Engineering

“Freedom and accountability are two sides of the same coin.” ― Frédéric Laloux

Possible directions

Organised by level of complexity.

Level One

Level One

Wallets. Transactions. Signing. Faucets.

Level Two

Level Two

Multisig. Notarisation.

Level Three

Time-locked transactions. “Smart” contracts. Alternative finance.

One approach would be to forge higher-level tools from the tx components. For example, to support invoice trading on the blockchain might require:

  1. a tool for notarisation of references to online business provenance records
  2. a tool for creating precise, canonical descriptions of invoices in RDF supported by an appropriate OWL ontology
  3. a tool to create blockchain-notarised links between i) and ii)

Invoice trading is a financial service provided for fiat currencies which would work just as well (if not better, due to the more efficient global coverage) with VCN. It may offer some protection from exchange rate volatility for those businesses that are obliged to maintain a close coupling between VCN and fiat.

Examples

SwapBill: Python-implemented, burn-based, cross-chain exchange

SwapBill (docs, source) is an ‘embedded’ cryptocurrency protocol, which means that SwapBill transactions are hosted on an existing blockchain.

The primary purpose for SwapBill is to introduce trustless exchange features such as ‘atomic’ exchange between coins hosted on different blockchains.

The SwapBill protocol defines a subset of host transactions which are also considered valid SwapBill transactions, with additional control information encoded into these special transactions, and with protocol rules for how these transactions then act on a global SwapBill state.

An investor writes about alternative lenders in a market contraction context and we note the implicit warning: ”just because you can draw a box around it doesn’t mean to say that you can actually do it”

Alternative lenders are sliced in many ways — marketplace vs. balance sheet, super-prime vs. sub-prime vs. underbanked, consumers vs. small businesses, etc. — so we employed a more simplistic framework that captures what we believe are the most relevant factors in assessing a lender’s market resilience:

  • Underwriting Sophistication — use of technology and non-traditional criteria to identify the lowest-risk borrowers within a risk band

  • Borrower Credit Quality — relative proportion of higher credit quality borrowers who are less likely to default during a market contraction

  • Shorter Loan Duration — relative proportion of short duration loans that are, in turn, less susceptible to sustained market contractions

  • Higher LTV/CAC Ratio — higher ratios today leave more room for ratio compression that could occur during a contraction

  • Ease of Customer Acquisition — a streamlined customer acquisition operation can better adapt to different credit environments (shift to higher quality borrowers, etc.)

For every company, each factor is qualitatively scored from 0–4 (0 is low and 4 is high; see appendix for scoring rationale) and the mean is computed. The lenders are then ranked by their average score and grouped into high, medium, and low buckets directionally reflecting their ability to endure a market contraction.

Examples

Microfinance does not help redress poverty, at best it had no impact, at worst it exacerbates it.

“... it turns out that microfinance usually ends up making poverty worse. The reasons for this are fairly simple. Most microfinance loans are used to fund consumption – to help people buy the basic necessities they need to survive. In South Africa, for example, consumption accounts for 94% of microfinance use. As a result, borrowers don’t generate any new income that they can use to repay their loans so they end up taking out new loans to repay the old ones, wrapping themselves in layers of debt.

When micro-loans are used to fund new businesses, budding entrepreneurs tend to encounter a lack of consumer demand. After all, their potential customers are poor and low on cash, and what little money they do have gets spent on basic goods that tend already to be available. In this context, new businesses end up displacing already-existing ones, yielding no net increase in employment and incomes. And that’s the best of the likely outcomes. The worst – and much more likely – is that the new businesses fail, which then leads, once again, to vicious cycles of over-indebtedness that drive borrowers even further into poverty

...

This is not to say that we should abolish microfinance altogether, but simply that microfinance will never work until we address the background conditions that produce poverty in the first place. We also need to set up the right systems for small businesses to succeed, such as strong subsidies, state assistance, and welfare support to prop up entrepreneurs when they fail – the very systems that neoliberalism has convinced us to abandon.

Online dispute resolution for cross-border electronic commerce transactions - submission by the Russian Federation

ESCAP INTERIM INTERGOVERNMENTAL STEERING GROUP ON FACILITATION OF TRANSBOUNDARY PAPERLESS TRADE

With regard to the risks existing in global telecommunications networks, especially relevant becomes the task of ensuring trust and legal validity of related electronic documents. Solutions to meet these characteristics of the electronic documents of international e-Commerce are realized in the form of infrastructure of transboundary trust space (TTS) — a set of legal, organizational and technical conditions and requirements recommended by the specialized agencies of the United Nations and other specialized international organizations with the aim of ensuring confidence in the international exchange of electronic documents and data between actors (subjects) of electronic interaction. The technological basis of TTS is the set of services of a trusted third party (TTP).

The most obvious for these technology application areas, along with solving problems of documentary maintenance of various types of border controls of goods (veterinary, phytosanitary, transport, etc.), providing transboundary banking services, telemedicine systems and learning systems, were traditionally considered cross-border electronic trading, in particular electronic public procurement with the participation of foreign suppliers. Legal and technological aspects of the use of the services of a trusted third party were developed in the framework of international formats (SCO, EAEC, APEC, RCC, CIS, EU and others), as well as to address business challenges. The techniques of cross-border interoperability of electronic signatures and electronic identification on the basis of TTP services are actively applied within the framework of pan-European projects PEPPOL and STORK. The flagship of the practical use of TTP services is currently the Eurasian Economic Union, which uses TTP as the basis of the infrastructure of the transboundary space of trust in the context of creating an integrated information system combining dozens of cross-border information processes. The strategy for the development of this infrastructure involves connecting to it not only public authorities of the EAEU member States, but also companies and individuals.