2018 in review
The story so far… #BUIDL
When we decided to focus solely on decentralised technology form BlockRocket at the beginning of the year we didn’t really know what to expect other than we knew we wanted to be working in the blockchain space and it was the right time for us.
Being strong technically and understanding blockchain has got us into lots of interesting conversations and we have had to adapt quickly and understand our clients needs and how to build propositions that add value to businesses.
As with the cryptocurrency markets we have had up and downs throughout the year but unlike the general price of bitcoin we feel we are on an upward trend heading into 2019.
The brutal bear market of 2018 has certainly separated the wheat from the chaff and exposed parties using the term blockchain to sell unrealistic ideas or get rich quick schemes. Theoretically, going into 2019 this means those with solid use cases and a good understandings of potential of distributed ledger technologies remain to build web 3.0. We are long on blockchain and our message has been consistent and we hope we helped many organisations this year take their first decentralised steps and we are looking forward to help more going forward.
An important part of our evolution so far has been directly influenced by the project we’ve been involved in. Let’s have a little review of impact we have made so far…
In the summer we were accepted in the Manchester Tech Incubator, focused on small tech oriented start-ups and the move has been a positive one. Environments like this try to foster innovation and help guide fledgling businesses, something which we have found useful in the last few months.
At our core we are committed to helping people and businesses understand and grow the world of Blockchain technology through Blockchain Manchester; our open community group. This year we managed to grow our community to nearly 550 members, running 5 meetups, averaging 60 people in attendance.
Over the year we covered a huge range of topics spanning blockchains such as NEO, Stellar and IOTA to topics such as self sovereign identity, security tokens, oracles (by Oraclize) and non-fungible tokens.
We’ve spoken at conferences and presented in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and London. The next meetup is being planned for January 2019 and we hope see lots of new and old faces and to continue to introduce more people to the technology and it’s benefits. We must thank Equal Experts and their partner Geraint Dawe who have sponsored all events and made sure all who attend have pizza fuelling their evening 🍕.
We also managed to raise some awareness and funds for good causes at the annual Manchester Science fair by joining forces with Dr Thomas Martin from Manchester Metropolitan University.
Demystifying how to send transactions on a blockchain at the Manchester Science Festival.medium.com
KnownOrigin — A digital asset marketplace
Our passion and our product, KnownOrigin was born from a marriage of digital art, popup galleries, provenance and cryptocurrency. We are still learning about the best techniques to build and run a fully compliant dApp on the main Ethereum chain.
KnowOrigin has pivoted several times over the past year, we have re-written the application twice, each time improving and introducing new features. We created a new and improved ERC-721 compliant contract when we understood what we were trying to achieve, this improved contract has rich feature set which we hope gives us enough flexibility to scale as we grow.
We iteratively enhanced the platform with additional tools for the artists, high-resolution downloads for the users, in addition to running several creative challenges to help spread the love around NFTs and promote innovative digital artists.
We have sold over 600 pieces of digital art so far this year 😍 and we display more than 1900 assets from 45 artists. The digital art market is still niche but growing rapidly. Our road map is ambitious and we will continue to invest into the KnownOrigin and its vision.
2018 started much like the end of 2017, ICOs were attracting businesses to blockchain as a new vehicle to kickstart projects and raise funds. We were involved in three token generating events this year, advising on technology choices, building proof-of-concepts, auditing and writing smart contracts.
We helped build tokens, orchestrate an ICO, and help understand tokenomics. Months of core Solidity development with Ethereum has made contract development one of our strongest facets.
A deep understanding of smart contracts and tokenisation allowed us to partner with BlockRocket to design a platform and currency ready for the future— Peter Edgar (Investx)
Having battle hardened experience in designing, building, testing, attacking and deploying Solidity contracts has stood us in good stead. We have found it takes time, patience, lots and lots of automated (and manual) testing to ensure smart contracts are bulletproof. You gain an understanding of the nuances of the language and behaviour of the Ethereum Virtual Machine. We are still learning everyday and we hope to build on this foundation going forward.
We also have performed deep dives into the Stellar blockchain through our ICO partnerships as this is viable alternative to Ethereum when faster speed and lower transactions become a key driver. We are very bullish on Stellar and have built prototypes and performed analysis and see this technology going from strength to strength.
A breakdown of how Stellar and Pixie could work togethermedium.com
Sentiment has shifted regarding ICOs but we have seen the interest in security token offerings grow as the year progressed. This is the natural culmination of real world compliance and regulation joining forces with a power of distributed ledgers.
We predict Security Tokens will be the game changer for this year and 2019 in the crypto-sphere.medium.com
Consultancy has formed a key part of our proposition. Businesses want to understand if and how blockchain could enhance or disrupt their industry.
We have run numerous workshops with clients that help educate and explore how this nascent technology could lead to digital transformation and added value.
Wakelet are a forward thinking and rapidly growing start-up based in Manchester. Originally our paths crossed during a northern powerhouse round table we participated in run by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.
Wakelet are content creation platform. We helped with core consultancy around their plans for an incentivisation and rewards engine that is a great potential use-case for distributed ledger technology. We love the product and build wakes to collate and chronologically track our published work and social activity.
We discuss the potential and impact of decentralisation daily with interested parties from all industries. Martin Dempster, VP of innovation for BrewDog has popped into the incubator to explore ideas on how decentralisation and tokenisation. We hope to start to applying some of our learnings to this great brand and engaged customer base.
