SingUlarity Darryn Pollock

Dealing With Intangible Assets

SingUlarity
When it comes to company assets, intangible ones are dynamic and fluid, and are becoming vitally important when considering blockchain tokens
Dealing With Intangible Assets
Contents

Assets, commodities, and possessions in a business and financial setting have come a long way. From bartering crops and selling goods to stocks, bonds, and equities, the digitalizing of the globe has led to assets changing their face, and even their tangibility.

Now, companies and corporations are being valued on abstract concepts that fall under their intangible assets, and even determining that value through these intangible assets is starting to change. Company evaluations are shifting — they are no longer based just on pure equity but rather much more on their IPOs and publicly traded stock. This gives insight into a company that has a rich bank of intangible assets.

To this end, it is unsurprising that Blockchain assets for companies operating in this new space are starting to be viewed as a truer evaluation of the company. Cryptocurrencies can be viewed as an intangible asset, and as a new way of representing the value of a company. As these digital tokens grow in value and worth, they lend that growth and value to the overall stance of the business.

The way these intangible assets are shaping up and moving with the help of a new technological wave like Blockchain, it will eventually lead to a more distributed, transparent and thus truer and fairer reflection of a company's worth through these inclusive and attainable assets.

New intangible assets emerging

As a pure definition, an intangible asset is simply an asset which has no physical qualities to it. To be intangible means that one cannot touch, see, smell it, etc. But looking deeper into it, anything from goodwill, brand recognition and intellectual property — such as patents, trademarks, and copyrights — are all intangible assets.

However, even these assets are starting to be overtaken by another intangible asset that is emerging alongside a new technology. Blockchain companies are springing up, much like tech companies, with a solution to new problems, but these Blockchain companies come with their own assets.

Cryptocurrencies are the new intangible asset that is not only clearer and more transparent in terms of valuing their worth, but also generally better for the entire marketplace. The cryptocurrency worth of a Blockchain company can represent a much truer valuation than another company with traditional intangible assets.

In fact, the model of capitalism itself is in a state of flux. Tech companies have already tested its bounds in terms of equity and valuation, but as things move forward and more Blockchain companies spring up, the general idea of capital in a capital-free system will make valuations incredibly difficult and inaccurate. However, a cryptocurrency allows for market value to be attributed as a new form of intangible equity of a said company.

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A change in valuation

Companies are starting to be valued on much more than simple Assets - Liabilities basis. With this change comes the difficulty in valuing intangible assets. Putting a figure against brand identity is really an estimation and prone to purposeful inflation or deflation.

Tangible assets are easy to value, and thus easy to use to determine the equity of a company, but then there are some companies like Microsoft and other Tech giants that really own very little in the way of tangible assets. Their wealth is in intangible assets.

As Microsoft's founder Bill Gates puts it: “Products you can’t touch have a very different set of dynamics in terms of competition and risk and how you value the companies that make them.”

A lot of intangible assets are valued on the basis of public sentiment, and the metric for this is derived from things like IPOs and publicly traded stock. But the difficulties in determining the public sentiment from the excitement around stocks is equally difficult and often purposefully inaccurate.

Issues with the new standard in valuation

With IPOs and the resulting publicly traded stocks, the level of distribution and sentiment is often not a fair reflection. The system leaves the door open to big company investors like VCs and fund companies as well as big and wealthy individual investors that can use their money to move the markets.

These types of players always influence how the publicly traded companies work and how much their intangible assets are worth. Investment groups and companies can help prop up and lift companies, thereby influencing their true worth through their intangible assets in a way which can bring a swell of false public hype and frenzy.

In many ways, this is a form of market manipulation, as big money has all the power to pick and choose its own desirable companies to inflate. But, if stocks are being cherry-picked to inflate in order to grow the intangible assets of a company and thus give it a higher evaluation, the same cannot be said for cryptocurrencies.

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A Blockchain company’s desire is to distribute and include a vast and different arrangement for people to buy and invest in its cryptocurrency. Thus, if we take the same metric of a stock and use it against a cryptocurrency, the public sentiment is a far truer reflection because it is also on a market, but its price is heavily influenced by public sentiment.

