DESCRIPTION OF BUSINESS
It is well-known that the user experience of dealing with crypto-assets is generally intimidating to even the most tech-savvy person. Therefore, mass adoption is hindered due to complex concepts like private key management, gas fee mechanisms, and cryptographic addresses. Blocto aims to address these issues and simplify the user experience cryptocurrencies as a whole.
Blocto is a cross-chain smart contract wallet service. dApp developers can use Blocto SDKs and APIs to integrate the Blocto wallet into their applications. The Blocto ecosystem also consists of several products such as BloctoSwap, Blocto Balancer, Blocto NFT Marketplace, and the Blocto Vault. The Blocto Token (BLT) functions as the interconnective link in the ecosystem.
The Project is native to the Flow blockchain and therefore the use cases of the wallet are predominantly aimed towards gaming. The Blocto wallet service is a centralized custodial solution aimed at novel users. Nonetheless, experienced users can migrate or opt into a non-custodial setup depending on their preferences.
The project and its team are supported by an expansive group of individuals and institutional investors.
From an organizational perspective, the project’s company, Portto, is registered in Taiwan. Due to Blocto’s custodial service offering and centralized operations, there is a likelihood that they will fall under a specific regulatory domain (as discussed in this report). Furthermore, we also find that the two co-founders of Blocto had been employed by two projects that faced negative media coverage. Any pending legal issues against Blocto’s co-founders may cause disturbances to Blocto’s progress.
Our researchers gave Blocto a final rating of 53.30%. The breakdown of this rating is available at the end of this report.
PRODUCT & COMPANY DESCRIPTION
Blocto is a smart contract wallet service for mobile phones. The Blocto wallet enables users to interact smoothly with their cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and dApps. Blocto users can hold tokens native to multiple different blockchains. Blocto also provides its users with a fiat on-ramp. The project’s native token, Blocto Token (BLT), fulfils utility and governance functions within the Blocto ecosystem. dApp developers can integrate the Blocto wallet via Blocto SDKs. Blocto is a custodial solution with the possibility to opt into a non-custodial version as well.
Blocto’s unique feature is to allow users to pay network fees across all supported blockchains with Blocto Points (BP).
Blocto is a project native to the Flow Blockchain network. Additionally, Blocto is integrated with several other blockchains, e.g., Ethereum, Solana and Tron. Blocto tries to offer an improved product to two target groups: wallet users and dApp developers.
The user experience gap (between general applications and dApps) is a considerable burden to mass adoption. Private key management issues, gas fee mechanisms, and complicated wallet addresses concern the average user. Blocto aims to make accessing dApps a similar experience to “regular” applications.
The Blocto app provides dApps builders with basic web3.js functionalities and other tools to bootstrap dApps, such as Deep Linking, Batch transactions (atomic transactions), Push Notifications, and Rewards (reward APIs). These are all unique features to help developers code decentralized applications.
Blocto services and users infographic. Source: Blocto Docs
Apart from the smart contract wallet and related developer SDKs, Blocto also offers several other complementary products. These products are:
Blocto has a clear and detailed whitepaper and one-pager available in both English and Chinese. The whitepaper covers every aspect of the project and is straightforward enough for the average user to understand. The Blocto developer documentation portal provides guides to dApp developers willing to integrate the Blocto wallet in their dApps.
As crypto adoption grows, there’s an increasing need to make decentralized applications (dApps) simple and easy to use by regular people without much specific technical knowledge and experience. A user-friendly tool or service that integrates different blockchain applications for seamless engagement, utilization, and payments would fill a gap in the market and would be profitable in a growing market.
Blocto provides a one-stop solution for buying, storing, transacting with crypto and accessing dApps. The management has disclosed that they have now reached as many as 10k daily users.
However, Blocto has a custodial element that may need to be strengthened in the future with insurance and audits (both security and proof of assets related).
Our research identified below success factors upon which the success of the project would hinge:
- Blocto is simple and easy to use, especially by non-savvy users (UI/UX, log in using email ID like in any Web 2.0 applications, etc.)
- Blocto enables buying crypto with fiat without KYC.
- Blocto offers a one-stop-shop solution for crypto users and investors. The App enables users to buy, store, transact, and access cryptocurrencies and NFTs, across multiple blockchains.
- The Blocto ecosystem creates additional possibilities and value for users (being mutually beneficial).
- Partnerships and integrations –especially the Flow blockchain and other service providers.
- Investor backing.
