FinTech Horizons

Kevin Nafziger is co-founder and project lead at Fintech Horizons Media .

Fr8 Network, the creator of a blockchain-based protocol for the freight industry, is in the process or raising funds through a public pre-sale of its FR8 token and is tentatively planning to launch an ICO in October, co-founder Sloane Brakeville told Fintech Horizons.

Fr8 Network was founded in May 2017 and is based in New York. The startup has already raised $ 4,000,0000 from a private pre-sale of its token, which it completed in February, Brakeville said. Its public pre-sale began in April and is ongoing and the company is also building a whitelist for its upcoming ICO, he said.

Interest is already strong in the ICO, Brakeville said, as the ICO would be oversubscribed if all those on its whitelist decided to participate in the token sale, the co-founder said. Fr8 is seeking to raise up to $ 60,000,000 from the upcoming ICO, according to recent published reports.

Fr8 is not currently seeking equity financing, although it will always hear what people have to say on the subject, Brakeville said. For example, Fr8 might sell an equity stake if doing so would help in securing an important partnership, he said.  

A startup like Fr8 Network is nothing without partnerships, Brakeville said, and the company needs more pilot programs, beyond its initial efforts in trucking, to prove out the protocol and further its adoption.

Brakeville compared the push for a blockchain-based protocol in shipping to the competition between VHS and Betamax to become the standard in video formatting. 

In the long run, it is likely that a majority in the industry will coalesce around a single protocol just as they did with VHS, he said. The quality of the technology is just one of several factors that could influence why a protocol is adopted, he added.    

While shipping is just one use for blockchain, the value the technology can offer the industry is enormous, Brakeville said, especially because standards like Electronic Data Interchange, or EDI, are hard to use.

Information sharing in shipping remains complicated and unreliable, Brakeville said. It’s difficult for those who need data to get it, and it’s harder still to trust that information is accurate, once it is received. A blockchain-based protocol would solve this trust issue, Brakeville said, as its immutability ensures that the original data has not been altered.

Fr8 is initially testing the protocol in trucking, Brakeville said, as it continues to build out its MVP, or minimal viable product. Jon Fox, the company’s project lead, who founded Fr8 Network with Brakeville, owns his own trucking firm, according to media reports.

Fr8 Network will continue to add pilot programs in related areas of track and trace, Brakeville said. In July, the firm announced a partnership with OpenPort, a digital logistics provider with a multinational footprint, according to a press release.

Brakeville initially became interested in blockchain because his college roommate was creating a bitcoin mining company, Brakeville said during a July crypto podcast. After doing his due diligence, Brakeville joined the firm which lasted just one year, he said. Brakeville’s interest in digital currencies however continued, he said during the podcast.

Not long after graduating from the University of Georgia in 2014, Brakeville joined IBM as a blockchain developer and later became a lead engineer in IBM’s blockchain division, he told this news service.

Fox also spoke on the July podcast about how his interest in blockchain was born. That interest developed relatively recently, he said, starting about 15 months ago at the age of 42, after purchasing his first bitcoin online. After during so, Fox spent the night learning all he could about the technology, noting during the podcast that he had not pulled such an all-nighter in more than 10 years. That interest continued and quickly dovetailed into his current venture, he said.