Along our journey we have been in contact with some great minds in the space and hope for this to follow. One such person if David Atkinson @dcatk from Holochain, he has helped out on various projects we have been involved in and continues to be a great source of knowledge and friend as we continue to move forward with BlockRocket into 2019.
The BlockRocket team are great at what they do. They like to build distributed applications that matter and that work. I can safely recommend them knowing that they are going to give advice that is in the best interest of the project, and they are going to build stuff that works. How many blockchain dev shops can you say that about?
David Atkinson — Holochain
One of our Blockchain Manchester members is the CEO of ODIN Blockchain and Obsidian Platform, and at one of our meetups approached to ask us if we were able to get involved with the project. This lead to some very interesting work, including a raft of research and development work assisting their global development team to build out prototypes for a secure encrypted messaging application built using the Signal protocol. We look to work more with these guys in 2019 and now after getting knee deep in Signal hope to offer this knowledge to others who wish to build on the protocol.
We have been discussing and thinking about customer engagement a lot. The ability to tokenise things and send them between people opens up a world of use-cases that enhance currently outdate propositions in loyalty, rewarding, ticketing, incentivisation, and so forth
OpenTally was born out of this thinking. It is a fully working prototype on the Stellar blockchain with tools to allow easy asset creation, reporting, exchange…and much more.
OpenTally has the potential to change the way users and businesses interact with each, changing reward and incentivisation patterns as well as creating a more open and useful system for both parties. Imagine a world where you can trade your coffee stamps for beer tokens or trade a haircut for a cinema ticket. This is where we think progress can be made and a real use case exists.
We have created a simple and user friendly platform which allows non crypto-savvy users to gain from the advantages of public ledger technologies and where businesses can get access to engaged and inventised user based with greater insight and reward for there efforts in areas such as customer retention.
We are in discussion with several retail clients to understand how this could be adopted and built in product that adds real value to any business. Reach out to use directly if you are interested in more details.
Our non-fungible journey began with KnownOrigin and over the year we have spoke to people all over the world about NFTs and helped clients and like-minded individuals build and understand collectables.
When we first met Toby, Lilly and Diego who are part of the CryptoDecks team it quickly became apparent that these guys are on our wavelength. We became part of the team to get the alpha release of CryptoDecks live. It is a coinmarketcap style solution but solely focusing on NFTs and their activity. What we love about the team is that they constantly ask for feedback on how they could improve — we totally get this as us and startups need to constantly validate ideas in order to build awesome products.
BlockRocket helped us quickly deliver and working alpha version of CryptoDecks. They’ve helped us avoid extra, unnecessary development. Smart and efficient. We’ve also teamed up to build RadiCards — a non profit, community driven NFT project. I can only say good things about them! — Tobia De Angelis
We formed a partnership with CoinJournal to venture into the physical world with NFTs. Using our solid understanding of ERC721 and building software solutions we released, maybe, the world’s first physical crypto-collectable with a tamper proof NFC chip (etched into the foot of the vinyl toy). At time of writing, the genesis batch is almost sold out and we are busy planning our next batch of figures.
It’s been a pleasure to bring the CryptoKaiju project to life with such a professional and knowledgable team. I look forward to working with BlockRocket in the future as we develop and improve our product — Oliver Carding
This is a fun project but we believe bridging the physical world to blockchain is going to have serious ramifications for many industries. We will continue to understand and explore this field and forecast further innovation in the coming years.
Putting the fun back into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a new blockchain startup, which today launches its individual…www.forbes.com
Born from an idea and collaboration with many like-minded developers and designers in the NFT scene and we couldn't resist getting involved knowing the project goals and who was working on it.
Send unique greeting eCards 💌 built on Ethereum & IPFS 🎁🎄
A fun way to support radically good projects that fight to keep our freedom alive
We’ve meet some great people who have brought this project to life and its been awesome working in a collaborative manner, with people all around the world, highlighting exactly why we love working in this space.
We originally meet 0xCert as they are one of few companies at the forefront of the non-fungible movement and they are doing great a job promoting its use and adoption as well as bringing the various disparate teams around the world working on NFTs together. We proudly joined the alliance and hope to participate in it further.
ArtBlocks is a platform that can power and produce unique generative art which is directly linked to tokenised ownership in the form of ERC-721 tokens.
Hopefully we will see good things happy to this platform in the future.
Upwards and onwards into 2019
2018 is coming to a close, our first year living and breathing blockchain, DLT and cryptocurrencies professionally from the trenches and not from the sidelines. We have no regrets and have worked on so many interesting projects but more importantly met dozens of amazing people on the journey.
We have upskilled in new technologies, learnt a tremendous amount of things about running a small startup and have certainly made our fair share of mistakes along the way. With each mistake, lost and won opportunity we have gained in understanding and experience, arming us for the year to come.
2019 is set to be a strong year for the industry as a whole in our opinion. We will do our (small) part in pushing it forward and driving adoption through applying it to real and genuine use cases. From experience we know we will keep learning and pushing our own boundaries everyday.
2018 was the year of #buidl. Will 2019 be the breakthrough year? We don’t know yet but we are ready for whatever challenges it brings!
Please reach out if you would like to work with us or simply know more about we do in the incubator day to day.