MARKET CONDITIONS AND COMPETITION
A report published by crypto.com in February 2021 suggests that there are over 100 million active crypto users as of January 2021. Furthermore, in a 2021 survey of over 60,000 users worldwide, 97% of them express confidence in the crypto market, with more than 50% of them stating they’re considering actively investing in crypto.
All these reports suggest a growing and vibrant cryptocurrency and blockchain industry that Blocto aims to serve.
The digital assets wallet market is highly competitive. Many different wallet providers compete in this market. The competition ranges from exchange wallets, third-party centralized wallets, DeFi Wallets and cross-chain wallets. With the recent developments in cross-chain infrastructure, many wallet providers are now integrating cross-chain capabilities. We are also witnessing alliances to introduce better solutions to users (to address similar issues to those Blocto is trying to solve).
CrossWallet and Biconomy Forward offer similar features to Blocto.
The remaining Blocto products are not too different from what the current market has on offer.
How is the project different from its competitors?
- Blocto SDK also offers benefits to dApp developers.
Blocto Wallet vs. standalone wallets:
- No downloads are needed for dApp users.
- Comparatively easier onboarding with a mixed custodial model.
- Blocto wallet users can interact with multiple blockchains without holding its native tokens.
Blocto SDK vs. other Wallet SDKs:
- Freemium model made possible.
Blocto wallets are built with smart contracts. The advantage of such wallets is that Blocto can introduce meta-transactions, a mixed-custodial model for key management and batch transactions. The key benefit of a meta-transactions model is its fee payment flexibility. Essentially, what happens is that dApp users could enjoy a Freemium model while fees are covered by the below parties:
- dApp Builder (accounts for the fees as dApp operational costs).
- Blocto (absorbs the fees as user acquisition costs).
- User pays the fee (similar to regular transactions).
A long-term shift to the third model above is vital from both Blocto’s and dApp developers’ points of view.
Blocto is a centralized solution with only some parts of its codebase being open-source. The custodial wallet and integrations to other centralized service providers like Simplex and MoonPay are centralization points. Moreover, Blocto uses some slightly centralized transaction features in batching orders before entering them on the blockchain. Users, however, have the option to migrate to a non-custodial setup if they prefer to.
dApp developers are one of the primary user categories of the Blocto wallet; the project invites developers to integrate Blocto into any dApps that they develop. For this purpose, there are readily available SDKs and APIs. The project is inviting developers to take part and use their SDKs. To facilitate bug reporting and feature requests by developers, Blocto maintains a Canny page (which is not very active yet).
Blocto has a functional App that enables users to buy, trade, store and transact with crypto, as well as access dApps on different blockchains. As learned by our researchers, the Blocto website QR Code-based download does not seem to be functioning. The Blocto wallet is also integrated with various dApps on the Flow blockchain, e.g. MotoGP Ignition and Versus. Google Play statistics show that the Blocto Android app has been installed on 50k+ devices. The management team disclosed that the Blocto wallet has reached 10k daily active users.
BloctoSwap (Beta version) has been launched as the first Decentralized Exchange (DEX) on the Flow blockchain. The DEX enables bridging assets between Flow and Ethereum, what the Project calls ‘teleport.’ None of the popular DeFi data providers currently track the Total Value Locked (TVL) in BloctoSwap. The activity level on BloctoSwap shows a rambling trend.
BloctoSwap statistics (two tracked smart contracts). Source: DappRadar
The NFT marketplace BloctoBay was recently launched on Beta. Blocto Balancer and Blocto Vault are products in the pipeline.
Blocto is a cross-chain smart contract wallet that supports multiple blockchain networks. However, it is safe to suggest that Blocto is a project native to the Flow Blockchain. The project uses smart contract capabilities of corresponding blockchains to enable teleport functionalities —for example, BloctoSwap, the UniSwap equivalent of the Flow blockchain, employs Ethereum smart contracts responsible for teleporting.
Due to the cross-chain connections offered by Blocto, the services are susceptible to shortcomings on any connected blockchain network. However, being heavily reliant on the Flow blockchain, Blocto faces constraints as evidenced by this incident.
The dApp developers are provided with basic Web3.js provider functionalities.
As already discussed, Blocto is a smart contract wallet on the Flow Blockchain. Many of Blocto’s users are users of this blockchain’s assets and services (with an inclination towards gaming).
Blocto App offers cross-chain connectivity to several other blockchains like Ethereum, Solana and Tron. The project is further aiming to provide integrations to other Layer-1 chains like Tezos.
In addition to its wallet service, other Blocto products like BloctoSwap and Blocto Balancer are native to the Flow Blockchain. Therefore, Blocto’s scalability is limited by the Flow blockchain’s capabilities. As an example, we have seen that the launch of BloctoSwap was delayed due to the high volume of transactions sent by bots through Flow Access Nodes.
