FOAM, Loom, And 0x

In down markets like the current, it's a great time to stop thinking about prices and get back to the tech. I've been spending a good amount of time at the San Francisco Ethereum Dev Meetups and here are some of the interesting things I've come across.

FOAM: A mesh network of radio beacons that provide a "proof of location" service
Official pitch:
 The FOAM Proof of Location protocol empowers a permissionless and autonomous network of radio beacons that can offer secure location services independent of external centralized sources such as GPS through time synchronization.

GPS is a good technology for getting your own location on a map, or sharing your location with someone you trust, but what if you wanted to prove to an employer or a third party that you were somewhere at a specific time? For this need, GPS has a few limitations: you could fake your location, your receiver isn't able to get a signal from the the four required beacons because of interference from structures, or someone (like a nationstate) could be actively interfering with your signal.

The FOAM project aims to create an incentivized network of synchronized radio beacons that will verify your location on the Ethereum blockchain for a small fee (paid in their token). If someone tries to fake their location by signing a transaction in a place they're not, the network will financially penalize the cheater.

In short, the ecosystem for spacial data will be a two-sided marketplace: The "user" who is asking the beacons to record their location without relying on GPS (IoT, logistics and insurance companies come to mind), and the "location provider", anyone with a synchronized beacons who is collecting fees from the network by providing spacial data. They are planning an ICO for this summer.

Some interesting links on the topic:

Loom: an Ethereum scaling solution for the gaming industry
Official pitch:
 Think World of Warcraft and Twitter on the blockchain. Built on Ethereum.

It's my observation that the "Internet" has a negative outlook on Ethereum's ability to scale up transactions/second to meet the demands of projects trying to record game data (Cryptokitties). However, many of the devs working directly on Ethereum projects have publicly declared extreme confidence in the future of sidechains as a way to offload Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) computation and use the main Ethereum chain as a low throughput "source of truth".

Loom is a scaling project with major momentum. I came across them while taking their Solidity programming course called CryptoZombies (highly recommended intro to blockchain programming). In short, Loom is a platform for creating a unique sidechain (they call them DAppChains) for any game.

This differs from most Ethereum sidechain projects in a major way, in that most sidechains are implemented on a per project basis. Using Loom, any game dev could instantly spawn their own sidechain without the overhead of creating "yet another crypto project". I'm pretty excited to see where this one goes. Their token is currently trading for $0.35 with a total supply of 1,000,000,000.

0x Protocol: Infrastructure layer for decentralized exchanges
Official pitch:
 an open, permissionless protocol allowing for ERC-20 tokens to be traded on the Ethereum blockchain.

The main project goal is a sidechain protocol that anyone can use to create a decentralized ERC-20 token exchange, not just for currency, but also for collectable tokens like CryptoKitties. Some notable projects are already implementing it, including Paradex, which was acquired by Coinbase in May 2018. The ZRX token is currently trading at $1.31 with a max supply of 1,000,000,000.