secures $2 million seed funding to build Sharing Economy Platform

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Share with: has secured $2 million USD in seed funding according to a blog post from founder and COO Stephan Tual.  This round will go towards the development of the Universal Sharing Network (“USN”) project, which seeks to shake up the sharing economy by enabling both companies and individuals to rent, sell or share any connected smart object.

“With the USN, rental apartments and offices will become fully automated, smart objects will be rented on demand and unused vehicles get a new lease on life.” — Christoph Jentzsch, CEO

How to revolutionize the sharing economy with Blockchain + IoT

Since its inception in November 2015,’s mission has been to develop the future infrastructure of the Sharing Economy. We’ve codenamed this project the Universal Sharing Network, or “USN”. Build on top of the public Ethereum Blockchain, the USN will provide users a set of mobile and desktop applications to find, locate, rent and control any object mediated by smart contracts, from anywhere in the world.


The main advantage of using Blockchain technology in this context is a radically simplified user journey: Open the app > Find an object nearby > Pay for it > Use it. There is only one key (your smartphone) for everything and no need to register or login for the service thanks to a judicious use of security deposits.

The USN’s key differentiators are:

  • Cost effectiveness: we leverage a public infrastructure and therefore do not incur datacenter capital outlays
  • Interoperability: the same network of value used to rent your car can be used by the vehicle itself to pay for its own parking or electricity
  • Security: Ethereum decentralized apps or ‘dapps’ benefit from public/private key cryptography by default, while the underlying infrastructure presents no central point of failure.
  • Transparency: The USN lives on the public Ethereum Blockchain and can be reviewed by anyone
  • Permissionless: developers and manufacturers alike do not need to request permission to leverage the USN as part of their products

The Road Ahead ‘s USN will be a B2C product when it launches in beta next year and will be released under a mainstream, user-friendly brand and image. In the meantime, we are very much in B2B integration mode, helping manufacturers onboard their objects onto the Blockchain. Manufacturers can contact us at [email protected] for more information.

It’s particularly important to note that we do not intend to produce hardware ourselves, instead, we are integrating with partners such as Noke, who find value in the USN as it allows them to dip into the waters of the service industry while gaining deep insight as to how their products are used in the real world.


“We’re talking about the deployment of a global, real-time, ad-hoc Internet of Value” — Stephan Tual, COO

“We hope to build up our developer community capacity throughout 2017 by making the Ethereum Computer available as a free and open source image for popular SoCs platforms. We’re proud to have opted for a ‘permissionless’ approach on the public Ethereum Blockchain, encouraging network effects through a free and easy integration for both the maker community and larger manufacturers of smart objects alike.”


“Blockchain is and will continue to be at the core of everything we do. It’s still early days, but we’re proud to be one of the first companies to give end-users a real-world preview of what Blockchain can actually do for them.

If you’re passionate about decentralization and would like to join us in building the USN, please check out the careers section of our website.”

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About Richard Kastelein

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015), a partner at ICO services collective Token.Agency ($750m+ and 90+ ICOs and STOs), director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He sits on the advisory boards of some two dozen Blockchain startups and has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published pioneering articles on ICOs in Harvard Business Review and Venturebeat. Irish Tech News put him in the top 10 Token Architects in Europe.

Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first Blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute of Software and Technology. In 2018 he was invited to and attended University of Oxford's Saïd Business School for Business Automation 4.0 programme. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division.

Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ citiies. He is a Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Métis) whose writing career has ranged from the Canadian Native Press (Arctic) to the Caribbean & Europe.  In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, Netherlands where he's raising three teenage daughters with his wife and sailing partner, Wieke Beenen.

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