And again, that public sentiment moves on an almost daily basis as this distributed group of ‘investors’ can easily buy and sell and trade their cryptocurrencies dependant on positive or negative news surrounding the blockchain company.

Inclusive, achievable intangible assets

Publicly traded stocks for traditional companies are technically open to all, but they are a lot harder to get one’s hands on as there is a level of exclusivity and exclusion that surrounds stock trading. Additionally, the model is not community oriented or decentralized, nor well distributed.

The more one looks at it, Blockchain assets are a much stronger and truer metric of company value. They are an intangible asset which is firstly easier to value as they operate on an open and transparent market, and secondly, they are a way to measure sentiment and growth in a company as they are far more distributed and liquid.

It allows these buyers of the token to be vested in the potential and possibility of the company; cryptocurrency assets often correlate strongly to the success of a company.

If a company is moving forward and hitting its targets on the way to its final goal, this is often predicated on the growing value of their token. It is also linked to an increase in interest and hype as more individuals buy the open and freely available token, which is then also well distributed.

So, if we consider these coins as intangible assets because they are not part of an asset which would determine equity, but they are a marker of success and sentiment in a company like a publicly traded stock, we can start to understand them a little more.

They do not have the difficulty of exclusivity, and thus are much more communal and therefore much truer as a metric by which to value a Blockchain company.

A decentralized community evaluation

People often call the cryptocurrency space a bubble since so many people are drawn to it and have bought into it, especially when it comes to ICOs and Blockchain companies. However, this is probably an unfair assessment of the space.

There is a creation of decentralized communities which are learning to accurately assess the intangible assets of companies. The shrewdness of a true distributed and decentralized collective is a determining metric that many mainstream tech companies cannot say they have as their basis for value.

Many tech companies may have had their value propped up by VCs and investment firms that helped kickstart them to success, but those in the Blockchain space have nowhere to hide. Their every move can be tracked and traced by the value of their tokens, which plays a part in their intangible asset worth and thus really in their total actual value as a business.

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Evgeny Konstantinov

Trust in Crypto Space and the Next Tackle

The ever-accelerating development of Blockchain space has seen two major paradigm shifts, and the third one is underway
Trust in Crypto Space and the Next Tackle
Contents

 

The Bitcoin network went live in 2009 and the very first adopters were the people interested in technology. They were the ones who were able to analyze the code, read the eight-page whitepaper-with page nine devoted to a short list of eight references, only one of which was from the early 2000s; the rest being from the 90s, 80s, and even one from 1957- and get curious enough to try it out and explore the possibilities stemming from this new peer-to-peer electronic cash.

These were the people that formed the core of the Bitcoin, savvy to understand it and stick with it, for years. As with any breakthrough technology, the core is usually a tight group of people who have a very clear idea of what the technology is. If you’ve ever been around these people or are lucky enough to have them as a friend, you know that you trust them for all the technology things you don’t understand.

How technology trust is formed

First, you have a person create, say, an algorithm. Then you have another one review it and start using it exactly because they reviewed the algorithm and the code. Then you have the first reviewer’s and user’s friends trust the reviewer and start using the algorithm, but solely on trust, because they do not have a clear comprehension of how it works, apart from that it does and they are told that it does. Then these friends of the reviewer spread the knowledge and the trust of the system that they have to their other friends, who are now another step away from the person who wrote the code and the one who reviewed it. This spread goes on ad infinitum and will not stop even after the last Bitcoin is mined.

As you see, the first link of trust from the algorithm creator to the first user is established through code review and eventual use. This is the only shall we call it legitimate, substantiated, for lack of a better word link that is not on trust alone. All of what spreads after that comes trust-first or trust alone.

It can go even as far as to remove the actual algorithm and code and let the weight of the system stay on the web of trust (or delusion in some cases, which is still a reality in the crypto space) alone.

Riskful trust shifts

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency. More followed in its path, and more cryptocurrencies were created.

In 2013, Vitalik Buterin, on a long walk in San Francisco, collected his thoughts on fully generalized smart contracts- as opposed to limited scripting in Bitcoin- and put it all on paper under a proposition named “Ethereum: The Ultimate Smart Contract and Autonomous Corporation Platform on the Blockchain.”

