Apr 192017
 

TaaS Crypto Research

TaaS (Token-as-a-Service)is a new crypto-asset (crypto-token on Ethereum), which is a closed-end fund for the cryptocurrency industry broadly. This means there is a fund management team that invests in promising new crypto-assets, crypto-tokens, meta-tokens, app-coins, or protocol tokens (whatever you want to call them), and shares the profits with its token-holders. TaaS will invest in existing crypto-assets and also in new ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings). In fact, TaaS itself is currently undergoing its ICO to fund the initial capital.

TaaS of course is not the first project looking to invest into the emerging market of ICOs and crypto-assets. Many different projects are trying to do the same, from ICONOMI (which was an ICO like TaaS and raised over $10 million) to Blockchain Capital.

However, they all differ in their approach – either the fund structure, or the types of investments. For instance, ICONOMI does a buy-back to return money to shareholders and there is no fee structure disclosed, which means investors don’t know how much they’ll lose out on operating expenses of the fund. Blockchain Capital is a tradeable and investable token, but its investments are more venture capital based rather than crypto-asset based.

With these in mind, let’s look at where TaaS fits into the picture.

Existing Financial Industry Structure

If you look at the largest investment banks in the world today, like say Goldman Sachs, you’ll see they have a very active research division. If you look at the largest hedge-funds today, they have their internal research division that forms buy-side research at these firms. These sell-side and buy-side research is an integral and important part of the financial industry.

The ICO and crypto-asset industry is very nascent indeed. Bitcoin, the grandfather of all cryptos, isn’t even a decade old. However, the market is adding billions of dollars worth of capitalization in months. Today, the market stands at around $25 billion, with the dominance of Bitcoin on the wane (relative to the total market size). Research in this area is just getting started.

The problem with many of the funds in the industry is that they are flying blind. They do not have a solid analytical and data foundation on which to build the investment thesis. Without this foundation, unfortunately, investments look like speculation. Instead of targeted investing, funds are involved in spray-and-pray strategies that doesn’t help the ecosystem grow.

The Investment Decision Making Process

It goes without saying that crypto is a fairly recent and unique asset class, which means the strategies that work for equity investors will not work carbon-copy with crypto-assets. However, we can take lessons from the existing financial industry.

The minimum level of due-diligence that any fund manager in the crypto space needs to take is to read the whitepaper, understand the product, understand the team behind the project, and look at the token structure, i.e. what is the use of this token. This first step itself is a big deal of research for most investors.

However, one cannot stop there. There are many other research questions to answer. What’s the potential market size? What are the valuation assumptions? What are some past deals with similar ideas? What kinds of ratios are existing tokens in this industry selling for? What’s the crypto-market capitalization for this and related ideas? What are the risks being faced by the industry?

To answer the above questions, one needs data and human judgement. However, getting the data is the first step. Today, there are very few avenues for investors to get this data about the market they are investing in.

How TaaS is Different

Enter TaaS. Instead of being just another fund management platform, TaaS is building the ecosystem from ground up. Instead of first doing the picking of ICOs/crypto-assets, TaaS is asking the meta question – what kinds of questions do I need to answer to make a good investment decision? To this end, TaaS is building a crypto data and research platform, aka the Bloomberg of crypto, in the form of Kepler. I predict this will usher in an era of new products in the crypto-research space, which is at a cross-roads now and very much needs these products.

Kepler can be subscribed to by outside fund managers as well. In the absence of such a product in the marketplace, the TaaS team is building one for the industry – an ambitious step but a step in the right direction nonetheless. After all, investments and research should always go hand in hand.

The TaaS ICO is ongoing now. Check out the site and other details at http://taas.fund/

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Apr 012017
 

Lunyr Decentralized Knowledgebase

Lunyr is a new crypto-economic asset built on Ethereum, aimed to get the economic incentives right for distributed online knowledge sharing. Lunyr has built a clever set of incentive schemes that could potentially help it provide much higher quality information than other similar sites, including the likes of Wikipedia.

Today, Wikipedia represents one of the best known successes of large-scale knowledge sharing collaborative networks. In fact, it has been such a massive success that it killed the 244 year old Britannica Encyclopedia because the traditional model just couldn’t keep up with the frequency of updates and the addition of new information by Wikipedia. Run in a completely voluntary fashion, Wikipedia highlights that it is possible to create collaborative knowledge networks in today’s interconnected worlds.

Scratch a bit deeper though, and you’ll see a host of problems with the Wikipedia model, from errors to outright hoaxes. A large part of the reason for this is that neither the contributors nor the editors who later check the articles have any financial incentive. Economics, after all, trumps many other human systems of collaboration. As Adam Smith said,

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. ~ Adam Smith

Lunyr aims to create a better knowledgebase using people’s regard to their own interest.

Beyond Wikipedia

Lunyr aims to create a new kind of collaborative knowledge system, but this time around, they want to do it based on providing economic incentives that may remove the issues plaguing the Wikipedia model. Another benefit of the Lunyr system is that it is not limited to just the creation of written content.