Quantstamp has audited Blocto’s cross-chain token lock code (the BloctoSwap teleport contract). The Blocto team has fixed the high-risk findings in the audit. One of the low-risk findings that the developer team acknowledged relates to Privileged Roles and Ownership, where there is a centralization of power in the owner’s hands to modify the contract. The report further notes that the code has minimal documentation. A link to Quantstamp’s Audit Report can be found here.
There were no other publicly-known audits on the rest of the ecosystem. More details on the security aspects of the custodial system were not publicly available. For example, the website discloses that the private keys to their custodial system are stored in a separate secure key management service. The co-founder’s Telegram messages and updates suggest that Blocto’s custodial key management service is built on Google Cloud Service and use Google KMS for private key management.
Blocto products’ underlying technology makes use of third-party open-source code (with modifications) like Dapper Labs for their smart contract wallets. This original codebase is audited in certain instances. For example, Dapper Labs smart contracts are audited by Sigma Prime.
The project has not published a detailed roadmap.
The whitepaper discusses several Blocto products the team plans to launch. However, without a detailed roadmap, it isn’t easy to evaluate their progress.
We also learned that Blocto’s Tezos SDK launch was due in early 2021. However, this step is still pending. Moreover, the roadmap could have explained the timeline to achieve the desired decentralized governance structure.
Blocto was co-founded by Hsuan Lee (CEO) and Edwin Yen (COO). Both founders have complementary skills and roles that are relevant to their current project, Blocto.
Hsuan Lee, co-Founder and CEO, is an experienced software engineer. He has worked for some well-known, global brands like Agoda and Yahoo!. Since 2018, he has been working in the blockchain industry. Lee functioned as the VP of Engineering for DEXON Foundation and Cobinhood, a cryptocurrency exchange. Lee completed his education at National Taiwan University.
Edwin Yen, co-Founder and COO, has a background in business development and strategy. Yen worked for Schneider Electric Taiwan as a Key Account Manager and led Business Strategy for Cobinhood. Yen is an alumnus of National Taiwan University.
The Blocto corporate website does not list any advisors. Blocto has listed four advisors on its Community Token Sale page. Similarly, none of the advisors has listed themselves as Advisors to Blocto. They are:
Kevin Chou, an advisor and strategic investor, has founded several entities. He is specialized in eSports ventures and founded Forte and Gen.G eSports. Kevin also serves on the Board of Trustees at the University of California, Berkeley.
Roham Gharegozlou is an advisor and strategic investor in Blocto. Currently, Roham functions as the CEO of Dapper Labs. He’s an angel investor in many companies.
Joseph Delong, CTO of SushiSwap is an advisor and strategic investor in Blocto.
Animoca Brands was a lead investor and advisor to Blocto. Animoca’s expertise lies in branded blockchain gaming.
General Comments on the Team & Advisors
It is worth mentioning that both the co-Founders and some of the engineering team members of Blocto were associated with two controversial projects that faced legal issues. These projects are Cobinhood and Dexon Foundation. Reports pointed towards Cobinhood possibly conducting an exit scam. Similarly, Dexon’s project, due to its use of “recycled” ideas, was considered to be of questionable legitimacy for some users, as discussed in this report. Blocto co-founder Hsuan Lee was the VP of Engineering for both projects that are non-operational now.
However, the main person in the center of these allegations, Pop Chen, denied all claims against him and published a Medium article to clarify his side of the story.
We further note that both of Blocto’s co-Founders are open and transparent about these incidents. However, any pending lawsuits against the Senior management of both controversial projects may have relevance to Blocto.
Hsuan Lee responds to the inquiries by D-CORE researchers over Telegram.
Blocto’s advisors’ primary expertise is in the eSports & NFT markets. The secondary strength of the advisory panel is their experience in Layer-1 blockchains (Flow and Ethereum) and DEXs.
We did not find evidence of the advisors’ involvement in any controversial projects.
The advisors have not endorsed the project on their social media profiles in any noticeable manner. However, Blocto’s partnerships with Flow blockchain and other gaming platforms suggest that the advisors’ respective companies provide vital support to the project. For example, the project has already established itself as a significant player in the Flow blockchain ecosystem.
The current organization setup suggests that the CEO performs a dual role, doubling as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Our researchers believe, as the project grows, a separation of roles might result more efficient. In addition to this, we find the team lacking some necessary resources in the Legal/Risk/Compliance areas (mainly due to Blocto’s custodial offering), as well as in their Financial division.
