Investing Expertise and Capital in Blockchain Technologies
This Codebase Ventures Inc. profile is part of a paid investor education campaign.*
Codebase Ventures Inc. (CSE:CODE; FWB:C5B; OTCQB:BKLLF) makes strategic investments in emerging sectors and markets, including cannabis, technology and select cryptocurrencies. Codebase Ventures is led by a hands-on team of entrepreneurial and technology experts who invest in early-stage ideas. The team operates with the understanding that emerging sectors, like cannabis and technology, are evolving rapidly and can bring early opportunities for strategic investments.
Codebase Ventures has formed Code Cannabis Investments, which is focused on identifying cannabis assets and start-ups that require capital and expertise to accelerate their business models and scale to meet the demands of the market. Code Cannabis Investments intends to initially pursue investment opportunities in the North American cannabis market, but is expected to primarily focus on the UK. The subsidiary has since made moves to enter the US hemp-derived CBD market by moving to acquire a 45-acre certified-organic farm in New Berlin, New York.
As for the company’s technology strategy, Codebase Ventures has made strategic investments in four technology platforms: Pressland ICO Ranker, Arcology and Blockchain ranker. The company believes that blockchain technology can radically transform how business is conducted throughout the world. The company is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and has expanded into the US through its wholly-owned subsidiary in the Silicon Valley, Codebase Ventures USA.
According to Codebase Ventures Chief Strategy Officer Jeff Koyen, “Blockchain is a shared ledger used to record transactions across a decentralized network of computers. ‘Decentralized’ is the key word here. Because they have no central authority figures, blockchains are governed by the network operators. Before any transaction is recorded to the ledger, a certain level of agreement must be reached by the entire network.”
Blockchain technology is being adopted across a number of industries, including banks and financial institutions. The market has grown faster than anticipated, and is expected to be worth US$23.3 billion by 2023, according to a report by Markets and Markets.
Unlike many companies in the blockchain landscape, Codebase Ventures’ focus is to invest in technologies that are using blockchain in varied and innovative ways. To this effect, the company has acquired or invested in companies that use blockchain to pursue its mandate. To date, Codebase Ventures has made strategic investments into five technology platforms: Pressland, ICO Ranker, Arcology, Blockchain ranker and SV Cryptolab.
This includes SV CryptoLab, a social hacker community space by day and a cryptocurrency mining operation by night; Pressland, an open-source media directory looking to relaunch as a blockchain-powered platform combating fake news; and Arcology, a blockchain platform expected to use machine-learning and pattern-recognition technology to create hierarchical blockchain structures.
The ICORanker.com and BlockchainRanker.com websites provide the company with access to the token industry. The sites act as a platform that vets and rates blockchain applications, services and software providers. Codebase Ventures has also initially invested $100,000 in ePIC Blockchain Technologies Inc., a blockchain processing hardware company that is developing scalable and energy-efficient mining tools and infrastructure to cryptocurrency miners.
Part of what sets Codebase Ventures apart from its peers is that the company entered the space early on and put together a knowledgeable management team that takes its time to properly assess potential deals. This team includes Jeff Koyen, who plays roles both as a strategic advisor to the head company and as President of Codebase Ventures USA. He brings with him 20 years of experience in technology journalism and a keen eye for determining viable opportunities for the company. His caliber is matched by his peers and together they lead the company with in-depth experience in multiple areas including business development, corporate finance, media, insurance and capital markets.
Codebase Ventures Company Highlights
- Early mover in funding blockchain technologies beyond cryptocurrencies.
- Has acquired or invested in companies that deploy blockchain-based technology.
- Recently-launched wholly-owned subsidiary in US led by experienced technology journalist Jeff Koyen.
- Code Cannabis Investments subsidiary invests in early-stage cannabis assets in North America and Europe.
- Code Cannabis Investments is in the process of acquiring farm land in New York to facilitate the company’s entrance into the US hemp-derived CBD market.
- Knowledgeable management team that makes well-researched and informed decisions regarding their acquisitions and investments.
