The WeChat of blockchain powered by digital guanxi
It’s a hot Saturday afternoon. You and your friends are wandering around the high-street window-shopping. Your friend opens the LoMoStar app and notices a virtual ‘red envelope’ has appeared outside the Starbucks in the next street over. They click it, a coupon pops up on the LoMoStar app and you receive a small amount of cryptocurrency at the same time.
“It sure is hot this afternoon! We are selling Icy cold Frappuccino for 50% off! Limited time offer for 15 minutes only!”
You all decide that’s exactly what you need right now, so you allow LoMoStar app to guide you to the Starbucks where you show the store your offer and claim the coupon for your icy cold beverage. It tastes delicious. Thanks LoMoStar.
LoMoStar is a Beijing-based blockchain company which ambitiously plans to tackle the opaque system of today’s online advertisement with three main concepts: blockchain, location-based services and the Social Economy. By combining them in a native app with a native cryptocurrecy, while supporting multiple cryptocurrencies, LoMoStar could potentially be the global catalyst for widespread adoption of blockchain technologies beneath a seamless user experience. LoMoStar’s vision of the Social Economy is best understood by one of the problems they are seeking to address — the online advertisement system. Before we begin to explore the Social Economy, we must first understand why the current online advertisement model is anti-social.
The Anti-Social Online Advertisement System
Here are a few critical problems plaguing the online advertising industry:
1. Opt-out rather than opt-in
Ads are being jammed down our throats every day and everywhere. There is very good reason why the usage of ad-blockers grew by 30% in 2016 and 11% of the global internet population is now blocking ads on the web.  Users have resorted to fight back and opt-out by installing ad-blockers or constantly unsubscribing unwanted email lists like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole.
The increasing popularity of ad-blockers is symptomatic of a poor users experience and users are signalling for a greater autonomy of their online experience. The present opt-out model is unfriendly and anti-social towards users.
2. Middlemen duopoly of Facebook and Google.
Currently, businesses inefficiently pay by “cost per 1,000 impressions” and receive a measly average click through rate of 1.91%.  In effect, businesses are literally paying to reduce the online experience for 981 people while only 19 of them would be bothered enough to click on the ad out of 1000 people. Despite the fact that these people were selected after being filtered by mountains of user data from Google, guided by one of the most sophisticated AI program in the world, and we still only get 19 out of 1000 people to click the ad.
At what point do we say this highly opaque and confusing system just doesn’t work for anyone except for the middlemen?
3. Inefficient connection from ONline to OFFline (O2O)
O2O is a marketing strategy and a movement attempting to bridge the gap between the online-offline worlds by encouraging people to move offline. For example, Groupon was one of the earlier successful demonstration of the O2O model while the latest ones such as Uber and Airbnb have been some of the fastest growing companies in the world.
Although many aspects of commerce can be replaced by the digital world, there are still some core elements of retail and plenty of services that can’t be effectively translated into the digital world. Furthermore, it is difficult to accurately measure the conversion rate of customers purchasing goods and services offline as a result of an online marketing campaign. There still exists a clear divide between the online and offline world that we are only beginning to address.
The problems of opt-out ads and the duopoly are well known and they are most famously being addressed by Brendan Eich, the founder of Java Script and Mozilla Firefox, and his project Basic Attention Token through micropayments.  LoMoStar is addressing this problem with the help of location-based advertisement by riding the O2O movement, a completely novel approach in the blockchain industry, and expanding it into the grand vision of the Social Economy.
Location-based advertisement/services and O2O
I am sure everyone has had many of their own “aha moments” while going down the blockchain rabbit hole. Once you have that “aha moment”, many seemingly unrelated concepts you have encountered suddenly collapse into a singular point, perfectly encapsulated by a word or phrase and become integrated into your toolkit of mental models.
“Decentralisation”, “trustless”, “deflationary”, “tokenisation”, “smart contract”, etc; the list just goes on and on.
Most of you have probably never heard of LoMoStar and the majority of those who have come across it probably stopped investigating once the idea of “Chinese PokemonGo” was established in your head.
Admittedly, when I first discovered LoMoStar, I made a similar casual assessment. It wasn’t until I came across it again a few months later did I realize this was an inappropriate comparison and only then did I begin to comprehend the scale of the project the team was attempting to achieve.
My “aha moment” came for LoMoStar, the app behind LoMoCoin, happened when I Googled the term “LBS” (location-based services) and came across a research paper titled: “Attitude Toward Location-Based Advertising” by Bruner & Kumar published in 2007 on the Journal of Interactive Advertising.
