Vicarium Launches the Vicarium Academy

The really great thing about a new technology like blockchain or DLT, is that it really brings in a lot of eager, almost hungry people who are “excited to embrace something new”. Helping those people finding their way proves not always to be so easy. One of the biggest hurdles in the blockchain world of today is the lack of authentic, credible, unbiased, and above all neutral and objective voices.

With the Vicarium Academy we are helping to bridge that very gap between the various knowledge levels with actual, valuable and relevant insights. Offering seminars for beginners, to master classes for seasoned experts who want to stay ahead of the curve, the Vicarium Academy offers it all.

Key questions that will be addressed are what is DLT, what does it do, what doesn’t it do, where and how to apply it, what factors to consider, what is the playing field, why should or shouldn’t I consider the Blockchain, what is compliance and governance? An important aspect is also making sure everyone understands and values the fundamental principles of DLT.

Various levels are offered, and even for the more experienced “Blockchainer” we offer new and fresh insights, not to mention we will be painting a picture of how the future might look like. Your key take away will be an up to date and practical understanding of today’s business opportunities and some of the legal, regulatory and governance challenges in the Blockchain. We also teach you to appreciate the way technologies can and will change our way of life, and impact all aspects of it; socially, economically, politically, physically and otherwise.

After delving into what DLT is, we start with painting the current and possible future Regulatory framework. Additionally, we touch on certain Governance considerations that come to light in this new technology, and of course we will review the Legal considerations.

We pride ourselves in offering something truly special, namely all our teachers have practical and theoretical expertise and experience. Lastly, all our programs offer interactivity. We feel it is important to not just tell you what you need to need know, we want to make sure you do, and can apply it to your specific situation.

Welcome to the Vicarium Academy!

Is Russia the New Crypto Hub?

There are three main clusters globally who have more or less decided the way they see blockchain technology and their related cryptos. In short there is a friendly approach (Malta, Gibraltar, Singapore, Korea, Japan, Switzerland), and more neutral – or better said undecided – approach (predominantly EU) and a more hostile approach (China, India, US).

Funny enough, there is one big absentee in that list: Russia. And, that is peculiar for a few reasons. First of all, there are a lot of blockchain and crypto related start-ups in Russia, more or less from day one. Secondly, and of course related to this, there is a lot of know-how, expertise and skills in Russia and Russians. Just randomly select a few ICOs and you see my point. With a population of say 145 million people, predominantly urban a sizeable pool of users. Additionally, Russia is rich in natural resources, and that could be a great opportunity in tying them together, for instance pegging a token to oil, gold or diamonds.

Initially the Russian President Putin said that in his view cryptocurrencies could pose a serious risk, which is a not uncommon response from a head of State. We also know that he met with Vitalik Buterin a few times. Obviously, we do not know what exactly was discussed, but let us assume at least that Vitalik was able to provide some context. After that Russia more or less kept quiet, until mid-February.

This time the Russian Duma (lower house parliament) revealed a plan to launch its own oil-backed crypto currency. Although we have seen that before with president Maduro launching the Petro in Venuzuela, the playing field in Russia is significantly different than in Venezuela. In order to facilitate this request from the Duma, president Putin has just announced he has set a 1 July deadline for new crypto regulations to be passed. The order asks for a regulatory framework for digital financial assets, more financial resources based on digital assets and the regulation of civil law digital settlements.

There are also rumors flying around that the Russian are considering launching their own national cryptocurrency, speculatively called the Cryptoruble. Now with new and stimulating regulation on the horizon, rumors will no doubt intensify.

That makes it significantly different than calling it a potential risk. Now the focus of these new regulations will be aimed at the development of the digital economy. Can we put Russia in the friendly cluster in 2019? not sure yet, but it is now very likely that Russia will relax its position on crypto and embrace new opportunities.

Is Facebook Going to Issue its Own Token?

The past few weeks a lot rumors have been flying around about Facebook and its possible connection to launching its own digital assets; a Facebook coin. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said they were “looking into” cutting out the intermediary in the log in process. Far too soon to say that Facebook is going blockchain, but… it does very much look like Facebook has the blockchain more than on the radar. 

A few months ago, Facebook published several listing job applications for blockchain specialists, stating they would be devoted to this technology. Later Bloomberg added the alleged development of Facebook’s cryptocurrency. Allegedly, as the source remained unnamed. So, even without a lot of evidence, just a hint was enough to set the community in a virtual tailspin.

Although it looks like the smokescreen is abating, we still do not have a clear picture – or perhaps better said an official statement – of what, how, who and when. But there is a lot more reason to believe that Facebook will soon launch its own cryptocurrency.

