Transfer of value in the shape of a digital asset is blockchain’s basic functionality. These digital assets, also known as tokens or coins, represent a wide spectrum of utility. Today perhaps the most popular designation of newly minted tokens is the token sale.
Before the era of blockchain 2.0 most new crypto projects had to roll out their own version of blockchain. Mostly those were early Bitcoin forks with some minor changes, but there were also completely different blockchains built from scratch.
Right now we are living in the era of blockchain 2.0, which means that everyone and their grandma can easily issue a crypto token on any of the numerous crypto platforms that have been springing out of the woodwork ever since 2014. Pretty much any business or individual can hold a token sale campaign with but very basic understanding of how blockchain works.
This is indeed a very handy and timely technology, given how banks’ willingness to lend decreases and numbers of people willing to invest in ICO model grows exponentially. Token sales today are already contending with VC investment and the ongoing trend doesn’t look particularly comforting for VC.
Even by conservative estimations, blockchain-fueled crowdfunding campaigns will further thrive in the near future, driving the price of bitcoin up to unknown heights.
But despite Bitcoin and Ethereum networks being so huge in capitalization and utility, there are many concerns which often make their networks not ideal for hosting a custom token. Those include high volatility and scaling issues, but also legal and even political concerns.
For that very reason, there has been an upsurge of crypto platforms that were designed to mitigate the shortcomings of their predecessors. For example, NXT boasted the superiority of their proof-of-stake consensus protocol which most importantly could remedy scalability issues while Ripple was specifically tailored to ‘blockchainize’ finance and banking spheres.
But then there are concerns that transcend mere utility and convenience. We must not forget that we still live in a world where countries, cultures, and politics exist. And those do invariably influence the development of blockchain industry.
Examples are many, but some just really stand out. For instance, Chinese crypto platform NEO (former Antshares) can be safely put in this category. Being the first open source blockchain developed in China, NEO has been branded as Chinese Ethereum from the start.
In the light of China’s recent ban on ICOs, there has been much speculation concerning the reason for this move. Many believe that while Chinese officials are interested in blockchain market, they are somewhat worried about its role in the noticeable capital outflow from the country.
Without governmental approval, no digital token is legal in China, but there is a persistent rumor that NEO crypto platform is being regarded as a possible officially vetted venue for all Chinese ICOs.
Another vivid example of regional crypto platform is Siberian Chervonets or SibCoin. Initially conceived as a local altcoin, akin to Iceland’s AuroraCoin and Liverpool Local Pound, it has soon outgrown its niche.
Just like in China there is a certain amount of distrust and fear of cryptocurrencies among Russian officials. Not to mention that many Russians are reluctant to use Bitcoin due to certain linguistic and cultural barriers.
As a local cryptocurrency SibCoin started by promoting blockchain on the grassroots level and integrating SIB into Russian real sector. Since 2015 the coin has seen massive growth both in capitalization and adoption.
Becoming the Russian go-to cryptocurrency it was soon forced to meet the growing community demand for issuance of custom tokens. Borrowing Coinprism technology SibCoin has created an infrastructure for creating sidechains for custom digital assets and currencies.
What makes Russia and China so similar? Perhaps their desire to participate in the global economy on their terms (if that is at all possible). This trend may seem very conservative and isolationist but there is also another angle to it. After all such local crypto platforms still proliferate the ideas of decentralized economy and blockchain technology among broad audiences, which in turn plays toward strengthening global crypto-economy.