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What is Ark?

Ark is a platform built with the goal of facilitating consumer adoption of all cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications. The “Ark crew” (a.k.a. Ark Founding Team or AFT) seeks to accomplish this goal by building the Ark ecosystem. The Ark ecosystem is designed to act as a sort of “hub” for all your blockchain needs.

From the Whitepaper:

“ARK provides users, developers, and startups with innovative blockchain technologies. Accessible via push button clone-able blockchains, and our SmartBridge technology. ARK aims to create an entire ecosystem of linked chains and a virtual spiderweb of endless use-cases that make ARK highly flexible, adaptable, and scalable. ARK is a secure platform designed for mass adoption and will deliver the services that consumers want and developers need.”

Ark as an ecosystem is a means of collating and collaborating with existing blockchains and their proprietary technologies (unique features) and “interconnecting” them through a technology called SmartBridging. ARK users will be able to interact with all SmartBridged blockchains, thereby giving them the ability to interact with their functions and services without leaving the ARK interface or having to buy tokens from the bridged blockchains.

What is SmartBridge Technology?

SmartBridge Technology is a means of connecting blockchains to the Ark ecosystem. In order to do this, a snippet of code needs to be embedded in the target blockchain, Ark calls this an Encoded Listener. The encoded listener is very easy to deploy on any blockchain and the AFT is making themselves available to help implement it.

SmartBridge allows users to trigger events on compatible blockchains (those who have added the Encoded Listener to their core code). Using only the ARK token, you can send transactions and trigger actions on any blockchain. Because Ark can be bridged with any blockchain, the use cases for this technology are potentially endless.

what is ark? how encoded listeners work

Example: Let’s say you want to issue a record entry on the Factom (FCT) blockchain (Factom is a platform for data storage and record-keeping). Provided that the FCT blockchain is compatible with SmartBridge, you would simply open your Ark wallet, navigate to the SmartBridge tab, enter the correct information and instructions for the FCT blockchain, then click send and you’re done. The FCT blockchain will receive and process your transaction accordingly.

You may be wondering why you would even need Ark, seeing as in the above example it serves as a kind of “middle-man.” The point of Ark is to be a hub for all your blockchain needs. If Ark didn’t exist, the FCT entry we just walked through would require you to buy FCT tokens to complete. With Ark, you only need to own Ark to make the transaction and you never need to leave the Ark platform.

The value and reason for using the Ark platform derives from Ark’s versatility. So long as Ark remains an innovative platform that incorporates many different technologies into an easy-to-use interface, Ark will accomplish its mission of being a massively adopted ecosystem for the Internet of Things (IOT).

Imagine if all (or at least a substantial number) of blockchains were SmartBridged to Ark. The actions you could carry out via your Ark wallet would be potentially endless. Whether you want to instantly convert ARK to BTC or unlock your front door, or change your thermostat, Ark could allow you to connect to the Internet of Things (IOT) all from the wallet interface.

What is the ARK Coin?

The ARK coin is a cryptographically secured “currency” built on blockchain technology and running a Delegated Proof of Stake Consensus Algorithm (DPoS) that was first introduced by Bitshares. More on DPoS below.

The ARK coin is essential for the Ark platform. In the above examples, we used Ark to carry out certain actions (i.e. making a file entry or unlocking the front door). In all of these actions, a transaction must occur within the Ark ecosystem. These transactions will have very small costs to them and will vary dependent upon the action and blockchain used. For adoption to be practical, actions like opening your front door need to cost relatively nothing (fractions of a penny).

Why Invest in ARK?

  • (1) ARK Coins Have Real-World Utility
  • (2) Solves a Real Problem
  • (3) SmartBridge Technology
  • (4) Strong Community and Team
  • (5) Delegated Proof of Stake
  • (6) Earn a Dividend While Holding ARK
  • (7) Use Cases

(1) ARK Coins Have Real-World Utility:

As I mentioned above, ARK coins are an essential component of the Ark ecosystem. There is an issue of utility with many cryptocurrencies, Ark is not one of them. Provided that a wide variety of blockchains are SmartBridged to the Ark core, the ARK token will have an ever-increasing utility and value within the Ark ecosystem.

As an investor in ARK, news of future partnerships and newly Bridged blockchains are going to send ARK through the roof as a tradable asset. Investors also have the ability to stake their ARK tokens and earn dividend-like income, more on that below.

(2) Ark Solves a Real Problem:

The first thing you see on Ark’s official website is the slogan “A Platform for Consumer Adoption”. The Ark team is very clear from the beginning, they aim to solve a real problem in the crypto space – consumer adoption and ease of use.

