At the start of this decade, a small but dedicated group of enthusiasts started to build out a framework that it hoped would revolutionize the financial industry. During the subsequent seven years, this small group would become larger and larger, eventually encompassing hundreds of thousands of individuals spread across thousands of companies, all geared towards the same aim – developing the infrastructure necessary to support the multibillion-dollar blockchain industry.
Right now, bitcoin is the poster child of the space. It’s meteoric rise against the US dollar, from less than $1,000 just twelve months ago to just shy of $6,000 at time of writing has caught the attention of all corners of the financial sector and has turned once crypto-detractors into proponents of the encryption-backed asset.
Bitcoin is just the tip of the iceberg, however.
The real impact of this revolution is rooted in the technology that underpins bitcoin – blockchain. The application of this technology is virtually limitless and the advantages of its application for nearly every aspect of global industry, from voting systems to patent law, are going to drive a complete overhaul of things as we know them.
A major part of this overhaul is happening as we speak, with hundreds of startups all over the world using Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to raise the capital necessary to fund the transformation of their respective industries.
In and of itself, the ICO space has proven tremendously popular with investors and traders, with each of its component startups offering an exposure to an early stage entity ahead of its implementation phase; an opportunity generally only afforded to venture capitalists in the technology space.
There is, however, a problem with fraudulent activity or early-stage entities overpromising on unachievable goals and this has raised questions about potential regulatory activity in the sector as well as sparked decisions from policymakers, such as the move by the Chinese government to outright ban ICOs in September.
While it’s highly unlikely that Western governments will move to ban this sort of capital access model, one thing is clear – access to quality, reliable and trustworthy information surrounding the cryptocurrency space is paramount to achieving a clean, open and honest ICO marketplace.
And it now looks as though it’s not going to be policymakers that ensure these conditions. Instead, the industry is taking it into its own hands via an ICO set to launch at the end of this month – Clout.
Clout’s aim is to provide a platform across which quality, reliable and informative information regarding all things blockchain and cryptocurrency can be created and shared.
Not just that, but the platform is specifically designed to reward content and information that exhibits the three just-mentioned features –high quality, reliable and informative – as judged by the collective wisdom of the platform’s user base.
The way it works is relatively simple in concept and said concept serves to illustrate nicely how the application of blockchain technology, as rooted in Ethereum and the harnessing of smart contracts, can be used to effectively implement an improved system.
Users who take part in the ICO (i.e., those who invest in Clout while the ICO is open) will receive two separate tokens – one called Clout and one called CLC. For each Clout an individual holds, he or she will receive one CLC and it is the CLC that will be used as a unit of currency across the platform on implementation.
If a user creates or shares a quality piece of content or information, other users are able to reward them with CLC. CLC will be traded across the major cryptocurrency exchanges, meaning it can be bought and sold in return for other cryptocurrencies (and, by proxy, fiat currency like the US dollar), incentivizing users to create the highest quality content possible.
The higher the quality of the content in question, the more visible it will become to users on the platform and the higher the degree of implied trustworthiness (in terms of the information being shared) it will achieve.
Clout holders (those who took part in the ICO) will also be eligible for a share of the revenues generated through advertising, which is set to be the platform’s primary revenue stream.
This sort of user-to-user reward system exists already on popular platforms like Reddit (in the form of “Upvotes”) but the latter doesn’t allow for the seamless transfer of real-world value assets that Clout is seeking to implement with its own, proprietary platform.
Of course, and tying this in with the above description on ICOs, this model also lends itself perfectly to the evaluation of ICOs in the marketplace.
Clout’s users will be cryptocurrency enthusiasts, meaning there will be perfectly positioned to put forward valuable insights into the viability of a white paper. These insights will, in turn, be invaluable to anyone looking to gain insight into the credibility of an entity that is looking to raise money by way of an ICO.
Not only, then, might Clout be the answer to filtering out disinformation from the cryptocurrency space, it might also be the solution to cleaning up the ICO industry – something that governments worldwide are rushing, but so far struggling, to achieve.
Clout’s ICO opens on October 27 and the platform is expected to launch in Beta by March 2018.
Image courtesy of Susan Morales via Flickr