Will Small Companies Beat Large Corporations if They Use Blockchain?

An American startup is building a blockchain agnostic protocol in a bid to provide small businesses with affordable access to new technology, and drive the mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Opporty, with experienced founders from the U.S., has also set up a “trusted and verified services marketplace” on the Ethereum blockchain, with features such as smart contracts, decentralized escrow, and lead generation. The company believes its platform helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to compete with large corporations, without requiring large investments in technology and marketing.

Widespread coverage

By now, Opporty has launched its platform’s localizations in China, the UK, Canada, the USA, and Australia. As the company reported to Cointelegraph, currently there are approximately up to 10 registrations per day, by new providers on the platform. “Therefore, we observe that SMEs are ready to grow and benefit with Opporty, an online Marketplace that cares,” added the company’s representative.

First providers already signed up

In the beginning of 2018, Opporty has acquired two new clients in New York. Both offer crypto payment options on their websites.

Universal Accounting Systems, uses the company’s platform to allow its clients to pay with Bitcoin and Ethereum for tax preparation and other services. It uses Opporty’s smart widget to offer its clients a simple view of its services, and allows them to pay with cryptocurrency.

Hudson Law Group, a midtown firm headed by David Treyster, has posted some customized crypto-based offerings for its clients using the Opporty marketplace. It also uses the smart widget and has already begun receiving crypto transactions through it.

The company says, the amount of U.S.-based providers which registered on the platform has increased. The Australian version, which has recently been released, already has new providers that accept crypto payments, including OPP, the company’s token.

The widgets by Opporty allow users to receive payments from customers. Companies that have listed their crypto-based offers at Opporty, ​get smart widgets on their websites​. Once the widget is placed, consumers can choose from several payment options, including ETH and BTC.

“Small business owners now realize that cryptocurrencies can give them a head start over their competition,” Opporty founder Sergey Grybniak said in a release. Opporty enables anyone to use cryptocurrency, and the attendant benefits of blockchain, without having to master the underlying technology, the entrepreneur added.

Opporty’s Plasma Protocol

In March 2018, the Opporty team decided to implement ​Ethereum’s Plasma Protocol to “resolve the trust issues in business transactions and lack of privacy in traditional blockchain solutions.” The ​First backend version of Opporty’s Plasma solution allowed users to process around 5,000 transactions per second, the company said.

“Then we have decided to come up with our own solution for ​Plasma Cash​, an enhancement technology for Plasma Protocol. After tireless work, our developers managed to enhance the technology​ to achieve the highest public test, which was more than Alipay at peak,” reported the Opporty team to Cointelegraph.

Opporty’s B2B platform allows providers to list their offerings on the B2B services marketplace in a targeted manner, post requests for proposals, receive bids, and execute deals.

The company claims that it resolves trust and sustainability problems between counterparties by storing business transaction data, including transaction quality, on the blockchain. It enables verification and validation of counterparty trustworthiness by implementing the Plasma Protocol. Its benefits position Opporty as a reliable option for domestic and cross-border transactions using cryptocurrencies, which can be used in supply chain risk management, corporate transactions and government procurements. The PoE protocol allows integration with other blockchain-powered platforms.

Big Achievements

Opporty’s project is constantly acquiring new updates and features, such as BLS threshold signatures and Delegated Proof of Stake, zk-SNARKs.

Right now Opporty is in its beta development, with MVP (Minimum Viable Product) already available for application and use. The open-source code has been released on GitHub.

Opporty is a member of China Cooperative Trade Enterprise Association, and the company is advised by Mr. Daniel Wu, who is a Deputy Director of One Belt One Road Development center.

In April 2018, Opporty joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open source blockchain initiative. EEA is a non-profit organization that supports Ethereum-based technology best practices and the whole industry.

The company is proud to be a partner of InfiniVision Network Technology (Shanghai) in the fields of big data and blockchain integrations.

In 2018, ​Opporty has scored two Bronze Awards​, a renowned reward among entrepreneurs and innovators. It won the Stevie International Business Competition in the following nominations: Company of the Year  —  Business or Professional Services  —  Small category, and Online Marketing Campaign of the Year category.

Understanding that an online marketplace could be something much more than just a business product, Opporty has become a UN Global Compact participant. Taking part in this initiative, the Opporty team conducts research work in the fields of resolving issues of poverty and unemployment.

OPP, the company’s token, is already available on several exchanges, and the list is being updated.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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A Small Crypto Coin Is Making Big Claims About a Private Proof-of-Stake

If any coin is going to fly under the radar, it makes sense for a privacy coin to do so.

Spectre (not be confused with a separate project called SPECTRE), created two crypto tokens – the aptly named spectre token and the xspec token – in 2016, but hasn’t received much notice from the crypto community so far. Sure enough, its tokens rank in the 500s according to data provider CoinMarketCap, with a total market capitalization of $5.7 million – paltry by many crypto standards.