As soon as anyone new starts learning about blockchains and cryptos, they realize just how complicated it is. There are so many intricate facets to even a basic use of any blockchain. Buying Bitcoin has only recently become relatively easy for the average consumer (i.e. Coinbase). But what about security of those Bitcoins. How about forks? Hard wallets? Want to transfer your Bitcoin to other currencies?

These problems are being faced by many “newbies” to cryptocurrencies and Ark has the potential to step in and make it all a lot easier. In my opinion, Ark has the technology and the development team to step in and bridge the gap (pun intended) between the current state of blockchain and mass market adoption.

(3) Technology and Team:

In my opinion, Ark is one of the leaders when it comes to technology in the crypto space. The team is constantly developing, discussing and testing various forms of technologies and additional iterations to Ark core.

As I said before, the more people who use the Ark ecosystem, the more valuable ARK token will get. As the Ark team adds more and more layers of technology to the Ark ecosystem, there will more and more potential use cases for Ark. The more use cases Ark implements, the more people will hear of it, investigate it, use it for 1 or 2 things and then over time, use it more and more in their everyday life.

For example, an average investor may hear about Ark as a platform for earning “dividends” with DPoS, they may put some money into Ark and start earning income. 2 weeks down the line, the same investor learns that Ark is not only a way for them to earn “dividends”, but they can also transfer their Ark instantly into other currencies. Now they’re investing more into Ark, they find it a great tool to earn income while staying liquid and versatile in the crypto market.

A few weeks later, the same investor learns how to use the Ark ecosystem to get a crypto debit card. The investor feels more comfortable holding ARK rather than holding fiat currency in a traditional bank account (USD, Euro, etc.).

The point here is that the Ark team is doing an amazing job of creating an ecosystem for mass scale adoption. The iteration of new technologies is a key component of this. As new applications and technologies are added to the Ark ecosystem, people will commit to using the platform in greater and greater ways.

Here’s a just a few of the technologies that the Ark team is currently developing/integrating into Ark:

  • (1) SmartBridge Technology
  • (2) Ark Contract Execution Services (A.C.E.S.)
  • (3) Interplanetary File System (IPFS)
  • (4) Interplanetary Database (IPDB)
  • (5) Smart Card Network (Crypto Debit Cards)
  • (6) Gaming Tokens
  • (7) Point of Sale Hardware (POS)
  • (8) Point of Exchange Hardware (POE)
  • (9) Point of Credit Hardware (POC)
  • … much, much more

(4) Strong Community:

The community behind cryptocurrencies in general is a special one. It’s a community of young, curious, tech-oriented bulls. The Ark community definitely embodies these characteristics. If you take a look at the Ark reddit, slack, github, etc. you’ll find a small, but very enthusiastic and intelligent community of people who are actively contributing to the Ark ecosystem.

Not only are people actively contributing, they are actively searching for ways to contribute in a greater capacity. This is very healthy for Ark in the long-run, and current valuation of Ark compared to number of adopters is also very promising.

(5) Delegated Proof of Stake:

ARK is built on a blockchain running a Delegated Proof of Stake Consensus Algorithm (DPoS) that was first introduced by Bitshares.

Compare DPoS and Proof of Stake (PoS) to the Proof of Work (PoW) consensus algorithm that Bitcoin is built on. In a PoW system, network power and rewards are based on physical mining power (hashrate). In a PoS or DPoS system, network power and rewards are distributed based on the amount of the underlying token that is staked in a particular node.

A key benefit of DPoS versus traditional PoS is that DPoS provides a more fair environment for smaller stakeholders. In traditional PoS, large stakeholders can receive much better rewards than smaller stakeholders, thereby, creating a kind of centralized power – similar to the issue of Bitcoin and PoW. Some claim that Bitcoin has a significant centralization issue in its current state because the majority of the mining power lies in the hands of big warehouse farms with expensive ASIC units.

DPoS runs on a real-time voting mechanism for choosing delegates. In the case of Ark, there are 51 active delegates. These delegates are in charge of “forging” new blocks (creating and confirming transactions on the blockchain via consensus).

There is no benefit for delegates to cheat the Ark ecosystem, it is a lose-lose situation to do so. All the actions of delegates are public knowledge and stakeholders can remove their vote from a delegate and give it to another delegate in a matter of minutes.