As it turns out, the concept of location-based services and location-based advertising (LBS and LBA) have been buzzing around the marketing-sphere for a while. 
As described by Bruner II & Kumar (2007), LBS is a software-level service that uses geographical data to control features a user receives. It relies heavily on the ubiquity of GPS in smartphones and the fact that most people these days are quite happy with sharing their location data with the various apps they use.  For example, users provide Google Maps access to their geographical data and in return they get to use this incredibly useful app for free, Google also aggregates the data from the app and generates a real-time traffic map which guides users down the quickest route to their destination. I find it quite amusing to see other drivers (who also have Google Maps on their dashboard) driving down an obscure and convoluted route in a normally ultra-low-traffic area along with me during a traffic jam. Google Maps is literally directing the flow of traffic.
Location-based advertisement, under the umbrella of location-based services, is where LoMoStar’s “hongbao” comes in. Hongbao, also known as red envelope, is a monetary gift given during holidays and special occasions in China — it represents a gesture of good luck and fortune.
Businesses using the LoMoStar app can place a red envelope (and other digital assets) right inside their store and people can go and collect real crypto-cash, discounts and other services the shop would like to offer. The users will have to be within less than 20 meters of the red envelope in order to open it and thereby generating foot-traffic for the business.  Businesses can therefore provide a real-time, personalised and targeted offers to foot-traffic nearby using LoMoStar’s platform.
Not only users are experiencing an entertaining treasure hunting experience for special offers while literally getting paid to do it, the ads can be extremely targeted without having to have access to your past 3 months of internet activity to determine you like to have an icy cold Frap on a hot Saturday afternoon. The specificity LBA can offer is unprecedented in the history of advertisement. LBA can be so targeted to the point where an offer with a 15 minutes window will still work because your physical body is right there. LBS can target both space and time.
While Google Maps directs vehicle traffic, LoMoStar in essence directs foot traffic in a manner that is hyper-local and hyper-temporal.
Location-based advertisement, essentially an O2O bridge bring people from the online world to the offline word, allows for an immediate and concrete results of advertising investment in the form of increased foot-traffic for businesses that is targeted and social. This will help to further blur the lines between the online and offline world.
The LoMoStar platform diverts the previous profit hoarded by the middlemen duopoly and funnel it into a direct and transparent payment from businesses to users. Businesses will have to place a minimum amount of LoMoCoins, or other digital assets, into each red envelope if they want to advertise their logo, coupons and services on the platform.
LoMoStar’s model offers an opt-in, efficient and highly social interaction between users and businesses that is consensual. The social nature of the business-users interaction opens up a whole new world of possibilities of interactive advertisement that is entertaining for users and businesses alike.
This approach is evidence-based; according to American Marketing Association and MediaBrix, “Embedded, opt-in ads within apps saw eight times more mental engagement, three-times more time spent with the brand and a higher brand recall than the usual interstitial video ads”. 
The potential for LBS
One of the more interesting phenomenon arising from globalisation is that many developing countries were able to skip a whole generation of technology completely. China skipped laptop and went straight to smart phones and many African countries skipped landlines and went straight to mobile phones. 
“In China, the adoption of the Internet has occurred faster than the creation of brick-and-mortar retail infrastructure in many rural locations. This development means that O2O expansion efforts by major Chinese companies have often consisted of complementing established e-commerce infrastructure by adding additional physical retail locations.” 
The dominance and rise of e-commerce is not showing any signs of stopping soon; the low-cost barrier of starting an online business will continue to proliferate at a break-neck speed in other developing countries, just like it did in China. Naturally, a global infrastructure of a low-barrier of entry, efficient, transparent and secure O2O ecosystem is desperately needed to fill this gap.
Previously, LBS has been prohibitively expensive and highly technically demanding for small businesses. LoMoStar’s O2O ecosystem lowers this barrier of entry and allows even small businesses to participate in personalised advertisement, and facilitating the economy to become more social.
The immediate anchoring to Pokemon Go is evidential of the still largely unexplored applications of LBS. LoMoStar is not simply a Chinese PokemonGo, it’s an O2O ecosystem driven by the vision of a social economy.
“It’s kind of like what Ether is to the Ethereum ecosystem. Ether enables smart contracts for users. Meanwhile, LMC promotes and smooths traffic conversion from users to businesses,” said Xiong, the CEO and co-founder of LoMoStar. 
A more socially harmonious blockchain economy
Disintermediation has always been a central theme in the blockchain movement and LoMoStar introduces disintermediation to the current dysfunctional and anti-social online advertisement system. LoMoStar’s platform democratises access to LBS and all businesses (small and large, online and offline) will have access to new opportunities for marketing campaigns that are completely new, hyper-targeted and entertaining for users.
