In short, HelloGold plans to expand into new geographic markets, specifically Thailand, China, Indonesia and Philippines plus expand the product with new features/technology, asset classes (eg silver/platinum), partners which will enable us to serve new customer segments.

We are also increasingly approached by potential partners in other regions like the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia as well as Africa to consider expansion into those markets.

Who’s your target market for the app?

The ultimate customers of HelloGold’s platform, are those are not well served by their existing financial institutions and the unbanked. Financial institutions already provide a variety of easy ways for the high net worth and mass affluent market segments to invest in assets like gold so that they can diversify risks at the portfolio level but they do not enable the less affluent customer the same access. HelloGold targets two key market segments: the consuming middle class and the emerging middle class. In ASEAN and China alone, these two groups comprise 55% of the total labour force of 814m people. They saved approx. $505b in 2016, of which we estimate that $212b was in cash deposits.

Why are you running HelloGold on the Ethereum Blockchain over other similar technologies ?

HelloGold is using Ethereum as it is currently the most widely accepted platform that offers all the benefits of a blockchain (full traceability, non-repudiability etc.) and multiple source language implementations that encourage integration. Ethereum will handle only the parts needing consensus, transparency and accountability. Other services will continue to be provided using existing technology.

HelloGold needs a transactional blockchain with a powerful system of smart contracts which have the ability to ensure that a transaction can combine with the results of previous transactions to provide auditable consistent results. To date, Ethereum is the only stable system that has achieved widespread adoption. The decades of experience of our senior development team tell us to avoid anything experimental to run a live system.

Will you be expanding into other metals such as Silver?

Yes. We intend to create other real asset-backed tokens over the next 12 months.

What are you looking forward to in the blockchain space in 2018?

In HelloGold we are looking forward to moving our app backend onto the Ethereum network to provide our customers with greater security and transparency over their gold holding.

HelloGold intends to add different real asset backed tokens and providing more support to entities which support the twin objectives of 1) increasing mass market use of blockchain technology and 2) democratising access for the underserved and unbanked to financial products through the digitisation of these products.

Overall, we think that the blockchain space will continue to develop and mature through 2018. If the pace of change is as rapid as 2017, the industry will be significantly different at this time next year

HelloGold App Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.hellogold.app&hl=en

HelloGold App Store:

https://itunes.apple.com/my/app/hellogold/id1193095204

How many Bitcoins for a Pizza? Papa John’s now accepting Bitcoin

Pizza delivery restaurant chain Papa John’s now offers customers the option to pay using Bitcoin at their Manchester City Centre store.

The American based company operates as a franchise so it’s not yet clear if other franchisees are rolling out the new payment method but this is definitely a promising start.

This isn’t the first time Papa John’s and pizza made the headlines, back in 2010 a developer named Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two Pizzas in exchange for 10,000 Bitcoins which was worth just $25 at the time but at todays exchange rate $70 million dollars!

The price of one Bitcoin is now around $7,000 or £5411.

If you fancy paying for your next Margarita in Bitcoin then head down to Papa John’s on Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5AN.

papa johns bitcoin manchester
Credit Source: Twocanpocket

Energy giants BP and Dutch Shell join forces to develop blockchain energy trading platform

BP and Royal Dutch Shell have today formed a consortium with various other energy companies to develop a blockchain-backed trading platform for commodities.

Expected to launch by the end of 2018 the platform will significantly help cut costs in oil trading and streamline various aspects of the industry including the replacement of paper contracts. Swiss based commodity trading firm Mercuria also joined today has long been an advocate of paperless contracts.

Other members of the consortium include ABN Amro, Norwegian oil firm Statoil, Koch Supply & Trading, trading house Gunvor, ING and Societe Generale.

“I am very excited about this initiative,” said Anthony van Vliet, ING’s Global Head of Trade and Commodity Finance, “Marquee brands and competitors in the energy, trade and banking industry sharing one vision gives us a great opportunity to transform processing in the energy trade commodity sector”

In a statement, the consortium expressed a desire to see this form of trading replace traditional methods: “Over time, the new venture intends to lead the migration of all forms of energy transaction data to the blockchain, improving data quality, further strengthening security and increasing the speed of settlements industry-wide, while reducing the cost for industry participants.”

The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement.

Other companies trying to revolutionise the energy sector with Blockchain technology are Grid+ which has so far raised 38,000 Ether and PowderLedger whose ICO has not ended raising $13 million dollars.

