If you're like me you've seen ads for XYO Network's ICO all over the place. The idea sounded very familiar but I realized it was because I'd heard about a similar project called FOAM last year. So I decided to take a quick look at both and see how them compare.
I watched the introductory videos that XYO and FOAM offer on their YouTube channels...
Inside the XYO Network:
The Elements of FOAM Explained:
Here's my 10,000-foot view: XYO is a hardware company that had Bluetooth and GPS tracking tiles they were selling for bag and other item tracking. Now they have pivoted to making that into a blockchain company. They apparently are spending A LOT on marketing - their ads are all over the place. From their video it is clear they are a tiny company and it really feels like they are long on hype, really pushing the gadgets that they had made already. Basically they are aggregating location info from the tracker tiles which can talk to each other for "selfies" and turn that into data that can be accessed from the blockchain with a location confidence rating. Location really comes from existing sources - GPS and perhaps other tiles with known fixed location. They talk about launching a satellite as if to hint they will create their own GPS replacement but I feel like that is a bit of a far fetched claim, it's probably just a one-off something to get some hype and say "hey we launched a nano-satellite, now we are serious!".
FOAM on the other hand is starting from the ground up, focusing on independent location determination using their own network of ground based radio beacons which could I presume augment any other untrusted sources. While hyping the vulnerability and centralization of GPS smells a bit like FUD-spreading I do fundamentally get their point - it is in the spirit of a decentralized service that will endure that we don't just rely 100% on centralized systems. Their solution also includes building an actual map of the world based on the consensus of the FOAM users. Think of it as a global OpenStreetMaps on the blockchain.
My guess is that XYO will take a lot of the limelight with its excessive marketing and big splashy ICO. There will probably be a big pop in price over tokens hit the general market from all the Americans who couldn't get in on the ICO (they offer the option to invest in their XY company directly and not the token - I feel that's a pretty risky move and certainly not the same as buying the tokens, you won't be able to turn around and sell those shares when XYO token is mooning).
From my personal perspective, I'd put my money with FOAM because it has the feel of a hardcore decentralized effort that is thinking beyond Ethereum network and building a system that could last forever. They may be the stealth tortoise in this space but I think they have a better core esprit-de-location.
I have yet to read the white papers for the projects but after I do I will post more.