The socially and entertainment focused nature of LoMoStar will serve as the cornerstones of LoMoStar’s vision of the social economy. By diverting advertisement profit away from middlemen to users, business can provide an entertaining treasure hunt-like experience for users, removing social friction from business-consumer online interactions encumbered by the inefficient spam-like interactions we have today. Individuals and businesses will have a new and entertaining way to interact with the community and build relationships based on transparency, fairness and entertainment.
Once you understand the basic concept of red envelopes and LBS, you can explore this idea a lot further by supporting digital assets in red envelopes and incorporating triggers for certain conditions to be met before obtaining the red envelope — all these features will soon to be included within the app.
An early glimpse of the Social Economy that is already happening successfully in LoMoStar is a pre-ICO airdrop for a company about to launch an ICO. Blockchain companies can airdrop before a pre-sale and users will be able to use the in-app peer to peer exchange function and start trading the token before even any exchange listing. Users who participated in the airdrop will be added into a group and businesses can build a community around them within the app immediately. In fact, CFun, China’s largest collaboratively generated content platform, has one of the largest group in LoMoStar with over 2400 members within one week of the first airdropping campaign ever on LoMoStar, more than CFun’s Twitter, Facebook and Telegram combined. Individuals can also grow their own community by deploying red envelopes themselves too.
Another self-explanatory and core use case for LoMoStar is a user-friendly over-the-counter purchase of cryptocurrency, supporting multiple cryptocurrencies — a crucial feature for countries where OTC is the only legal method of purchasing cryptocurrency (such as China), for users who do not wish to overcome the barrier of learning how to get on an exchange or for users from developing countries who only wish to purchase a small transaction value of cryptocurrency.
There is also a simple to use, multi-cryptocurrency supported wallet secured with a cold and hot wallet protocol and multi-signature similar to many exchanges, where you can send cryptocurrency directly to your friends in a private message just like you would with a message in WhatsApp. This feature is already functional, free of fees and currently the app supports: LMC, ETH, BTC, BCH, LTC and CFun.
· Request Network airdropping their tokens surrounding PayPal’s head office when Request’s platform officially launches. Fans will directly get REQ tokens within the red envelope. Even a small marketing budget of $10,000 in the form of REQ tokens can easily gather a 1,000 people flash mob with each fan directly receiving REQ tokens for participating.
· Complex city-wide treasure hunting games can be deployed by brands as a part of their marketing campaign. Adidas can provide clues and place them all around the city for people to win a pair of the newest shoes in the form of a digital coupon to redeem the shoes.
· Coca-Cola airdropping CoCa-Cola logos instead of envelopes at a festival and it will contain LMC and digital Coke coupons where you can exchange for a real coke at a nearby stand.
· Nike logos placed on popular running tracks for special offers to runners.
· Tourist mode: Tourist mode will guide you through the major landmarks in the city and along the way you can stop by participating local businesses and restaurants for an authentic experience. You can even meet other LoMoStar users along the way.
· In a busy downtown area on Saturday night, restaurants can place a red envelope (or their own customizable logo) with: “No waiting for tables of 4 in the next 15 minutes, 10% off!”
· Simultaneously airdrop your tokens around all the capitals of the world for your platform’s global launch.
The star of the show
The blockchain technology is so cutting-edge that there are only a few dozen teams in the world with more than a few years of experience. The core team of LoMoStar had been working together ever since 2013, a time when the total market cap of all crypto asset was still less than 2 billion USD.  Xiong Lijian, nicknamed FeiXiong (Flying Bear), is the CEO of LoMoStar. He began his career as an entrepreneurial programmer and started his own online advertisement company in Beijing boasting clients such as IBM, BWM, Mercedez-Benz and Tsing Hua University. 
Like many of us, Xiong Lijian was absolutely captivated by the magic of Bitcoin and decided to switch career and dedicate himself to blockchain in 2013.
He was then involved with the R&D of the world’s first Gridseed Litecoin miner which had sold more than 100,000 units worldwide. Xiong Lijian was also involved in the creation of the popular Wiibox, an open-source Litecoin mining control software which at one point was used by over 50% of all Litecoin miners in the world. After that, he co-established SFARDS, a leading ASIC mining chip R&D company at the time with Li Xiaolai, a famous Bitcoin miner and angel investor in China. SFARDS developed the world’s first 28nm Bitcoin-Litecoin dual-mining algorithm chip SF3001 and the world’s first double miner SF100. 