With increased transparency and independence from central government blockchain technologies are slated to revolutionise the energy industry for both consumers and producers.

In January, IBM and Samsung unveiled an early platform for controlling connected devices based on a blockchain concept called ADEPT. This platform uses software developed on the Ethereum blockchain that authenticates “smart contracts” that represent micro-transactions between appliances within a home to enable them to react autonomously and instantaneously to varying conditions.

Renowned Blockchain experts join Lendoit advisory board.

Israeli Blockchain firm Lendoit welcomes two new experts on to its advisory board.

High profile advisors Eddy Travia & Richard Titus have joined the advisory board of Lendoit, an Israeli-based financial firm that is using blockchain technology to revolutionise the peer-to-peer lending industry.

Travia, a key figure in the blockchain space since 2013, co-founder of SeedCoin and blockchain Space, and current CEO of investment firm Coinsilium brings a wealth of experience to the project.

With an impressive portfolio that already includes RSK, Factom, CoinDash and SatoshiPay. Travia was also nominated among the top 3 ‘Most Influential Investors of the Year’ at Blockchain Awards 2014 and has been a major influence in the space ever since.

Titus is currently the managing partner at ARK ICO Advisors, a Singapore based firm advising ICO projects all over the world including AdEx, Pillar & Hive. he brings over 20 years of technology, scaling and development experience to the project.

Having nurtured over 15 successful initial coin offerings the two new additions to the Lendoit advisory board will help pave the the firm’s success in the lucrative P2P industry.

Utilizing the Ethereum blockchain, Lendoit is a decentralised peer-to-peer lending platform that brings lenders and borrowers together globally using Smart Contracts on the blockchain to ensure transparency, trust, reduced risk and circumvent intermediaries.

Borrowers are able to download the Lendoit app and request a loan which is then auctioned to verified lenders on the platform, this provides borrowers with the ability to browse bids and accept the best loan rates to suit their circumstances.

Despite it not launching until next year Lendoit has already created strong ties with governments and corporations one of Israel’s biggest investment firms Migdal Investment Banking. Established in 1965 and part of Migdal Capital Markets Group, it currently manages assets valued at $9 billion for thousands of clients in the Israeli private, business and public sectors.

Compared to other P2P lending platforms on the market such as ETHlend and Salt, Lendoit offers a competitive advantage in various areas such as decentralised intermediate, interest auctions, and compensation funds.

Lendoit so far have also partnered with YETAX, Smartech, WHISP R&D, The Hive Project and Wings.

Whitepaper: https://lendoit.com/Lendoit-whitepaper.pdf

Telegram: https://t.me/Lendoit

LinkedIn executive spearheads new blockchain startup to create world’s first global WI-FI platform

Dylan Sharkey, former head of sales at Linkedin has left the networking platform to join Blockchain startup IUNGO Network as a senior advisor. With his support the startup aims to not only disrupt the global ISP market but also unify it with the latest technology.

IUNGO is working on an open source blockchain solution that enables anyone to consume and contribute to a network of global wifi networks. For end users this means simple, reliable and fast internet access anywhere and for locals it opens up new avenues to monetize their excess internet bandwidth.

Impressed by the startups growing portfolio of successfully executed ventures and strong management Team Dylan felt he could bring a lot to the project’s scaling and execution goals. Through his experience in managing a team of over 100 employees at LinkedIn, before the company’s IPO back in 2011 he is hailed as one of the key players in taking the firm’s startup growth and turning it into the powerhouse it is today.

On the one hand IUNGO hopes to tap into the growing number of nomads, travelers, vloggers, freelance workers who have significant problems accessing WIFI outside of their home while on the go whilst on the other opening on the ability for local residents to rent any excess bandwidth they have to earn some extra money.

“Dylan joins with invaluable experience of contributing to the stellar growth of LinkedIn when it was still a fast growing startup before the successful IPO in 2011”, said IUNGO Network CEO Ričardas Bernotavičius.

In doing so IUNGO is aiming to become a global ISP provider that is quite literally powered by its community of users.

IUNGO is a community based distributed wireless internet service provider. Through their blockchain technology software and hardware they would like to bootstrap communities where people take on responsibilities and benefit from various rewards. Members can also contribute to the network by installing public wi-fi access points in their premises.

The company aims to use existing local internet infrastructure to provide the bandwidth and overlay its own access layer to enable unified end-user identification, authentication and billing systems making it possible for users to rent bandwidth and hire it seamlessly on the Ethereum network.