Code Cannabis Investments
Codebase Ventures’ subsidiary, Code Cannabis Investments, was formed to identify cannabis companies that require capital and expertise to accelerate their business models and scale to meet the demands of the market. The subsidiary intends to initially pursue investment opportunities in the North American cannabis market, but is expected to primarily focus on the UK and EU, especially in countries such as Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece and Malta.
According to a report by Consultancy EU, the European cannabis market is expected to reach 123 billion euros by 2028. The European CBD and medical cannabis markets offer cannabis companies numerous advantages due to Europe’s large population. In the UK alone, it is estimated that six million adults have used CBD and 11 percent of the population has consumed a CBD product within the last year.
“With our leadership team’s deep experience in the cannabis space, we believe that the UK is entering a period of acceptance for CBD and medicinal cannabis that was evident in Canada and North America five to seven years ago,” said Codebase Ventures President and CEO George Tsafalas. “That spells opportunity to our team, and on behalf of our shareholders, management and representatives have engaged in meetings in the UK specifically aimed at identifying and investing in early-stage companies in the space that can benefit from both our capital and expertise.”
Since its formation, Code Cannabis Investments has signed an LOI to acquire a 45-acre organic farm in New Berlin, New York. The company intends to grow organic hemp there and enter the hemp-derived CBD market in the US. In December 2018, the US Senate passed the Farm Bill which removed hemp as a Schedule 1 drug, creating a hemp-derived CBD market. According to a report by BDS Analytics and ArcView Market Research, the US CBD market is expected to reach US$20 billion by 2014.
CryptoLab: Mining and Community Building
In January 2018, Codebase Ventures acquired 60 percent of the outstanding shares in SV CryptoLab, a cloud-based cryptocurrency mining organization. Since then, the company has raised its ownership to 80 percent, exercising its right as part of the agreement.
Under the proposed agreement, Codebase Ventures would have the option to acquire the remaining 20 percent and keep on SV’s current CEO to lead the advancement operations as a key component of the company’s management team. During weekdays, SV would continue to run a part hacker part social space that hosts meetups. Meanwhile, during nights and weekends, the lab would use its computing power to conduct its cryptocurrency mining operations for the economic benefit of Codebase Ventures.
“We are excited to reach this milestone, completing our initial acquisition in the blockchain space, so that we can scale this concept,” said Tsafalas. “We are working to replicate SV CryptoLab’s business model, together with its proprietary evaluation algorithm, in other cities soon.”
Since the submission of the LOI for the original acquisition in November 2017, SV has further developed its cryptocurrency mining operations to include on-site Bitcoin mining, adding 370 ASIC microprocessors to its enterprise. Additionally, SV has also entered into contracts to mine Ethereum and Zcash, among other rapidly growing cryptocurrencies. Codebase Ventures has also indicated that it is exploring the possibility of opening a second location in the same format on the eastern coast of the US.
Pressland: Media Transparency Through Rewarded Crowdsourcing
In April 2018, Codebase Ventures acquired Pressland, a media directory and website focused on media transparency. Pressland was launched in 2015 and offers a crowdsourced directory of 20,000 media outlets and professionals. Pressland is led by Koyen, who brings over 20 years of journalistic experience. With the help of Codebase Ventures, Pressland’s mission is to provide the public with blockchain-powered tools that will help expose unreliable news items.
Pressland publishes its own digital publication, News-to-Table, which covers media trust and transparency. The publication releases up to five articles per week and recruits writers from its partner Study Hall, a global online community of over 2,000 journalists that offer resources, news, analysis and original reporting to its members. The partnership is also expected to increase industry awareness of Pressland’s mission to fight fake news.
“Today, thanks to the innovative power of blockchain technology and utilizing Codebase Ventures’ expertise and resources we have the unique opportunity to expand Pressland’s mission to debunking fake news and exposing unreliable players in the media,” said Tsafalas.
The platform will function as a reward economy built on its own cryptocurrency token. With the use of the token, Pressland community members will be incentivized to contribute intelligence and insights and verify data from media outlets and media figures. “This data will then power a suite of tools designed to debunk fake news on other platforms, such as Facebook,” said Koyen.
