Polybius is the latest in a series of ventures to utilize blockchain technology. For those of you unfamiliar or in need of a quick reminder, a blockchain is a public ledger which contains the entire transactional history of whichever currency, or whatever thing, it is tracking. The transaction history recorded in a blockchain is regulated, verified and relayed by a network of nodes (computers run by miners) that mine for the code to verify the transactions recorded in a given block. The first miner to arrive at this code is rewarded in whatever currency they were verifying the transaction history of. Crucially, whatever the majority of nodes in the blockchain network agree upon as the true transaction history is the history that the blockchain adopts.
Once a block has been coded for (verified and relayed), the next block is laid in line. This, in effect, creates a traceable, verified and verifiable, nearly irreversible complete transaction history of the medium being recorded. Blockchain technology has many potential applications. One of the most exciting applications of this technology is Polybius.
Polybius: What Is It?
On its website, Polybius (PLBT) describes itself as "a project aimed to create a regulated bank for the digital generation." In a blog post on Medium, Poybius Bank Project described itself as "first and foremost ... a bank – just a normal bank, a financial institution for everyone." The bank will offer the "traditional selection of financial services such as deposits, credit financing, issuing bank cards etc. not only to Crypto startups, but also to normal businesses, and of course, individuals."
However, Polybius aims to distinguish itself from traditional banking institutions in a couple of ways.
First, Polybius will be a modern, digitized bank, aimed at improving convenience, accessibility, communication and security. This digitization will also cut expensive operating costs of non-digitized banks that are typically transferred to customers. This digitization will include a lot of automation, and the migration of agreements that are typically finalized in a physical bank to a digital one. For example, opening a bank account should be as easy as getting an email account, Polybius reasons: "You fill out an online form, you pass online authentication – and you're sorted." Additionally, Polybius aims to digitize records of all documentation within and transactions made with the bank in a blockchain. This will probably be in the Ethereum blockchain, where they are storing their smart contracts.
Second, Polybius will include a Digital Pass, which will act as "a decentralized repository of private information about the user from their credit history to their medical records ... which only they will have access to." This, too, will exist on the blockchain with Polybius acting as intermediary, verifying the data submitted by users. The Digital Pass will allow users to keep all of their information in a secure, digital location, and will give them the authority to release relevant and necessary information to different services when they so choose.
Third, Polybius will also be especially accommodating of crypto ventures and start-ups. (Read more, here: Is Ethereum More Important Than Bitcoin?)
The Polybius project has recently concluded a funding round. Instead of an IPO, or traditional crowdfunding, Polybius went with an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), which they describe here. The ICO removed the commission fees collected on crowdfunding sites, and allowed for smart contracts that exist in the Ethereum blockchain. These smart contracts facilitate a permanent relationship between Polybius and the individual that owns the contract (these smart contracts have been referred to as Polybius Tokens).
Essentially, these tokens indicate that owners of them will be paid out of Polybius' profits. So the token is the ownership of a contract in which Polybius has agreed to pay out 20% of company earnings to owners of these smart contracts, annually (the other 80% will be reinvested into the project). And these tokens are valid as long as the Polybius Project exists and is functioning.
While the smart contracts exist within the Ethereum blockchain and Polybius is a bank that works for cryptocurrencies and startups, it is important to note that the money in the bank that is Polybius and Polybius Tokens will both be guaranteed not by a cryptocurrency, but a fiat currency.
There are different kinds of financial institutions, with set-up costs increasing along with the complexity of transactions it can facilitate. Polybius estimates that an authorized payment institution, or a payment system, costs roughly $1.5 million to set up. An electronic money institution, a personal PayPal system, costs $3 million. A commercial bank costs $6 million. At the end of funding, Polybius had raised the equivalent of $31.6 million. Additional funds up to $10 million were directed towards the development of the Digital Pass; additional funds up to $25 million, towards SME financial marketplaces (supplying, acquiring, costing and pricing capital for small and midsize firms). As Polybius grows, it will direct its attention first towards venture capital and crowdfunding, and then insurance and brokeraging.
Now that the ICO has ended, you can no longer purchase these smart contracts directly from Polybius; Polybius burned all remaining tokens in order to ensure the value of those that had been purchased. You can buy these tokens on any number of crypto-exchanges, though. Polybius recommends C-CEX.com or livecoin.net.
The value of a Polybius token was $10 at the time of purchase, but now that it's being publicly traded its value is determined by the fate of the Polybius project. So, if you think Polybius is destined for big things, it may be a good time to invest. And while Americans are not legally permitted to participate in ICOs, there are no restrictions on purchasing these tokens for Americans now that the ICO has closed. So there's a chance that the value of these tokens may rise in the coming days, seeing as the these are the first days following the conclusion of the ICO.