Tomorrow, the APEX blockchain project will open their ICO to whitelisting for the public Initial Coin Offering (ICO). This project has indeed gained a great deal of attention recently as it has expanded its team.
Based in China, this team has a really interesting value proposition as they try to tackle the contentious of data ownership online. This has been incredibly important recently as many have taken issue with centralised data collection methods.
APEX wants to give the power of consumer data back to the consumer. They want to allow the consumer the opportunity to monetise their data directly and take the power of data collection away from centralised forces and place them on the blockchain.
This is no doubt an interesting value proposition given the level of animosity there is these days to tracking consumers online.
We will take an in-depth look at the ICO and determine whether it could be considered a good investment.
Overview of Industry
Currently, the way that consumer data is collected is through large centralised companies that obtain this data from you when you agree to it in the Terms and Conditions.
Similarly, when you sign up to a website that asks for your personal information, they are asking you to waive any rights that you may have to that data. This is often collected in mass and sold on to third parties at a profit.
The current methods of collection is not only a problem for the consumers but is also of concern to the buyers of the data. There is often very little oversight they may have as to where this data came from. Sometimes the data that is sold is of shoddy quality and not much use to the company.
Moreover, there are regulations that are on the way that will introduce stricter laws when it comes to collecting personal data. For example, on the 25th of May the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) will be introduced which will place limits on the sale and collection of personal data.
Enter the APEX Solution
APEX aims to change the fundamental flow and structure of consumer driven data. They are building a Business to Consumer (B2C) platform that will allow the consumers to sell their data directly to the Business themselves.
Technically, the consumers will use the CPX wallet application and will interact with the Brands and businesses there. They will have full control over their data as well as where it will be used and who can buy it.
Once they have decided that they are comfortable selling their data to a particular brand, they are then able to get rewarded in CPX tokens. These tokens will allow these consumers to either purchase rewards or sell them on the open market through an exchange.
More importantly, there are no middlemen or data collecting services with full transparency. The consumer will be able to see exactly where their data is used and the business itself can see where it has come from.
The NEXUS Enterprise Applications
The project will start off as a hybrid mix between on and off-chain solutions. The value transfer and consent will be handled on-chain. For the time being, the NEXUS platform will be used for off-chain data analytics operations. This will be the enterprise client application for the businesses.
This platform, which was developed by Chinapex, has already proved itself as an existing enterprise solution with over 250 clients making use of it. It will allow the brands to analyse the data that they have acquired and more appropriately filter for the data that could be of interest to them.
The NEXUS platform is built on top of the Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing infrastructure. These clients will also be allowed to connect to the NEXUS API such that they can use their own internal systems in conjunction with the tools on NEXUS.
Consumer App (CPX Wallet)
Apex Mobile Application for Consumers
On the consumer side, you have the consumer application. This will be a mobile app that will allow the consumers to interact with the APEX ecosystem and control their data and monitor where and when it is being used.
It will also be the way in which the consumer will earn the CPX tokens. These will accrue over time based on which brands are using the data. The more brands that the consumer give permission to then the more tokens that they will earn.
They are also able to use the app to find those brands that they would like to provide information to and allow them to access specific data as well as engage with them in a particular way.
In terms of engagement, brands are also able to send interested consumers information and offers through the direct messaging functionality. When these consumers open the message or interact in some way, they are again rewarded with the tokens.
When it comes to the consent by the consumers as well as the CPX Tokens that are given to the consumers for said data, they will all be added to the NEO blockchain and the exchange will be executed by smart contracts.
This is great from a transparency and reporting standpoint. It means that the confirmation of consent from the consumer is logged and stored in an immutable fashion on the decentralised blockchain.
Blockchain technology also eliminates the need for any intermediary or centralised agency to facilitate the transfer of that data for the tokens. The code is also available for public view further adds to the transparency of the protocol.
The NEO blockchain is also a highly efficient choice for APEX. There are numerous benefits of NEO when compared to similar blockchain protocols.
Strong Backers & Parners
Like other strong ICO projects such as Coinfirm AMLT and Power Ledger, there is already an established and successful company that is behind the APEX ICO. In this case the company is Chinapex which is based in Beijing, China.
Chinapex is a large data and technology company which also has offices in Silicon Valley as well as a satellite office in Hong Kong. Clients that have been on their roster include BMW, Standard Chartered and Casio.
As such, most of the team driving the APEX ICO are people who have extensive experience in the business. Some have impressive resumes that include previous employers such as Microsoft and Alibaba.
There are also a great number of partnerships that the APEX project has already racked up. For example, they have amassed a great deal of free credits from Azure and AWS in order to deploy their off-chain solution in NEXUS.
They have also leveraged this relationship such that they are able to bring more brands onto the platform. For example, AWS will provide APEX brands from a number of different sectors. There is a similar agreement like this in place for Alibaba cloud.
All current and Prospective partners of APEX
There are also a number of other partnerships with some of the biggest names in technology in China. These include collaborations with companies such as Baidu, Oracle, Tencent and WeChat.
Hence, there is no doubt that once the APEX project is live, it will hit the ground running.
There are few concerns that one can raise with regards to the use case for APEX. Firstly, although the transfer of value is taking place on the blockchain in a decentralised manner, the data is still retained in a centralised cloud infrastructure.
This means that although funds are safe from hacks and institutions, user information is still available in a centralised location. There is also a central point of failure that the system will have to rely on. Many people think that securing user data on the blockchain is safest long term option.
There is also a few questions that have been raised as to the incentives for particular businesses to use the services. If consumer data is only meant to be shared with those companies that they trust, then that leaves out a whole swathe of potential data users.
The main reason that many of these companies will purchase this data is because these are consumers who are not aware of their products and services yet. Hence, they may not be able to get through to these users if they are only getting the data of those that know the company.
Another concern that was raised is that blockchain technology may not be the most efficient solution for GDPR compliance. This is best argued in this article on csonline. Hence, one can wonder how well the NEO blockchain will work for these means.
APEX ICO Specifics
The ICO has already completed a successful presale yet the whitelisting for the public sale starts tomorrow the 15th of January at 5pm. Below is more information about the project.
- Whitepaper Link
- Token Ticker: CPX
- Exchange Ratio: 1 NEO -> 1,000 CPX
- Hardcap at Crowdsale: $25m
- Token Disribution: 50% to pre & crowd sale, 15% to team & advisors, 10% held in reserve and 25% for capex
- Toke Release Timeline: Distribution will end on 26th of February with trading taking place in early March
The APEX ICO is no doubt an interesting project with a relatively strong use case. The fact that there is already a strong company and team behind the ICO adds more weight and confidence to it.
Moreover, given that they have interesting partnerships with a large number of companies means that they have a great deal of “buy in” from industry heavyweights.
Despite the fact that blockchain technology may not the most efficient for implementing GDPR, the use of the NEO ecosystem is indeed a strong factor given the numerous technological advantages of NEO.
Is it worth an investment?
We cannot provide investment advice at the Coin Bureau but if you are of the view that a decentralised user data marketplace is the future, then APEX could be worthy of it.
Disclaimer: These are writer opinions and should not be considered investment advice
Images via Chinapex.com and APEX Whitepaper