Akropolis
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Akropolis

Photo by David Boca on Unsplash
  1. Tech stack migrated to Rust+WASM to ensure robustness, compliance with enterprise standards and cross-chain portability. To this end, we added three Rust engineers to our team.
  2. Approached by the World Bank Group and a leading Irish life insurer ($90bn AuM)
  3. IBM technical partnership for enterprise application defined and MoU in progress

A Re-cap: What problem are we addressing?

Pensions are boring and complicated. Yet pension funds own almost half of the world’s total assets by value. Globally, they represent over USD47.0 trillion in asset value, whilst in Europe, pensions are one of the largest and most profitable markets with combined assets of EUR7.0 trillion.

The Coming Retirement Crisis

Our Solution

What we are targeting is a complex issue, that we believe is one of the limited number of a genuine real-world blockchain applications with ability to materially impact millions of users and therefore drive adoption, driven by need rather than entertainment, whereby alternatives can be developed without reliance on traditional “trusted intermediaries”. As such, systems design and economic incentives design as just as important as the code.

  • Ability to create a user-centric system, with user self-sovereignty of their data and assets
  • Any qualified party can set up a digital “pension fund”: unraidable and provably solvent at all times
  • Programmable money: allows a sender to programme the destination into the transaction, ensuring that funds are spent for a specific purpose
  • Ability to create novel payout models, especially for “communities of interest”
  • Ability to create novel, user-defined contribution and benefit schedules
  • Marketplace for fulfillment of investment mandates
  • Improvement on UBI — due to matching mechanism, “salary/earnings top-up”, by a benefactor, corporation, government, anonymous philanthropist, etc.
  • Same-day and fractional liquidity, if the fund permits it
  • Real-time transparency
  • Contribution or benefit pausing
  • Automated enrolment, administration and reporting
  • Micropensions
  • Pensions/savings platform for freelancers (benefits: portable immutable track record)
  • Open-source pensions/savings platform for decentralised communities of interest
  • Transparent pensions marketplace
  • Programmable pensions/benefits (multi-jurisdictional over time)
  • UBI delivery platform linked to partial or full employment

Where is the Innovation?

Ecosystem and Business Development

During October and November, we received direct inbound requests from the World Bank Group in Washington and the largest life insurance company in Ireland via a San-Francisco InsureTech incubator. We presented our protocol and vision to both organisations, provided a vision for how a blockchain and smart contract enabled infrastructure can align incentives, eliminate costs, and provide to an increasingly mobile workforce a compelling alternative. We also shared a high level overview of our business model, market development and partnering strategy. Both institutions requested a follow-up and proposed collaboration.

  1. Institutional clients or partners pipeline: In addition to our existing relationship with a leading Singaporean pensions asset manager, our pipeline currently includes responding to inbound inquiries from the World Bank Group, a number of life insurance companies and leading global pensions advisory teams looking for alternative solutions.
  2. Technology partnerships: we are in MoU stage with several blockchain companies in Korea and Europe. The flagship partnership with a leading global enterprise solutions provider is planned for early 2019.
  3. Ecosystem development: we are happy to announce that we joined a DeFi Network, alongside Dharma, Set Protocol, Maker, and other notable teams moving our ecosystem forward. Our involvement and participation will be covered in the next post.
  4. Academic partnerships: we will be announcing a DeFi venture initiative with two of the leading academic research centres for Blockchain and Big Data in the UK.
  5. Grant-making bodies: we have been invited to apply for a European Commission fintech grant through the initiative established as part of the EU plan to invest €340 million in blockchain tech by 2020.

Development Update

We are making some of the repos public in our GitHub, where you can monitor our development progress. Our interim MVUs can be found in November and August repos. Last month, we updated our GitHub with smart contract backbone and key user journeys.

Current Work

As a result of the decision to migrate to Rust+WASM, we revised our tech stack to ensure as technology evolves, we can produce a more secure, faster, universal protocol capable of portability across chains, thus minimising dependency on a single blockchain.

Future Work

Protocol development

  • Ongoing protocol specification [current work]
  • Working on commitments to future cash flows specification and implementation
  • Integration and initial implementation to reduce dependency on Ethereum as we are closely monitoring the scalability progress
  • Reporting: creating a unified blockchain explorer for transaction monitoring inside the Akropolis network
  • Integration with Binance’s Trustwallet
  • Improved UX/UI [in progress]
  • Institutional pilot scoping — user feedback gathering and case study modelling
  • Blockchain client pilot scoping — user feedback gathering and case study modelling

Research & Development

We continue with our R&D efforts to improve the token utility, which is an industry-wide challenge. The team has structured its work around four pillars:

  1. Token model improvements
  2. Economic and governance incentives
  3. Mathematical modelling
  4. Real-world testing
  1. How can we ensure that users get the best possible selection from a list of options given the voter apathy? In other words, to how align economic incentives over 2 conflicting types of actors of capital providers and service providers over long time frames (beneficiaries vs. fund managers and pension fund managers)
  2. Prevent collusions and reduce attack vectors
  1. PyMC3 for dynamic modeling using Markoff Chain Monte Carlo
  2. TensorFlow, Keras for solving optimization tasks
  3. NumPy, scikit-learn, StatsModels — mathematical program packages

Conclusion

Despite a deeply bearish sentiment in the cryptocurrency market and anticipation of a long winter, the interest amongst a wider traditional investor community in the problem we are addressing is only rising. As a genuine use case for the application of the blockchain technology, our mission also has a strong economic and social element. With an increasing number of market incumbent under pressure to find or fund solutions, our plan is to identify and execute on effective routes to market, as the ecosystem matures.

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The Financial Protocol for the Informal Economy

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Akropolis

Akropolis

Akropolis is a provider of decentralised finance products that give users access to efficient and sustainable passive yield generation on multiple chains.

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