Xiong Lijian is a veteran and an expert in blockchain with expertise all the way from the chip level to the mining software level. Sometime in 2016, Xiong Lijian decided to change his focus and founded LoMoStar by combining his new found skills in blockchain technology with his previous career, online advertisement.
Xiong Lijian and the rest of the core team has already grown LoMoStar into a 60 people plus company to achieve LoMoStar’s vision of a social economy.
“Our team and I are used to getting results first before speaking about it. Previously with LoMoStar v1.0, we developed it first and got 20,000 users onto the platform before we even did an ICO.” July 24th, 2017, Xiong Lijian 
V1.0 to V2.0 LoMoStar
The V1.0 app, available in China only, began development at the end of 2015 and was released in April 2016. V1.0 had reached 300,000 users by June 2017 with over 1,000 merchants participating in the city of Yunnan.
V1.0 was also the world’s first mobile LBS app with a built-in cryptocurrency system. LoMoCoin’s team then became the first team in China to develop a cryptocurrency app for WeChat H5, Android and iOS system. 
V2.0 of LoMoStar, a global version, is now in the public beta phase with the already released Android app available on the Google Play Store with an iOS version soon to follow (currently pending approval while the developer version available for download via the official website).
LoMoCoin currently supports basic smart contracts and ICOs will be an important part of the social economy in the future with location-based mini asset backed securities as one use case mentioned in the whitepaper. For example, you can raise an ICO for a vending machine (yes, seriously) and the legally backed tokens will guarantee you a proportion of the future income rights from the vending machine. The interesting thing is that since the ICO will be listed on the map, investors will likely run into vending machines they are familiar with, making the investment much more intimate and approachable than a conventional investment would.
“Pure e-commerce will be reduced to a traditional business and replaced by the concept of New Retail―the integration of online, offline, logistics and data across a single value chain.” Jack Ma, Oct, 2016 
“New retail”, a phrase coined by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, has been making the waves in China recently and it includes trends such as pop-up stores and automated trading (ex: vending machines and photo booths). For example, during this year’s Single’s Day, the largest single day of shopping on Earth, Alibaba deployed 1000 pop-up stores around the country. It is immediately self-evident that pop-up stores and LBS are a match made in heaven, providing another unique use-case for LoMoStar.
Currently, LoMoStar possess many features a centralised exchange has and they plan on upgrading that into a decentralised, peer-to-peer exchange based on smart contracts. It is important to note that LoMoStar will not take any fees from either buyers or sellers during a peer-to-peer exchange. 
By integrating Internet of Things with the blockchain, it will allow for an even higher resolution of LBS compared to conventional GPS. It will also complement the mini asset backed security uses case mentioned above by automating the whole process. IoT is a main area research for the F5 Labs (see below).
The Blockchain Swiss-Army-Knife Social Platform App
Nearly a decade after Satoshi’s genius was released into the world, cryptocurrency remains largely a speculative vehicle and nothing more. The increasingly abhorrent speculative mania has completely outpaced the race for a real mainstream adoption beyond the bubble of the blockchain world. The recent Bitcoin futures only legitimises Bitcoin as a new asset class rather than as a currency that people actually use on a day to day basis. It is with this frustration that gave birth to LoMoCoin and LoMoStar. Fei Xiong and his team proposed a completely new socio-economical model, inside the LoMoStar app, designed to provide an actual context for a cryptocurrency to exist outside of exchanges.
LoMoStar might just be the “killer app” that will truly allow cryptocurrency to be used by the masses. You don’t actually need any technical knowledge of cryptocurrency to use the app and the currencies that it supports. That is the beauty of it — most of their users of their v1.0 app had never used any cryptocurrencies before. 
The LoMoStar’s whitepaper argues that –
“The development of the internet is driven by the human desire for information exchange, interaction, and socialization; this led to the early proliferation of chat groups and internet forums. The development of the blockchain is driven by value exchange. We want to extend this connection beyond simply the scope of financial transactions and build a more generalized social value of relationships (emphasis mine). Most businesses in the industry focus on reforming old frameworks while LoMoStar rejects that model and instead chooses to create a new construct of social and economic relationships.”
WeChat begun as a simple messaging app in 2011 and has now grown into a “mega-Swiss-army-knife-app” in only a few years. Similarly for LoMoStar, already resembling a Swiss-army-knife value-exchange app, there will be even more features and use-cases in the future by simply calibrating their compass towards the fascinating vision of the “Social Economy”.
