It seems like everyday now there is another ICO launch, with a new cryptocurrency being offered to the market. Is it a gold rush or a Ponzi scheme?

Everyone who wants to make sure that their money is well invested is scratching their heads to try and work out who is the real deal, and who might be about to take your money and never be heard of again. There are a few ways you can try and check if something looks too good to be true, or is the real deal. For one thing it is always useful to see who is on the board of advisors, or if they even have one! Then have to look to see if they have published credible whitepapers, and some form of demonstration of the technology they have built and plan to use.  Ideally too they have also logged some code snippets in Github for examination, and have a clear business strategy. It is a real and current challenge to assess who is legitimate and who is not, so it is interesting to come across Ties.Network, the world’s first decentralised database in this area. They are aiming to solve this problem of trust, and how to evaluate who are real or less credible players in this area. 

Ties.Network are an Ethereum-based business platform that are developing a service to help you find, collaborate and transact with relevant and bona fide professionals. They have looked at LinkedIn and identified areas where 3rd party validation of people’s supposed skills and abilities is less than completely objective. Personally I can’t remember the last time I looked at someone’s skills endorsements on LinkedIn, nor have I been very concerned how many of my own talents have been endorsed either. It is too subjective a method of evaluating people, with no checks or balances. The founders at Ties.Network have recognised this flaw in the system and are attempting to build a business platform with real experts, whose expertise has actually been verified in a quantifiable manner. Expert ratings are based on the real transactions and deals that have taken place in the past and are written in the blockchain. In many ways this seems like a great example of the new business use-cases built on blockchain driven technology that may help to deliver better, more reliable business for everyone involved. The idea is to leverage the fact that there is no easy way to fake your business history or rating on a blockchain system. They described their project’s value in the following way. As Ties.Network explainedour irrefutable rating system ensures project owners and trustworthy contractors find each other. Once connected users can start transacting safely through smart contracts.” As the project is based on the Ties.Network database, the plan is to then let other projects use this database for their apps too, you can see more about it on their blog here.

Speaking with Tiana Laurence, author of the recently published book ‘Blockchain for Dummies’ about how secure your investments are in cryptocurrencies at the moment she explained “We are still in the wild west. The ICO craze is the new iteration. Recently a project had $7 million stolen from it through a simple hack of their website and there were not a lot of resources to advise them.” Ties.Network are acutely aware of this challenge, and have been thinking hard about how to avoid these risks whenever possible. Trust has always been the issue as we move to a more and more online model of doing business, invariably with people that we have never, and may never meet, in person. Then again if the right security protocols can be achieved, then nor may we need to. Alexander Neymark, CEO of Ties.Network explains this in more detail. "What the market desperately needs today, is confirmed experts in crypto-investment. People who have already made a number of correct investment decisions and can help others do the same. To that end, we implement a mentoring system to guide you and help you choose the best ICOs for your money.”

Ties.Network proposes to offer a secure business platform where respected people in the cryptocurrency scene can create a profile. Then, like Github or other sites where you can actually see the quality of the work people have produced, rather than just what they say they have done. As with the most highly rated buyers and sellers on other e-commerce websites, each person will then build up a profile, a Kloutscore of sorts for blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Each interaction, business deal, and past history will all be written into the blockchain, with a clear record of their past transactions. It is an interesting and potentially exciting idea to leverage the value of smart contracts and a return to business based on trustable digital reputations.

It will be interesting to continue to follow their initiative, and to learn more about how they manage to deal with this idea of validating an expert’s authenticity. However Amazon have achieved something similar with ratings for buyers and sellers, and we all know how well that worked out, so there is no reason this couldn’t work, and perhaps even more accurately for the world of blockchain based cryptocurrences. Watch this space!