IUNGO is a globally distributed wireless internet service provider built with the help of a worldwide community. They are Bootstrapping a community where everyone can assume responsibilities and benefit from the associated rewards for running parts of the service delivery infrastructure. Members can contribute by installing Public Wi-Fi access points on their premises and/or running parts of the service infrastructure.

Ethereum ETN’s attract $10 million in assets after trading on Nasdaq

coinsharesLaunched just last week by Jersey-based financial firm CoinShares, the Ether Tracker One and Ether Tracker Euro exchange-traded note (ETN) has now surpassed $10 million since trading on Nasdaq Stockholm.

CoinShares combined assets under management (AUM) (which included the Bitcoin Tracker One and Bitcoin Tracker Euro) are now at $330 million since launching in 2015.

 

 

“When the group’s bitcoin ETNs – which are now at $330MM in AUM – launched in 2015, it took one year to attract the initial $10MM in AUM. The Ether Trackers achieved that in less than a week” says Ryan Radloff, Principal at CoinShares.

Due to popular demand by investors CoinShares is now providing professional asset research into the top 5 crypto-assets, this they believe is something new due to all previous research that was carried out more or less focused just on Bitcoin.

The first research is named Ether Asset Highlight launched today: https://coinshares.co.uk/#research

“We are excited to bring CoinShares Research to life as we begin to support the needs of the next wave of crypto investors. Now that we have a team covering ether, bitcoin and a few others on a full-time basis, expect more great coverage to come soon,” says Ryan Radloff, Principal at CoinShares.

The brand comprises two exchange traded bitcoin notes (COINXBT & COINXBE), two exchange traded ether notes (COINETH & COINETHE) and two funds (GABI & CoinShare Fund 1). All of these represent ‘first of their kind’ products in their respective categories.

For many investing in cryptocurrencies can be unfamiliar territory due to the complexity of managing wallets, dealing with exchanges and the related security concerns. ETN’s act as a gateway, simplifying the process for everyday investors who want to dabble in the cryptocurrency market but don’t know how.

Investers can now bet on the price of Ethereum through Nasdaq

coinsharesJersey-based CoinShares announced today that two Exchange Traded Notes (ETNs) connected to the price of the Ethereum cryptocurrency can now be traded on Nasdaq.

Denominated in both Swedish Kronor and Euro, the ETNs are designed to track the price of Ethereum and are based on the average value of a select group of liquid Euro exchanges.

This comes as no surprise with other providers including XBT issuing similar ETNs for tracking Bitcoin last month and GABI, the first regulated BTC hedge fund combining the two entities to launch CoinShares who have crypto assets of around $300 million. These previous ETN’s were made available to investors through Hargreaves Lansdown.

Investing in cryptocurrencies have been notoriously difficult for everyday investors due to wallet, transaction and exchange complexities however with CoinShares historic NASDAQ announcement non tech-savvy investors will now have full access to the cryptocurrency market.

In the last 18 months at least fifteen cryptocurrency funds have launched and around five crypto-based investment products are currently pending review with regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere.

“Today is a historical moment for Ethereum and ether as an asset; and for the future of crypto-assets. It was a little over two years ago that the bitcoin ETNs began trading – offering investors exposure to bitcoin via an established exchange for the first time. Today, we are able to bring ether to the market and mark another major first. It is important to remember how far and how fast the space has matured in the less than 8 years since this revolution began,” says Ryan Radloff, Co-Principal at CoinShares.

We put some questions to CoinShares in a short interview:

What type of investors do you hope to attract with the ETH ETNs?

Product is for any investor who has qualified access to Nasdaq Stockholm.

Can you give us an estimated $ price of what you think Ethereum will trading at by 2018?

No price target right now – though we did a valuation model in our latest Ethereum research which may be helpful

Do you plan to trade on other exchanges such in currencies such as £ or $ ?

Cannot comment on future plans of that nature, apologies

What other cryptocurrencies do you have in mind? are you open to other ETNs with other currencies?

We delivered this product because the market had been requesting it since last year. We will follow market demand for future products as well.

John McAfee sits on advisory board of crypto exchange set to revolutionise India

Renowned businessman and security analyst John McAfee has partnered with and will sit on the advisory board of BitIndia, an open source blockchain wallet and exchange for the streets of India.

With less than 0.5% of indians currently utilising Bitcoin, the company aims to educate and promote cryptocurrencies to directly take on the very real and growing issue of high banking rates that currently plague over 1.2 billion of the country’s people.