In May 2018, Pressland announced that it will be issuing its own transactional currency in the form of a blockchain-based cryptographic token. In July 2018, Pressland partnered with Token Agency for marketing purposes for its upcoming token sale.
“To run a successful token sale, it’s critical to communicate your project’s mission, goals and value proposition. This is no simple task in the buzzy world of crypto and blockchain,” said Koyen.
Additionally, Pressland has signed an LOI to form a commercial partnership with Membit Inc., the maker of the Membit augmented reality (AR) photo-sharing app for iOS. Membit will be using Pressland’s data to help verify original journalism produced on its platform. The two companies are also in discussion for jointly creating a platform for journalists to in the field that would allow journalists to validate and verify their reporting in the field.
In March 2019, Pressland announced its intent to develop the world’s first data management platform to fight fake news. The platform will use artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing to analyze the world’s news output. The company expects the platform to have applications in a variety of industries and will be made available to its partners and clients under SaaS licenses. Pressland expects to launch the platform in 2020.
“We’re building an enterprise service for global media companies, social media networks and other third parties fighting the spread of misinformation online,” said Koyen. “This is a highly scalable, disruptive technology that will serve the public interest by stopping the spread of fake news.”
To this aim, Pressland has partnered with iO Ventures LLC, a developer of a hyper-personal device that delivers custom news, user-centric learning and on-demand wellness information. The two companies will be working together to verify trustworthy news before distributing it to iO’s users.
Pressland has also signed an LOI to form a commercial partnership with OutVoice, a freelance payment option for publishers that can be integrated directly into content management systems. The focus of the partnership is to drive client engagement in the media-tech space by reducing inefficiencies. Pressland also expects the partnership to accelerate the company’s time-to-market for its SaaS offerings. The company will use OutVoice to pay its contributors to its ICORanker and Blockchain Ranker websites.
Arcology: Providing Hierarchical Structures to Blockchain
In April 2019, Codebase Ventures increased its equity stake in Arcology, a first-of-its-kind blockchain platform from Alberta, Canada, to 30 percent. Subject to the terms of the agreement, the investment would increase up to $2 million for 51 percent of the company.
Arcology is a blockchain platform that utilizes machine-learning and pattern-recognition technology to develop hierarchical blockchain structures that solve common market problems including speed and scalability. Arcology has been designed to be more scalable and ‘intelligent’ than the current leader in its market, Ethereum.
“In identifying this opportunity, Codebase Ventures will help advance blockchain technology to where it needs to be in a decade, not just years, from now,” said Tsafalas. “The blockchain revolution is just beginning, and we’re proud to be at its forefront.”
As of April 2018, Arcology has recruited a team of experts from the fields of AI, machine learning and biologically inspired adaptive network design to build new blockchain technologies that will address the inefficiencies in the current platforms on the market and compliments Archology’s current blockchain platform. Revenue from this project will come from a variety of traditional sources, such as subscriptions, licensing and consulting fees.
Arcology has been testing its blockchain-enabled data handling offering. The tests were able to prove that it is possible to eliminate restrictions that have made distributed databases and blockchain technology incompatible. Arcology can also take advantage of parallel data insertion and querying on multiple databases by incorporating a distributed database. However, the most significant findings highlighted an increase in network speed and reliability across a distributed model and that data storage on Arcology’s blockchain network would be 100 times cheaper and faster. Arcology expects to begin public testing of the new offering in the coming months.
Arcology has also integrated Ethereum virtual machines into its proprietary blockchain technology, allowing developers to move their existing apps, dApps and other assets to Arcology without issue. By offering third parties greater speed, scale and efficiency, Arcology intends to become the platform of choice for enterprise and industrial-grade developers.
In July 2018, Codebase Ventures acquired the iCORanker.com and BlockchainRanker.com websites with a suite of professional services and marketing data for $1.75 million in cash and stock. BlockchainRanker.com vets and rates blockchain platforms, services and software providers and will relaunch under Codebase Ventures’ management.