A few key features of Ark’s DPoS System:

  • (1) All votes on the Ark ecosystem are weighted based on the amount of Ark you hold (1 Ark = 1 vote)
  • (2) Stakeholders vote on delegates, the top 51 delegates are in charge of forging new blocks.
  • (3) Delegates share profit with their “backers”. The amount of profit share is determined by the delegate, however they must choose an amount that encourages people to back them (typically about 90% profit share).
  • (4) It costs 1 Ark to Cast a vote and it costs 1 Ark to remove a vote.

The following example should make Ark’s DPoS system easier to understand:

Ex: Let’s say you buy 100 ARK tokens. You decide to stake delegate A, who is sharing profit with their backers at the rate of 90%. This means that every 8 minutes when the Delegate “forges” a new block, they are earning a reward for doing so and they are sharing 90% of that reward with their backers and keeping 10% for themselves.

You as a backer don’t have to do anything other than pay 1 ARK to initially stake the delegate of your choosing. You don’t even need your computer to be online. After you stake the delegate, you never have to pay that 1 ARK fee again (unless you decide to switch delegates, in which case, you’d pay 1 ARK to un-vote your current delegate and then 1 ARK to vote for a new delegate).

Also note that you’re allowed to sell or buy as much ARK as you want out of your wallet. Your weighting will be automatically updated by the delegate.

For the sake of space, I’ve removed quite a bit of information regarding Ark’s DPoS system and how to use it. I’ll put that information in a separate article for those interested and link it here when it’s available.

(6) Earn a “Dividend” While Holding ARK:

Ark’s DPoS system described above is very intriguing for long-term investors in ARK. As an ARK holder, you’re able to back a delegate and earn a portion of the block rewards that the delegate receives. All you have to do is send ARK to your desktop wallet, find a delegate you like, stake them, and you’ll start receiving ARK each payout period (payout periods are determined by the delegate, most will do payouts every day, but have a minimum payout amount, do your research before staking).

As an investor in cryptocurrencies, you can often feel that your money is tied up and not earning you any income. With consensus algorithms such as Ark’s, you’ll be able to participate in all the long-term gains of ARK while also getting a nice dividend-like income on the side.

My current staking with ARK is returning, on average, 0.75% per month in ARK income (based on my original investment). This comes out to 9% income per year – not bad at all considering that I’m also participating in all the long-term price appreciation in ARK token.

(7) Use Cases:

I feel as though I’ve beaten the subject of use cases to death, but it’s the most important selling point of ARK as an investment tool and platform… Here’s a list of some of the most popular use cases:

  • (1) Cross-Chain Cryptocurrency Exchanging (ARK to BTC or ETH or LTC…)
  • (2) Car Starter
  • (3) Front Door Lock
  • (4) File Storage
  • (5) Smart Card Network (Crypto Debit Cards)
  • (6) Gaming Tokens
  • (7) Point of Sale Hardware (POS)
  • (8) Point of Exchange Hardware (POE)
  • (9) Point of Credit Hardware (POC)
  • The possibilities are endless…

Buy Levels:

Target buy levels are labeled in the chart with a light blue colored line and are subject to change. I update these levels frequently as market changes demand it.

Last Updated: 10/11/17

I recently established a position in Ark just above the newly updated buy levels. If ARK comes back down to the lowest buy level – 50,000 satoshi’s (.00050000), I’ll add to my position.

Recent Trades:

This section briefly lists what price I bought/sold at. Every coin listed on my watch-list are, in my opinion, anticipated to be long-term winners; however, I often sell portions of my portfolio according to a set of rules dictated in my overall strategy and then buy back the same currencies when the price drops back to my buy levels. (A full write-up of my strategy will be linked here when it becomes available on the site). 

2017 Q4

October  6, 2017 – Bought at .00059638 ARK/BTC

2017 Q3

Relevant Links/Tools:

ARK.IO – Official Website

See Ark on Coin Market Cap – Coin Market Cap is one of the best resources for cryptocurrencies in general.

Ark Block Explorer – an open source web tool that displays information about blocks, addresses, and transactions that occur on the Ark Blockchain.

The Ark Whitepaper.

If you’re storing ARK on a centralized exchange or third-party (i.e. Coinbase, Bittrex, etc.), your ARK tokens aren’t as secure as they probably should be. I prefer to keep the majority of all my cryptocurrency holdings in “cold storage” on a hardware device. My preferred device is the Trezor. (This is not a paid ad, I just like the product). NOTE: TREZOR does not yet support ARK, if you’re looking for an alternative hardware device, Ledger Nano is already integrated with ARK.

Ark on Reddit