The New Your Times delved into it, and they claim Facebook had a secret crypto project for quite some time already. So secret apparently, that those employees working on it have special access cards and are under strict instructions not to discuss their work with anybody. The NYT claims there are 50 people working on the project.

It is expected that the Facebook coin will be specifically tied to WhatsApp, messenger and Instagram, all owned by Facebook. By its sheer reach, this would potentially give access to the 2.7 Billion users who use those platforms every single day. One of the anonymous sources went on by claiming that the digital coin is going to be a stablecoin, backed up not by one, but by three fiat currencies. Facebook being an American company a pegging to the US dollar seems likely.

By countering the adverse effects of price volatility, this would definitely make it a cryptocurrency for global payments. It is even speculated that a pilot would start in India; needless to say, a huge market in numbers but also in the demand for peer to peer payments.

Although nothing set in stone, and yet to be revealed, it is a pretty safe assumption that the Facebook coin is in the making virtual certainty.

Samsung Offers the S10 With Built in Crypto Wallet

New phones come and go, and phone makers tend to set certain trends that they feel will “resonate” with the customer base, not to mention lure clients away from the competition. The past few years the more important selling points were size, battery life and of course the cameras. Let’s face it, the resolution and zoom and depth capabilities of smartphone cameras is amazing.

But, after weeks of rumors and speculation, Samsung has chosen a new feature to not only to be added to the new Galaxy S10 but put it center stage; the built-in crypto wallet. Interesting move? Trendsetter? Or are they merely trying to appeal to the domestic – crypto savvy – Korean market?

There are already many apps that let you store tokens and coins on your phone, but Samsung is now offering a cold storage feature on their new Galaxy 10S. That means coins and tokens are not connected to the internet, although your phone obviously is. Apart from this wallet, the new phone will also enable contactless crypto payments. Samsung already has plans to add more tokens, but will start with Bitcoins, Ethereums and Cosmo tokens. Links with gaming related tokens looks very much likely, with Enjin being the first likely candidate. Additionally, the phone is supporting decentralized apps, called Dapps. It looks very much so that Samsung is setting a new standard in the market, and one that others will have to follow.

Whatever you may think of this step, one thing is sure: millions of users all around the globe will now have the ability to cold store their own crypto currencies. No doubt this will further fuel the use of cryptos, if not boost mass adoption of digital assets. That Samsung is serious about it, is reflected in the first shipping batch; a whopping 70 million units.

Needless to say, security is now becoming even more important. The new Galaxy S10 comes with a built-in defence system, aptly called Samsung Knox, as a tongue in cheek reference to the famous US gold depository Fort Know.

Like so often technical advancements are a game of playing tag. With this phone Samsung has tagged the retailers, and it is up to them now in making their services available to contactless crypto payments. We believe Samsung has made a bold but very smart move by making a phone for storing non long term crypto holdings, that also can make contactless crypto payments.

From Peanuts to Eggs

We all know the expression “pay peanuts, get monkeys”. We use it to emphasize that quality comes at a cost. Much as we like to think that having to pay the true value for something can be avoided, as with so many other things, nothing is for free. Yes of course it is wise and great that you can save money on advisers and specialists, but what are you actually getting? Apart from that, is being “cheap” not sometimes counter-productive?

In the blockchain and crypto world however it still seems to be a common practice. Experts, advisers and Board member are more often than not being paid millions and millions…… of tokens that are yet to be mined, waiting to be issued, even further waited to be listed, not even close to being traded, let alone to have developed value. And after having jumped through all those hoops successfully, the vesting period kicks in. But on the other hand, the necessary work has to commence more or less immediately.

But not only work, something else and much more valuable is at stake: reputation. Quite often we are being asked as advisor or expert precisely because we have an excellent track record in a specific field, a stellar reputation in the industry, or access to a much-needed network. All extremely valuable and important qualities, and qualities that did not come overnight but as a result of long and hard work. Any advisor who values his reputation – and in some ICO advisor cases actually has a reputation – would be very, very careful when his or her reputation is on the line. Not being adequately compensated for hours spend is one thing, being robbed from one’s reputation is a totally different matter.

There is a reason they are experts, and a reason they ask adequate compensation for their time, expertise, network, and added value. Perhaps you need to put yourself – as a start-up founder – in the shoes of the expert. Would you go the extra mile for something you have little or no control over? Would you possibly gamble that away? So, rather than focusing on peanuts, lets focus on eggs and go with the: “you need to break an egg in order to make an omelet” ….