LEGAL AND COMPLIANCE SPECIFICS
Blocto is owned and operated by Portto Co., Ltd., a company registered in Taiwan.
Taiwan is considered a blockchain-friendly jurisdiction. Regarding digital assets, Taiwanese authorities have issued warnings and introduced supervision in line with other jurisdictions. For example, the Taiwanese Money Laundering Control Act (MLCA) governs cryptocurrency exchanges and other platforms that operate Security Token Offerings. Taiwan does not proscribe cryptocurrencies as a legal concept. Except for digital assets with securities characteristics, other currencies are considered “Virtual Commodities” in Taiwan.
Taiwan is home to several centralized cryptocurrency exchanges (e.g., ACE, MaiCoin, BitoPro, OTCBTC) and blockchain companies like AMIS, Kronos Research, and XREX.
Portto Co., Ltd. is registered in Taiwan. Aside from that, there are no other known permits and or financial licenses the company has obtained.
Although the whitepaper discusses that the Blocto ecosystem’s governance will be fully decentralized and fair in the long term, it did not discuss the exact transition strategy.
Blocto has several official partners, as disclosed in their corporate website, most of which are integrations that enhance and extend the functionality, features, and useability of the Blocto App. For example, Blocto’s partnership with MoonPay enables a fiat on-ramp into the Flow ecosystem. Other projects that the company claims as partners on their website include Cardma, Biscuit, Simplex, Serum, Ace, Ethereum Naming Service (ENS), Okex, Serum, etc.
The Flow team has been referred to as the party that handled certain aspects of the community sale of Blocto’s token.
However, information on the nature of these partnerships is either non-existent or inaccessible.
Blocto partners/Service providers as listed on their Website.
Blocto’s partnership with Flow blockchain could be considered its most important one. Portto is currently a significant player in the Flow ecosystem. It is the fourth largest staker (Consensus node) in the Flow blockchain, and ~84% of total Flow delegators are using Portto nodes. Click here to see the latest statistics.
We note that only a few of the listed partners mention Blocto as a partner.
A broad number of individual and institutional investors took part in Blocto’s private investment round.
There’s no public information about legal advisors for Blocto. There’s no member of the team listed on their website that is responsible for the Legal department of the company.
However, they are likely using an undisclosed Legal counsel to handle their legal matters.
KYC & AML
Users were requested to submit their information and pass KYC during the entire IDO timeline. Only users who had completed KYC and are from accepted countries could participate in the token sale. The KYC process includes ID card verification, face verification, document verification (utility bills as proof of address) and biometric verification.
The Blocto Token (BLT) is a utility and governance token used to incentivize users to use and develop on Blocto, as well as submit and vote for proposals for changes to the Blocto protocol (still not community-governed).
The two utilities of BLT are:
- i) Privileges and benefits using Blocto products and
- ii) Using BLT to pay for network fees. User incentives are in the form of staking and mining (the monthly release of tokens).
The Blocto team does not plan to register the token as security.
We have identified one area which presents certain legal/compliance risks to the project:
The Company identifies Blocto Token (BLT) as a utility token in the Blocto ecosystem. Blocto sold the tokens and used the money raised to fund its operations and development (a common enterprise or project). However, regardless of the Company’s categorization and disclaimers, some countries (including Taiwan) could still classify BLT as a security token. Further, because Blocto takes custody of user assets, there is a likelihood that they may fall under the ”Virtual Currency Platforms” category as per MLCA regulations.
The total supply of Blocto tokens is 500 million. The genesis token circulation is of 30 million BLT (6% of the total supply). We found that various documents refer to different genesis token circulation figures. The major data services like CoinGecko and CoinMarketCap, do not track the initial circulating supply for Blocto Token.
Total Blocto Token (BLT) Supply. Source: Blocto
The project has allocated 16% of the tokens for its ecosystem. In addition, another 16% of the supply is dedicated to the Accelerator Fund. The whitepaper lists the areas to which these two allocations are used. We notice that a 32% allocation for broader ecosystem development is logical to drive growth.
The project raised $8 million in a private round. Based on the 16% token allocation to the Private Sale category, we calculate the token issue price at $0.10 for private investors. The public sale price per token was of $0.40 (300% higher than the private investor price).
Team tokens are locked for seven months and afterwards vested over 18 months.
BLT is listed on the FTX exchange.
Blocto Token (BLT) has a finite supply of 500 million tokens.
Inflation is currently coming from staking/mining rewards for users and developers and the scheduled team and founders tokens release. There is a deflationary mechanism built around the Blocto Vault burn function.