But that might soon change, as the project is taking a growing interest in a technology called staking.

A number of alternative proof-of-stake systems have launched recently (EOS, Tezos, Neo, Tron), with varying degrees of success, though all of which have commanded large market caps buoyed by big investors.

These systems assign the task of verifying blockchain transactions to a certain number of delegates, representatives of sorts which are voted in by the token holders. While token holders don’t necessarily identify themselves, according to Spectre’s pseudonymous founder, Mandica, there’s a huge privacy problem within these systems.

“All the UTXOs [unspent transaction outputs] spent to generate staking transactions are traceable on the blockchain and all the staking transactions can be linked and your balances are visible to anyone who knows how to analyze the blockchain,” Mandica told CoinDesk.

But the Spectre team, which has been tinkering away on various privacy tools for blockchains for the past couple years, thinks it’s found a way to make staking stealthy as well.

While the technology isn’t ready yet, the team hasn’t been reserved about its ambitions.

“From a user point of view you will be able to keep your entire balance of anonymous coins safe from any observer and you will just need to stake your wallet to receive further anonymous coins that nobody can attribute to you,” Mandica said, continuing:

“This is a unique proposition, and no other cryptocurrency, as far as I know, has a system to stake anonymous coins and generate fresh anonymous coins.”

Entropy in open wallets

While the full picture of how this all works isn’t clear yet (the group hasn’t put out a white paper, though, on social channels, it’s promising one soon), the basic premise is borrowed from another privacy-oriented coin: monero, specifically its ring signature technology.

Ring signatures allow anyone in a particular group to sign a transaction, making it impossible to determine exactly which participants’ keys signed the transaction.

But that still leaves the nodes, which aren’t invisible, able to see the transactions. As such, the Spectre team went to work designing a fix.

“The ‘anonymous’ coins are created using stealth address technology and one-time key pairs, and [they] reside on the blockchain as un-linkable UTXOs that can only be spent by proving ownership through the use of ring signatures and key-images based on the Cryptonote protocol,” Mandica said.

While that’s a bit challenging to parse – and the Spectre team was cautious about explaining in too much detail – there are some clues as to what the system entails.

For instance, users that contribute to the network by leaving their wallets connected to the internet can earn a minimum of a 5 percent annual income on their tokens. Although the fewer people that have their wallets open and online, the higher this yield goes (providing an incentive to others to do it).

Mandica declined to explain in detail what these wallets are doing, but he did say that the “proof-of-stealth” algorithm the team is employing is designed to take advantage of the creation of new tokens with no prior history to increase entropy used to mask the true transactions.

He told CoinDesk:

“Entropy is key in a system using ring signatures to create a large pool of mixins or ‘dummy’ coins that can be used in the ring signature protected anonymous transactions.”

Based on other descriptions of ring signature schemes, protocols need a steady stream of unspent transactions to mask the real transactions. And this may be what those open wallets are doing.

Anonymous to the core

According to the team, in its next major release, the new proof-of-stealth staking mechanism for anonymous coins – the spectre coin is the anonymous one – will complement the proof-of-stake version 3 (PoSv3) algorithm the blockchain already uses.

But this work is just the latest privacy-centric tooling the Spectre team has come up with.

Even those without an unusually high privacy consciousness will be familiar with Tor, an acronym for “The Onion Router,” a scheme for masking internet users’ activity online and even accessing sites intentionally invisible to search engines like Google. Spectre has already built Tor into its systems and even went further, implementing Tor product, “OBSF4,” which allows users to skirt national firewalls, such as those in China and Iran.

The team itself functions anonymously too. In fact, a spokesperson for the Spectra team told CoinDesk that the developers themselves don’t even know each other’s real names.

And even though, with this kind of anonymity it would have been easy to just walk away, the team didn’t give up – even when it’s initial coin offering (ICO) flopped and its project was lacking vitality, while all around them crypto projects, some without serious intent, raised millions by selling tokens.

“We started out in 2016 with a very unsuccessful ICO that raised only 16 BTC at a time when the BTC price was around $600-$700, so we didn’t make it far on those funds,” Mandica said.

Spectre did secure private funding (amount undisclosed) earlier this year, but still the project remains just an after-hours project for the team. Instead of building with the monetary encouragement of the free market, Mandica and his team are building because they believe in the mission.

And that mission is all about one of crypto’s favorite ideas: unbridled privacy.

In a newsletter from June, Mandica explains how best to think about the project:

“The best way to understand Spectre today is to think of bitcoin + Proof-of-Stake.v3 + anonymous transactions (using similar technology to monero) + Tor to hide your IP.”

Venetian mask image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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