Crypto City


Project Summary

We believe students are underbanked. They do not have enough options to invest and receive a hefty return in order to pay off their debt and even make a profit. At best, banks can offer students minuscule interest rates that don't seem like big steps forward in their debt-free journey.

For these reasons, we thought about leveraging virtual worlds such as Decentraland in our mission to help students prosper. Our initial strategy for the hackathon is to "flip" digital land (buy it with $X and sell it with $(X + Y)) in order to show a niche use-case which can be extended in the future. Most of the profit from flipping would go to the students and we would only take enough to pay for operational costs.

What We Built

The demo comprises a mobile app and a minimalistic website where students can entrust us with some of their money. We use Luno as an on-ramp to convert students' fiat to ETH. Then we convert ETH to MANA, the native currency from Decentraland and register the amount of MANA for the user in our RiskFund. We listen with a relayer for deposit events in our fund, take the deposited money and buy digital land with it. After a small period of time we sell the freshly bought land for a profit and split the profit between us and the student whose deposit we used.

Disclaimer: In our project we use a local blockchain where we took the smart contract code from Decentraland and adapted it to our needs.

The Future

We realise that flipping land is not a sustainable business model and that's why we only considered it for the demo. We're looking towards buying land in order to created digital businesses on top of it as well as towards acting as a banking layer for multiple blockchain games and VR/AR empires.

Where is the Digital Value?

The LAND in Decentraland is scarce, exactly like Gen 0 Cryptokitties. Businesses and individuals compete to get the best land tiles where they can showcase their creations, get foot traffic and possibly even make some profit. We expect that with the advent of blockchain gaming and the general desire to spend time in cyberspace we will see a surge in the prices of digital assets.

Why Choose Us?

First, the blockchain era has just started and by entering the market early we aim to provide higher ROI compared to any other bank. Second, we cannot cheat our customers and say we only made $50 in revenue and so they should get $30, when in fact we made three times as much and we keep the majority of the revenue for ourselves. Lastly, instead of burdening the user with terms such as gas and gas price as well as with slow UX which is specific to dApps, we take all the costs while only demanding a cut out of the revenue we generate for customers.

Issues Found

We found numerous bugs and gotchas in both Solidity and (especially) Web3. Most of the time the Websocker Provider from web3 would not work so we weren't able to reliably listen to events. Transactions that would work when we deploy contracts with truffle would not work when we transact with web3 (event if the conditions were the same for both the Truffle and the Web3 trasactions). Examples include selling and buying land, depositing money in our RiskFund and event getting values from smart contracts. In Solidity we get errors if we try to work with arrays.

Moreover we struggled to integrate with Luno because of the minimum limit needed for exchanging ETH.

If We Had More Time We Would Have

  • Dockerized the services we have
  • Used alternative/older versions of web3 instead of trying the newest versions
  • Created a risk pooling mechanism where multiple students come together and collectively invest in land
  • Created hedging strategies for student investments
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