Team and shareholder tokens constitute 6% of the total supply, which would be linearly released within 24 months (2 years) starting from the 7th month after its launch. The Founders’ allocation is linearly vested by 1/42 each month starting from month 7th to the 48th.
Blocto Token (BLT) circulation. Source: Blocto
BLT tokens allocation has an aim around ecosystem development. We consider the 32% allocation for both ecosystem and the accelerator fund as logical. If the project moves to a more decentralized strategy, we could assume significant token holdings in the hands of the community.
here is a burn mechanism in the Blocto Vault. BLT holders can choose to burn their share of BLT in exchange for equivalent portions of the Blocto Vault pool. However, Blocto Vault and other Blocto products will have to be fully functional and adopted for the burn mechanism to be worth investors’ while.
Token Burn Formula. Source: Blocto whitepaper
BLT tokens will also be locked in staking and mining.
Supply and Demand Dynamics
Token release: Blocto Tokens come into circulation monthly, subject to maximum supply. None of the token holder categories is locked for more than seven months. The documentation was unclear whether these seven months count from Blocto’s Genesis Token Creation or the listing of BLT.
Incentives: Staking and mining rewards are inflationary. A total of 30% of the token supply will be rewarded monthly as staking payouts and dApp mining.
Staking & Mining: Developers and Blocto app users are incentivized via staking and mining. The token demand from this source would be higher initially due to a higher yield paid to attract more users. Since tokens are not locked in staking or mining, there is a likelihood that token price increases are suppressed by reducing the percent in stake.
Burn: A token burn mechanism is in place for users to benefit from the Blocto Vault assets. With the full rollout of all the Blocto-made products, the Blocto Vault could accumulate part of the revenue generated by products in the future. However, adoption is the key driver of this category of demand for BLT tokens.
We note that Blocto-made products like BloctoSwap and Blocto Balancer could issue platform tokens similar to their Ethereum counterparts.
The project briefly discussed a Blocto Points (BP) system. However, the project documentation did not detail the BP system and its impact on tokenomics.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND VIRALITY
Blocto is actively present on Twitter. The account has 89.7k followers.
Blocto’s most active social channel would be its Telegram channel. The channel has a growing subscriber base of 66.5k at present. Blocto’s Discord channel has 4.4k members.
Blocto and Portto run a single LinkedIn page. The page has 229 followers currently. The project’s Facebook page counts 2.5k followers and appears to cater to the Chinese language community mainly.
Blocto’s own YouTube channel has not gathered significant views as of now. Many third-party channels have released videos about Blocto.
The team members or advisors don’t have a significant following; moreover, they didn’t share information or publications about the Blocto project.
Both of the co-Founders still list their participation in their previously mentioned controversial projects in their LinkedIn profiles.
As per Blocto’s website, users are given free Blocto Points upon signing up to try out blockchain applications. Users can also get points by referring friends, completing missions, or purchasing through Apple/Google in-app purchase. Users can use Blocto Points (BP) to pay for transaction fees on all the blockchains connected to Blocto.
There is no ongoing bug bounty program. The tokenomics discussion in the whitepaper discloses that some BLT tokens are to be allocated for bug bounties.
RISKS TO THE PROJECT
We identify the following as possible risks to the project:
- dApps developers’ preference for decentralization: The custodial nature of Blocto may not be appealing to dApp builders due to the centralized elements involved. Also, this custodial nature may bring in additional costs and inefficiencies. There is no insurance policy in place at present to provide cover against any loss of tokens in custody.
- Regulatory & Legal: If the Project qualifies as a virtual currency platform under the Taiwanese law and comes under regulatory purview, there may be impediments to user growth. Further, any future legal effects against Cobinhood and Dexon’s ex-Senior management might have implications on Blocto (at the time of publication, we did not find evidence that suggests the projects reached resolutions against the allegations).
- Freemium model: Blocto offers the users a Freemium service similar to other general applications. This is a rebate feature wherein Blocto and dApp developers absorb the respective blockchain transaction fees. At a high capacity, this model might not be economical or sustainable.
- Reliance on the Flow blockchain and other third-parties: Blocto is heavily reliant on the Flow blockchain. Blocto does not have any control over the functioning of Flow or other third-party blockchains/integrations.
Everything you see in this report is the aggregate result of an extensive research process carried out by a distributed team of researchers and crypto enthusiasts around the world. The process consists of 60 questions divided into three phases. Researchers are called to answer these questions about a project, while providing links or screenshots as evidence to support their answers. For every answer, they also provide a rating from zero to ten. The average of their ratings is detailed below.
Our researchers gave the Blocto Network a final rating of 53.30%.
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