This was a very novel idea then. The idea of a Turing complete machine, an immutable world computer operating smart contracts. The proposition caught on, other people joined in, the development took years, the ICO was conducted in 2014 and the Ethereum mainnet went live on July 30, 2015.

Again, for the idea of Ethereum to break through the cryptocurrency paradigm and into the one of immutable world computer and infrastructure, it took some time and effort of the community. Ethereum spread much in the same fashion as Bitcoin did, but in the space of crypto and thus faster. Based on web trust.

And again much like with Bitcoin, Ethereum ushered in a new era of infrastructure Blockchains that proliferated after.

Both the Bitcoin and Ethereum shifts were done and spread on trust, but if I were to give that trust a modifier, I’d use the word riskful. That was a web of riskful trust, a leap of faith for a lot of people who were not that familiar with the technology and had to trust what other people told them. Riskful trust and a riskful relay of information that always gets obfuscated along the way.

Now if you think of the two major shifts while relying on people and the community, were purely technological. They both represent the use of a trusted ledger in the trustless environment.

In the crypto space, there are always two layers- the Blockchain layer and the people layer:

  • Addresses with crypto assets on the multitude of the Blockchain networks

  • People who use and control their addresses on the multitude of the Blockchain networks

Both layers have major activity and progress in how they evolve.

Both layers concatenate: addresses & addresses; people & addresses; people & people.

Both layers interact: addresses & addresses; people & addresses; people & people.

But whereas the Blockchain networks are transparent in their concatenation & interaction, the people layer is not transparent.

It is an inherent drive for people in communities to trust each other, be transparent and work together for the common good.

Yet, unlike on the Blockchain layer, there is no tool for the transparent and honest interaction on the people layer. The absence of this transparent and honest space hinders the progress towards greater goals and adoption.

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Blockchain solutions for people

The next major breakthrough will be geared towards people, the technology will melt the blockchain layer with the people layer to create riskless interaction and riskless trust.

Many players in the space understand this, and there is right this moment a race to who comes up and implements the solution first. There are projects like identifi, with Martti 'Sirius' Malmi hailed as the second ever Bitcoin developer behind the project and DREP led by Matt Bennice, a former software engineer of the famous semi-secret Google X. And there’s u.community— a social capital ledger that is also an interface to Blockchain governance.

If Bitcoin and Ethereum were the first two major paradigm shifts in the Blockchain and crypto space, the third major shift is one of the most impacts in how it affects people and communities.

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Kyber Network

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Crypto exchanges 2.0 are decentralized
Kyber Network
Contents

Kyber Network is a decentralized exchange (DEX) that launched this year and has Vitalik Buterin as an advisor on its board. The goal of this company is not only to be a decentralized exchange, but also, in a letter put out by CEO Loi Luu, to be able to, “for the first time ever on a decentralized platform, Kyber Network will facilitate ICOs for both businesses and end-users. This means that companies can streamline their fundraising processes by offering their token sales on Kyber Network’s platform, which already has a database of existing, verified users. Cumbersome KYC checks and audits will thus be eliminated. End-users will benefit from having access to all ICOs on the platform without having to repeatedly register for KYC.”

Finance

From Sept. 15 through 16, Kyber Network raised $45 mln. It has a current, at time of writing, token price of $1.20 down from initial entry of $1.85 on Sept. 24, 2017, a fall of 35 percent since its market debut. CoinMartketCap ranks Kyber Network at 77.

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Decentralization is crypto exchange 2.0

Just as cryptocurrencies have been making payments and smart contracts decentralized, so will go the exchanges. While they are in the beginning phases of deployment, with more and more attaches on traditional centralized exchanges, DEX will entice more and more developers to work for them, and for security reasons more customers will leave the traditional exchanges behind and opt for an exchange that can’t go down or have funds stolen as we have seen so much over the past few years.

Kyber Network’s protocol has been built based on three core design philosophies:

  1. It is platform-agnostic, allowing any application or protocol to be powered by our liquidity network, without limiting innovation and ecosystem diversity.

  2. The protocol makes real-world commerce and decentralized financial products feasible by enabling instant inter-token transactions with a wide range of token options and no settlement risk, which are critical factors for many use cases.