This is to be achieved through an easy to use cryptocurrency platform that takes away the complexities of cryptocurrencies and replace them with an intuitive system which not only allows the average layman to store and use Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple currencies but to also trade them against the national currency, the Indian Rupee.

Plans also include for seamless integration on a local level allowing users to access terminals that allow for everyday and recurring purchases such as groceries, bills and dining out.

bitindia

Given the size of the Indian population and its urgent need for a decentralised and fairer economic system if executed properly BitIndia is in a prime position to spearhead and develop the Indian Cryptocurrency space into a major global player, one that will shortly rival China and South Korea.

John Mcafee’s no stranger to business, his role at Bitindia will bring a great deal of unparalleled expertise and guidance.

Bitindia is currently running an initial coin offering (ICO) which allows anyone to invest in the exchange and make a share of the profits, find out more here https://bitindia.co/ or read the whitepaper https://bitindia.co/whitepaper.pdf

Upfiring: Blockchain startup could revolutionise P2P file sharing

This year we’ve seen the launch of many ICO’s, with the majority just being blatant scams or just down right useless.

That said every so often a project comes along that not only only has a genuine purpose but also thrives in a blockchain environment. This week that project is Upfiring, a blockchain company aiming to revolutionise the P2P file sharing industry as we know it.

Utilising the Ethereum Blockchain, Upfiring has created a decentralised autonomous P2P network that allows anyone to easily share files regardless of if they are on a desktop computer or smartphone.

File-sharing is currently seen as an unrewarding process for both seeders (due to little to no return for sharing) and frustrating for downloaders (due to the lack of seeders and slow speeds).

Upfiring has a solution to address this. The company has developed technology which solves many of the current problems we see today with P2P file sharing such as seeding, searching, downloading, ratings, and peer evaluation.

In layman’s terms the Upfiring process is as follows:

  1. A seeder shares a file through the Upfiring network
  2. The file is encrypted by the platform
  3. A downloader requests access to the seeded file but can only download once they have paid using the currency of the network which is UFR tokens.
  4. Once downloaded and paid for in full the file can be decrypted.

The above is a seamless process that requires no technical; knowhow on the user’s part. Given that UFR is also a tradable currency allows both seeders and downloaders to utilise exchanges to buy and sell the tokens as and when required.

Despite file sharing existing since the early days of the internet recent statistics show that the industry has continually grown over fifty percent since 2008. With no sign of this slowing down the industry has long been overdue a technology overhaul to speed up and improve efficiency.

Some of the Issues with current file sharing platforms:

  • Lack of seeders
  • No benefit to seeders
  • Risk for seeders
  • Snooping/ privacy concerns
  • Massive disparity between file download and availability ratio.

Benefits of incentivised file sharing:

  • Seeders are compensated (resulting in more high quality seeds)
  • Larger variety of seeds
  • Seeds can be rated more effectively
  • Faster access and downloads
  • A self sufficient system that settles payment publicly

Upfiring is currently running an initial crowd offering where anyone can invest in the technology in exchange for Upfiring tokens. You can find out more about the project and support it at: https://upfiring.com/

Their whitepaper can be accessed here: https://upfiring.com/Upfiring_Whitepaper.pdf

UK regulatory body issues ICO warning

The UK’s financial regulatory body has issued a press release warning consumers about the risk of investing in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).

ICOs are very high-risk, speculative investments.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said ICOs are very high-risk and that anyone investing should be prepared to lose their entire stake.

The FCA does not have the power to regulate a high majority of ICO’s as they fall outside of their legal boundaries, but some may be conducting regulated activities including the exchanges selling the tokens.

If you are not aware of how ICO’s operate they work similar to normal crowd funding events but instead of investors paying in fiat they are paid for with a token or coin e.g Ethereum or Bitcoin in return for a project token.

It has been estimated that around £1bn in fiat has been invested into ICO’s so far and this number is growing exponentially.

The FCA’s warning issued today swiftly follows the People’s Bank of China who have allegedly issued similar warnings and have recently “banned” some ICO’s although experts say this ban was temporary.

You should be conscious of the risks involved and fully research the specific project if you are thinking about buying digital tokens.

As with any ICO’s we recommend carrying out your own independent research to ensure the legitimacy and that it’s worth risking your own money. Common red flags include no whitepaper, unverifiable team members (missing Linkedin profiles or social profiles), projects in the very early stages without any prototype. ALl in all the best policy is to just use common sense when assessing each project and remember if something sounds too good to be true then it probably is.