“Acquiring ICORanker is our entry to the lucrative world of token analysis, ratings and recommendations,” said Koyen. “The token sale ecosystem has a bright future, and we’re excited to take ICORanker to the next level of profitability.”
According to a report published by PwC, token sales have raised $13.7 billion in the first five months of 2018 which has doubled the totals from 2017.
Since acquiring the website, Codebase Ventures has broadened the scope of ICORanker.com. The website no longer focuses exclusively on ICOs and now offers marketing services to all token sales, such as initial exchange offerings (IEOs) and security token offerings (STOs). ICORanker also has expanded its news coverage to increase the site’s reputation and visibility.
Codebase Ventures’ Additional Investments and Acquisitions
NOS Blockchain Inc. Joint Venture
In November 2017, Codebase Ventures entered into a joint venture agreement with NOS Blockchain Inc., which provides the company with first right of refusal on all NOS blockchain technologies. NOS is a subsidiary of Nerds On Site Inc., which specializes in providing cost-effective, leading-edge solutions to small and medium-sized enterprises. The company has a client base of over 12,000 and a customer satisfaction rating of 96.5 percent.
“Codebase Ventures has invested $100,000 in NOS to accelerate the development and implementation of NOS’s existing, advanced blockchain technologies,” said Tsafalas. “The leadership team at NOS Blockchain Inc. has an extensive track record of success, building a technology company from the grassroots into a market leader in the IT solutions space. Their advanced stage blockchain technologies are the basis of our decision to structure a joint venture and invest $100,000 at this time.”
ePIC Blockchain Technologies Inc.
In January 2018, Codebase Ventures initially invested $100,000 in ePIC Blockchain Technologies Inc., a blockchain processing hardware provider. ePIC is focused on designing scalable and energy-efficient cryptocurrency mining tools and infrastructure. Currently, ePIC is designing a cryptocurrency chip that is specifically designed for bitcoin mining that should be able to go to market by Q4 2018.
“Codebase Ventures has invested $100,000 in ePIC to accelerate the development of ePIC’s purpose-built cryptocurrency mining chip,” said Tsafalas. “ePIC has a defined focus that resonates strongly with our team. The infrastructure required to mine cryptocurrencies represents a massive business opportunity and we are focused on finding start-up technologies that can empower the blockchain revolution and deliver significant results to our shareholders.”
Codebase Ventures’ Management Team
George Tsafalas — President, CEO and Director
George Tsafalas has extensive experience in senior operational management, corporate business development and corporate finance in the private and public sectors and is an entrepreneur. Currently he is a Senior Partner at Stadnyk and Partners Inc. He specializes in the execution of strategic budget plans and monitors the development of the portfolio programs, including review of the financial objectives and milestones. He has over ten years of senior management experience in the oil and gas sector, as well as in the hospitality industry and professional sports sectors. He has experience in the attraction of private equity capital, including angel investment groups and firms and has assisted in several successful equity capital fundraising efforts.
Jeff Koyen — Chief Strategy Officer
Jeff Koyen is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who has been active in cryptocurrency and blockchain as an investor and trader since 2014. As a media strategist and advisor, Koyen is valued for his keen eye for weak signals, emerging trends and early discovery, and he has a proven track record of launching new digital properties for both startups and legacy media companies.
Morie Shacker — Director
Brian D. Keane—Director
Brian Keane serves as a Consultant at Stadnyk and Partners Inc in New York, New York and formerly served as its Managing Director. He has over 17 years of capital markets, investing and C-level consulting experience. He has invested in, advised upon or restructured over 75 emerging growth companies in the US, Canada, Caribbean and Asia, representing over $2 billion in transaction value. He has advised several buy-side investment funds and worked at investment banks including: Rodman & Renshaw, LLC, Ladenburg Thalmann & Co and TechVest. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Scranton and a Juris Doctor from New York Law School.
Tatiana Kovaleva has extensive experience working in the capital markets. Over the last 20 years she has served in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer for multiple publicly traded companies.
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