  3. Kyber is built for ease of integration with different applications, as it runs fully on-chain and all operations are transparent. A key design focus is to be developer-friendly and highly compatible with other systems.

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Potential pain points

Attracting customers to shift and come to a DEX might be hard at first. Remember that not all crypto investors are so tech savvy.

  • Inability to obtain user adoption because of difficult UX, inability to exchange fiat currency. If you don’t already have crypto, how do you buy it for cash?

  • Other decentralized exchanges outcompete Kyber Network and achieve mainstream adoption and/or more decentralization faster. Everyone wants to work for the biggest and best in the tech world;  developers and users will consolidate around the most successful ones.

  • Pushback from regulators. Regulators may argue that DEX facilitates Anti-money laundering/know-your-customer (AML/KYC) violations and don’t want cryptocurrency trading to be decentralized. The black market and Bitcoin went hand and hand in all the negative press over the past few years. Regulators will be searching for a way to slow or stop decentralized exchanges from growing.

The team

Loi Luu, CEO and co-founder, holds a PhD in computer science from Singapore National University, where his research focused on several problems of cryptocurrencies from improving the security to enhancing the scalability and usability of public cryptocurrencies. Before launching Kyber Network, he had been a technical advisor to several other Blockchain-based companies in Singapore.

Yaron Velner, CTO and co-founder, hold a PhD in computer science from Tel Aviv University, and he has previously a majority of his career at EZChip as a software engineer, before doing two post-doctoral fellowships in networking properties and then taking the lead as Kyber Network’s CTO.   

Victor Tran, senior backend engineer and co-founder, has experience in developing large-scale infrastructures for multiple social marketing platforms and advertising networks. Victor has been involved in Blockchain and cryptocurrency development since early 2016.

What is a decentralized exchange?

A DEX is an exchange that does not rely on a third-party service to hold the customer's funds, such as Coinbase. Instead, trades occur directly between users in a p2p network through an automated process. This system is created by making proxy tokens, which are crypto assets that represent a certain fiat or cryptocurrency. Another way to do this is to use assets, which can represent shares in a company for example, or through a decentralized multi-signature escrow system, among other solutions that are currently in development.

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Bitcoin Still Breaking New Lows, But Bullish Breakout Expected

For two months in a row Bitcoin has posted losses, but the feeling is that a bottom has been reached and a break-out could be around the corner
Bitcoin Still Breaking New Lows, But Bullish Breakout Expected
Contents

The third quarter for Bitcoin has not been a pleasing one as its price has hit new lows month on month, but the feeling is that there is a bullish breakout brewing.

August and now September have seen Bitcoin price close out lower than it started those months, but price predictors are still optimistic that there will be a quarter four price boost for a number of reasons.

The likes of Mike Novogratz have called this price bracket the bottom for Bitcoin and because of this the only way the cryptocurrency should be up. It was also in the fourth quarter that the Bitcoin price started shooting up.

Poor August & September

Bitcoin’s price opened September just above $7,000, but through this month there was a sharp decline that took the cryptocurrency down below $6,200. It is currently hovering around $6,500 which shows another month of losses.

This goes along with a 10 percent loss that was felt from the beginning to the end of August.

However, despite two months in the third quarter showing losses, Bitcoin’s price is actually up a few percentage points in the third quarter.

How the third quarter went

July saw Bitcoin break a small record as it reached above $8,500 to make it a new two-month high which was also a change in a four-month-long overall decline. Most of this rise was because of the excitement surrounding a potential ETF decision from the SEC.

However, Bitcoin price fell on the news that the Winklevoss twins had had their second ETF application rejected. This news may have brought the price down, but July was a good month overall as it showed an end to Bitcoin’s long losing streak leading up to the halfway mark of 2018.

August saw Bitcoin almost hit a new low for the year, for it fell below $6,000, but quickly made its way back to $7,000 as the end of the month came. And, despite August seeing a lot of selling action, Bitcoin managed to grab back a plus-50 percent dominance across the entire market.

September saw Bitcoin slowly rising with a lot of optimism flowing back into the cryptocurrency market; however, a sudden drop early in the month put many people on the back foot again. The sell-off that followed saw Bitcoin drop back towards $6,000.