Zou Taoji, CMO of LoMoStar, replied to a user’s question of: “So the last update was already outside of beta?” with a Taoist answer: “There is no limit to the optimization of the product. If you think the name of the version is important, we will consider it”
The white paper further states:
“We have discovered that blockchain is not lacking in what it can offer but rather lack a context in which it can thrive (emphasis mine). There are many ‘vertical blockchains’ designed to serve in various industries like copywriting, connecting the relationships between creators and fans, or in supply chain, connecting manufacturers and retailers. Prior to establishing the supply and demand relationship between the two parties, does a certain demand exist? Or is even the initial demand first preceded by the relationship that will eventually establish the supply and demand? We propose that both causes are vital and it is the context in which relationships comes first that will be our primary focus… cooperation, donations, sponsorships, partnerships, gifts, credits, and inheritance are the most direct forms of social interactions through currencies. Our economic society has functioned through many years of contracts to forge and perfect these basic relationships, but they are not yet fully formed inside the blockchain. We want to build these foundations so that mainstream society will finally have the opportunity to adopt and embrace the blockchain.
As the mediums of value exchange begin to shift, so will the context of where and how exchanges will take place. We have not even caught a glimpse of what this new context will look like, since our collective understanding of money has been completely neglected until Satoshi rubbed our face into it and forced us to fundamentally and philosophically re-evaluate it. Xiong Lijian and rest of the team are proposing a new context — money talks; and the Social Economy is a new game where you speak by exchanging value. It is only a conversation if it is bidirectional. The current standard of practice propagated by the duopoly is one of unidirectional lecturing with no means for conversation other than simply not playing the game.
For those who are familiar with Chinese culture, the two passages from the whitepaper above might remind you the concept of ‘guanxi’ that is widely embedded in Chinese culture (For those who don’t know what ‘guanxi’ is, here is a whole Wikipedia article about it ). In short, it can be roughly understood as a network of relationships designed to provide support and cooperation among the parties involved in doing business. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain what ‘guanxi’ is and I recommend you to ask the nearest Chinese person if you are not familiar with the concept.
There is a reason why it has been such a struggle to grasp the elusive concept of the Social Economy proposed by LoMoStar; not only do you have to understand blockchain to get your head around something like “digitising a physical vending machine” or “airdropping Request tokens around Paypal’s head office”, you also need to understand LBS beyond simply PokemonGo, the O2O movement and the hardest of all, guanxi. Once you do though, the phrase: “the WeChat of blockchain driven by digital guanxi” makes complete sense.
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The LoMoStar Ecosystem:
Xstar, a Hong Kong based exchange developed by the LoMoStar core team, is currently in public beta phase. Xstar’s token XSR will have a buy-back mechanism in place.
Xiong Lijian believes that the brand recognition and trust established with LoMoStar v1.0 will be advantageous in competing for users against other exchanges and in return will introduce liquidity and users into LoMoStar’s ecosystem. Xstar is also currently developing a mobile app.
F5 Labs started by the LoMoStar team with other businesses and institution specializing in blockchain R&D. They will collaborate with universities and enterprises to develop various blockchain applications and provide training for these institutions.
Business members of the F5 lab will be able to share patent portfolios, have regular business training by relevant experts, sharing business data and have access to F5’s blockchain talent pool.
Nearly 100 small to medium sized companies have joined F5 and Xiong Lijian has represented F5 to provide talks and training at Lenovo China, Beihang University, Allyes (internet advertising company with over 2000 employees), CYZone (the largest start-up community in China jointly run by the Ministry of Education and Hunan University) and other universities.
Sirius — a community initiative
Sirius is led by a full-time community manager employed by LoMoStar, Milan Shoukri. Currently they are translating the whitepaper into many different languages to help advocate the Social Economy around the world.
Still reading? Here are some fun facts for you:
· Xiong Lijian is familiar with the teams of NEO, Metaverse, Qtum and many other blockchain companies in China. In fact, he was an angel or ICO investor in all three and provided advice for Qtum’s ICO. 
· LMC is a PoS coin based on Peercoin; currently LMC can support 100 TPS with plans to upgrade to 500 TPS. LMC also has the concept of “coin-age” where the longer you stake, the higher chance for you to mint a block. 
· The other co-founders of SFARDS, Li Xiaolai and Frank Lee, are both well known figures in the Chinese blockchain community. Li Xiaolai at one point had over 100,000 BTC while Frank Lee was at one point responsible for the biggest computation power mining for Litecoin. 
· The core team of LoMoStar, along with Gridseed, developed the first mine ever in the world with over 10,000 units during early 2014. Here is a low quality photo of the actual mine.
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Disclaimer: I am part of the Sirius community but I have received NO compensation for writing this article from LoMoStar. This was written purely for my personal curiosity of the Social Economy and not an investment advice. I would like to thank Sirius and LoMoStar for answering my questions during the writing process.