What is BLOCKv?
BLOCKv Guide & Review
There are many exciting cryptocurrencies and other crypto-based technologies that are developing in the marketplace today. It is a new gold rush, in a sense, with companies and organizations vying to establish a foothold in this new and dynamic realm. While distributed cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or Bitcoin have already demonstrated some of their potentials, the blockchain-based, distributed model for commerce still remains immature and untapped to its full potential. BLOCKv seeks to solve that problem.
BLOCKv is unlike other cryptocurrencies or crypto projects on the market. Rather than being a purely financial instrument like Bitcoin or Ethereum, it uses the same technology model to develop and implement a protocol to form the foundation of the digital economy. BLOCKv seeks to provide a platform where developers can create and market “smart objects” – really, any digital media – through blockchain technology. In essence, this would provide the benefits of blockchain that has been so touted with cryptocurrencies, and link it into the buying, selling, redeeming, and trading of digital goods and services.
Specifically, BLOCKv (sometimes written incorrectly as BLOCK v, or in token/currency form used acceptably as just “VEE”) wants to make it such that content providers and developers can integrate the digital goods and service economy in ways that provide value-added assets to their brand, product, or service. Examples include transactions for in-game purchases, the selling of audio, video, or other multimedia, code, and files, premium content for entertainment and leisure, digital art, and much more. There is really no limit, as with most blockchain technologies – once the specification is defined, a smart object can really be almost anything, so long as it is digital.
This is referenced in their supporting materials as a “user interface moment”, a term coined by futurist and businessman Peter Diamandis to describe when a platform or user interface comes along to allow something previously difficult to become much easier, and unlock the full revenue potential of underlying technology. An example he often cites is the iPhone and the App Store. Apple created a marketplace for easy publishing of applications and allowed creativity and innovation on the part of developers that would have been unheard of prior to its implementation.
What Is BLOCKv?
To dig a bit deeper into exactly what BLOCKv is, it is necessary to understand the nature of blockchain technology. In simple terms, blockchain technology is a transparent, distributed, and de-centralized means of keeping accounts and ledgers of objects, usually coins or tokens, and their associated values. Further, most of these technologies support what are called “smart contracts”, allowing for an easy transaction between contract parties.
However, one of the big drawbacks to this technology becoming more widespread in the market is the lack of a common interface or developer layer to bring those countless opportunities for digital goods transactions to the masses in a simple, easy-to-use way. BLOCKv specifically looks to become that interface platform.
Utilizing the ERC20 token standard, VEE is smart contract tokens, and are foundational to the BLOCKv platform. Virtual Atoms, or vAtoms, are the name for the smart object class that can be almost any digital good or service. So, vAtoms are the objects that users purchase, see, and interact within their digital wallet, and BLOCKv is the development platform and distribution interface to facilitate the transactions and other related tasks, which are ultimately built on blockchain and executed with VEE.
BLOCKv took around 2 years to develop before proceeding to a state where an initial coin offering, or ICO, for VEE took place, in October 2017. This is essentially the funding buy-in by developers and creators who are interested in the platform, as the VEE will be the token used to transact within the BLOCKv stack. The ICO (also called a TGE – token generation event) saw the company raise over $20M USD in Ethereum in order to generate over 3 billion tokens.
How BLOCKv Works
BLOCKv works on the model of an overall technology stack. At the base is the link to the existing blockchain technologies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Atop that sits the blockchain layer, putting those protocols into action. Above that is the registry, which is essentially the management system for vAtoms. The nucleus sits next up the stack, which has the mechanics for transactions, notifications, events, etc. The marketplace exchange is next, which is where vAtoms are listed, bought, and sold. At the very top is the SDK and API layer, which allows for deployment and use/viewing of vAtoms across all platforms and technologies.
In general, BLOCKv sees itself as the protocol and marketplace for developers and creators to develop and manage the protocol in the form of templates for smart objects. The developers generate the code and interfaces for different templates of vAtom assets. These then go into a library or store for use by publishers. They may be developed open-source or as specific jobs, with rewards in the form of VEE. The publishers create vAtoms, using the templates from the developers, and deploy the virtual goods onto the marketplace to be bought, sold, or traded. Publishers pay a fee in VEE in order to create and generate these vAtoms. Cyclers (essential computers) run the technology and calculations to reach consensus and are rewarded with VEE.
This distributed computing model means that developers are not shackled to a specific environment or system to do things, allowing for cheap, widespread adoption across different technologies and scale seamlessly. A user purchases, trades, or interacts with a vAtom from a publisher in whichever form the digital good takes. The important thing is that vAtoms are embedded with code that make them unique and individual, cannot be copied, and provide authentic, traceable ownership to the users. There are several more detailed steps in the transaction process, and triggers for VEE to be required or paid out, but this is the most simplified overview of the players and the process.
What is Virtual Atom?
The Virtual Atom, or vAtom, is the asset class that the BLOCKv platform is based on. Essentially, these are bits of code that can be written to define almost any digital good, and then a single vAtom is an instantiation of one of these templates. They are the ultimate “item” that publishers put up for sale on the marketplace, and that users buy and own. They have a number of unique features, including being finite, authentic, transferrable, possessable, traceable, programmable, combinable, redeemable, network aware, and possess artificial intelligence and behaviors for interactions.
A good example provided in the company’s white paper is for a template for a digital pizza. That template would, in turn, be based on one of the base classes of the BLOCKv platform. A specific instance of that pizza template becomes a vAtom, with specific ingredients, price, and other details. It has different states and functions associated with it. When a user or anyone wishes to interact with the vAtom, a method is called in the code. Any method from the template for an object is known as a reactor. The method can change various aspects of the vAtom state, for example, routing the pizza to be cooked. Ownership changes happen on a system level, but the same principles apply – triggering the pizza ownership to change to the user once it is delivered.
There are a great many other aspects to the system as well, but this provides the most relevant view of what a vAtom really is.
BLOCKv Plans and Roadmap
The BLOCKv crypto platform is currently in the beta/testing stage of development. It’s undergoing testing and tweaking while allowing developers to work on the templates and integrate with SDKs and APIs. All of the code bases, SDKs and APIs are available in this beta, and additional elements are added on an ongoing basis. This means the vast majority of development, standards, and implementation work is complete, as well as the ICO. By fall 2018, they intend to launch version 2.0 of the platform, which will open things up to the publisher base. Finally, the company expects to have additional language SDKs supported soon, as well as increased developer analytics tools.
BLOCKv Value and Price Growth
The value to BLOCKv is measured by VEE tokens, as previously discussed. At the time of the initial sale, this translated into $0.0207 USD per token, raising around $21.5M in funds. The price has fluctuated significantly since then, mostly in line with BTC and ETH trends, reaching as high as $0.30 in January 2018, and has steadily declined back down to ICO levels since then. Some of the tokens generated are not in circulation (around 1B), as they are reserved as part of the economy scheme (more detailed information is available in the company’s white paper). As the beta of the platform continues, and especially once publisher access is available, the value is expected to rise significantly once again.
In summary, BLOCKv is an ambitious new platform for developers, publishers, and users, to create and transact digital goods with true ownership, in the form of vAtoms. It holds tremendous potential for digital goods, promotions, collectibles, in-game items, and much more to be easily created, managed, and truly owned by users. The VEE token currency allows the ecosystem to work between the company, developers, and publishers, as well as third-party processing power and similar. The company is on track with their development roadmap and the service should be out of beta and open to publishers soon – then the content and marketplace will really start to flourish.