However, as September has closed off, Bitcoin has been slowly gaining again.

Bulls around the corner?

There are a few indicators and predictors that seem to point to a rally being around the corner for the fourth quarter of 2018. The anticipation of a Bitcoin ETF is one such indicator. Many feel that should the SEC open the doors on a Bitcoin ETF with some applications still being considered there will be a big influx into the cryptocurrency.

It will indicate an acceptance from regulators and also open a big door for institutionalized investors to enter the market.

Tom Lee has also come out in support for his year-end prediction which is its past all-time high of $20,000. Lee’s latest assertion is that $6,000 is an important mark for miners as it is essentially a break-even point.

“$6,000 is a level that is more important than we realized. Earlier this year, we were pointing at $6,000 as a breakeven for Bitcoin mining, so that level should hold. The fact that Bitcoin is holding here is very good news. I think there are catalysts in the year-end, so I think despite the lower highs we’ve seen, I think we’re starting to reverse,” Lee said.

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US Cryptocurrency Tax Guide 2018: Unchained’s Laura Shin’s Tips

Between you and the IRS: Tax rules US-based cryptocurrency users should know
US Cryptocurrency Tax Guide 2018: Unchained’s Laura Shin’s Tips
Contents

Tax reporting season is coming up in the US, and we would like to share the highlights from a January episode of podcast Unchained, in which host Laura Shin had a conversation with tax attorney Tyson Cross and CPA Jason Tyra about tax rules crypto owners in the US should pay attention to. You can check out the original podcast here.

1. Every single sell of virtual currency is a taxable event

That includes not only cashing out cryptocurrency for fiat but also buying a cup of coffee, exchange one type of virtual currency for another.

Under IRS rules, cryptocurrencies are categorized as properties. When they are sold, the seller is subject to capital tax gains. When they are sold at a loss, the seller can claim losses.

2. Taxpayers are responsible for keeping track of crypto transactions

Taxpayers are advised to keep a spreadsheet of their own to record the date of a transaction, the buying price, the currency. Transaction fees are treated as deductions.

In terms of matching buys and sales or determining the cost basis, the IRS hasn’t issued guidelines, so the taxpayer can do either first in first out, last in first out, or cherry-pick.

However, cherry-picking will be very time consuming and may result in mistakes, Cross and Tyra warned. Both experts used first in first out with their clients, while also acknowledging that the practice doesn’t result in the least taxes in a rising rate environment.

Some exchanges keep records for their users, but they cannot keep track of the buying price of the assets if the user transferred the currencies from another exchange or from their wallet, and sometimes the way exchanges characterize transactions can be misleading.

The cost basis may not be right when users transfer crypto from other sources. Non-US exchanges may have different terminology. Decentralized exchanges may not keep records for users at all.

Since every sell is a taxable event, trading cryptos just for fun is probably not a good idea.

https://bitcoin.tax/ and https://cointracking.info/ are two popular tools for the purpose of reporting taxes on crypto. Cross hasn’t used them, and Tyra said his clients use them and they worked well.

When a taxpayer acquires cryptocurrencies through hard fork, the experts recommended the cost basis to start at zero. Better IRS guidance on the matter is needed, Cross said.

3.  Claiming transactions to like-kind exchanges may delay paying taxes, but the IRS can challenge that.

IRS section 1031 rules that taxpayer can postpone paying tax on the gain if he/she reinvests the proceeds in similar property as part of a qualifying like-kind exchange. Since cryptocurrency is a new asset class, the IRS has no rules on determining like-kind exchanges on crypto.

That means that the IRS may challenge the claim, and the taxpayer will either have to pay up or face a potential lawsuit. The new tax code’s like-kind exchange only applies to real estate, but the taxpayer can consider the option if their crypto was sold before the rule changed.

Even if the taxpayer doesn’t have to be taxed for it, in the end, one still needs to report it at form 8824.

4. Selling at a loss and then buying back can be a way to avoid tax...until it can’t be.

Such a practice is called wash sales in security terms, and the IRS has a rule against wash sales- the IRS cannot recognize a loss on an investment if that investment was purchased within 30 days of sale (before or after sale).

For now, this rule doesn’t apply to cryptocurrencies because they are not securities, but taxpayers need to beware of economic substance doctrine, which means that any trade having no substance other than tax benefits is deemed invalid.

5. If you are a Coinbase user

IRS has requested all transactions records for customers who have transacted in amounts larger than $14,000. If you fit this criterion, you should consult with a tax advisor to determine whether you are at risk of civil and criminal penalties due to unreported income, wrote Cross in an email to Unchained.

For a more detailed explanation on tax policy as well as insights on various scenarios like payroll and mining, please refer to the original podcast.

Disclaimer: this article is only a general guidance based on research. It’s not legal or accounting advice. Please refer to a lawyer or accountant for guidance to your specific needs. 

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Fitness Monetized: Past ICO Review

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Fitness tracker monetization attracts investors and Dallas Mavericks for partnerships
Fitness Monetized: Past ICO Review
Contents

Lithuania-based Lympo has developed an app to monetize fitness tracking and create an ecosystem around it where all participants are fairly compensated.

This sounds like a dream come true on paper, but will the app be able to work as promised?

Not so sure, as the app is slated to be ready in 2020. With a long wait time, fitness enthusiasts may look somewhere else.

Financials

The 11-day ICO ran between Feb. 17 and 28 this year and raised $16.8 mln. The token entered the market at $0.02 and at the time of writing is trading at $0.114 an increase of 450 percent in only four months, impressive!

There are one bln tokens in circulation and it has a market cap of $88 mln. A recent price surge is due to it recently being listed on Bitfinex and Ethfinex and signing deals with the Dallas Mavericks.

Love/hate

Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban said to Bizjournals "the Mavericks found clear alignment with Lympo’s mission to create a healthier world by utilizing the latest technology to encourage fitness and healthy living in a whole new way."

The Mavericks deal is ironic because of Cuban’s stance against cryptocurrency. However, it was announced last year the Mavericks will begin accepting crypto payments for thing such as tickets, and merchandise. This an ironic turn of events coming from a guy who hates Bitcoin.

Fitness monetized

According to the website, Lympo is building an ecosystem that allows for users to be rewarded with Lympo tokens for healthy lifestyles and achieving fitness goals.

Additionally, Lympo wants to ensure that all data is used by all industry stakeholders and everyone is rewarded fairly. Lympo’s goals are the creation of:

  1. a Lympo Fitness Wallet
  2. a Marketplace
  3. a Lympo crowdfunding platform

The wallet would be used to store users’ rewards, which they could later spend in the marketplace on things such as hiring personal trainers and health service providers. The crowdfunding platform exists to serve as an investment platform for which new data-driven companies could invest into new apps to upgrade the Lympo experience. While this may sound great, and all stakeholders will be fairly rewarded, there is no definition of what that means?

How many tokens will a user get by running a mile or going to the gym? How much it cost for an hour of personal training?

This information is not available and it is reminiscent of a credit card points scheme, where $1 equals one point, but when you go to put that towards your balance, 100 points equals $1. Marketing ploys at their best.

Time is not on anyone’s side in crypto

While this is still a new app, there is still some time required until the technology goes lives and it can be used.

The recent add on some exchanges and the announcement of their first partnership are some major milestones for this startup.

However, the company must get their app up and running or all these big partnerships and announcements will be for nought.

The full release of the app and software is slated for 2020; a long, long time away in the cryptosphere.

On one hand, this gives them time to get the project completed correctly, but on the other hand, it puts investors on edge; seeing things happen so quickly in the cryptocurrency world, 1.5 years is a lot of time to wait.

Time is of the essence with crypto. If you are unable to maintain positive attention, then you will not be able to succeed.

By saying things will be ready to go almost two years later, leaves questions in many minds. In the meantime, investors could lose faith, competition could push Lympo out, lack of communications to the media makes people wary: is the company still working towards goals? Is there infighting? Is this a scam? Many will ask these questions.  

Lympo.lt was founded by Ada Jonuse, which was the initial platform to bring together individuals with personal trainers in Lithuania.

Jonuse is the founder and CEO of Lympo. She leads a team of 11 others that make up the base of the company.

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