The vision is to be able to expand the system to much beyond that. With the advent of technologies from Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Virtual Reality (VR), Lunyr aims to create powerful APIs that plug into all these systems that require information and knowledge.

This is a powerful feature, since it is likely that in the future, machines (machine learning/artificial intelligence) will be the primary customers of information and knowledge, rather than humans. Data, after all, is overtaking the written word already. It is only a matter of time before machine intelligence consumes more content than us sapiens. How then will they consume this information? They will also need to ensure the information is accurate, and that not anyone can change the ‘facts’ via which the algorithms operate. Lunyr provides a possible solution to that problem because there is economic incentive system built into the system to prevent such abuses.

Lunyr works by creating a completely decentralized knowledge sharing database. Contributors can create new articles, and get paid for their efforts. Editors can edit, make changes, and accept/reject articles and get paid for their efforts. There is also a dispute-resolution system, which is needed in decentralized networks because not everyone may agree with a certain point. The monetary value of the network is through advertising. There are less chances of corruption in a decentralized decision-making process like Lunyr than with a centralized model like Wikipedia through advertising.

The below is the timeline for the launch of Lunyr. Note that the Lunyr ICO is currently ongoing, and you can get 44 LUN per ETH right now. The project has already raised over $300,000 in the ICO. Note that since there is no bonus for early participation, it is expected that the Lunyr ICO will continue to see traction until its end, and likely attract a large portion of the funds towards the end of the ICO rather than the beginning.

Lunyr Timeline

Check out the project here.

Mar 292017
 

Kepler by TaaS

TaaS (Token-as-a-service) is an emerging project in the crypto-asset management space with its ICO currently ongoing. There has been a rapid emergence of many different projects in the crypto asset management space. It is a nascent niche for sure, but as cryptocurrencies (including crypto-assets, protocol tokens, app-coins, altcoins, etc.) grow as an asset class, this is bound to increase in prominence. In fact, very recently, the market capitalization of all crypto other than Bitcoin has reached an all-time high, close to $5 billion. There’s serious money in this line of business, and companies are rushing into the space.

Industry Basics

Before we discuss TaaS or its offerings, lets take a look first at the industry in general. The goal of crypto asset management firms is to make it easy for investors to gain exposure to cryptocurrency as an asset class. At a high level, there are two ways to gain this exposure:

  • Passive investing (similar to an index fund, say the S&P500 index fund).
  • Active investing, which can entail many different strategies and fund structures.

Let’s take a quick look at the passive investing side. Today, there are no real crypto-indexes to speak of which are investable by the investors. There are a few indexes that you can see, such as the Smith+Crown crypto index, but it is poorly constructed with only 11 components, and isn’t kept up to date. Then there are indexes like ICONOMI index which is being used for ICNX, it’s flagship index fund product. These may be an option for investors in the future, if they agree with the index components and weightings. There is no widely available product yet.

The active industry part is where things start to get interesting, because there is a lot of discretion with strategies to follow, and fund structures to use.

Take the example of ICONOMI, which is probably going to be one of the closest competitors for TaaS. It has a flagship ‘hedge fund’ product which is traded as an Ethereum token, ICNP (not live yet). This is different from the index fund previously discussed, which is ICNX. The ICNX is an open fund structure, which means there is free conversion between the token ICNX and the underlying basket of cryptocurrencies that it holds. ICNP on the other hand is discretionary. TaaS is similarly a closed-end fund but with built-in audit features, so it can provide investor transparency on what is held by the fund.

Enter Kepler

Kepler is an invention by the TaaS team. It is a data and portfolio management tool. Kepler is to crypto-finance what the Bloomberg terminal is to traditional finance. In a nutshell, Kepler is purported to be a complete tool for traders and investors. Kepler starts at the very beginning – research stage, and goes through the very end – risk management for portfolios. In-between are included processes like order management and order routing to various exchanges. This is a powerful set of features, and if TaaS is able to deliver on the promise of Kepler, it is game changing in the crypto-asset management space. No other company today offers such a comprehensive tool-set.

The appeal of Kepler is that investors and traders can do everything from within the platform. They can do market research, qualitative analysis, fundamental analysis, technical analysis, price trends, and all other aspects of research before buying into a crypto-token. Then, they will be able to route orders to various exchanges that let you buy and sell these crypto assets. Then you can monitor and manage your portfolio based on parameters that you define. These are all the functions that the Bloomberg terminal is capable of doing (and much more of course) but not for cryptofinancial assets.

One big advantage for releasing Kepler to the market is TaaS can firstly pull ahead of competition with a real product to market that makes money. Then, it can use that data to help with future trading and investment, both for the TaaS fund and for others to use. There is an in-built network effect here – the more successful Kepler can be, the more traders it will attract, the better data it gets, which better helps the TaaS team make good decisions for investors.

The market today lacks a tool like Kepler. TaaS has a real advantage in the space, and if the team plays their cards right, they can create real value in the entire ecosystem, which should also help TaaS investors.

The ICO starts soon. Check out the site and other details at http://taas.fund/

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Photo Credit: Nicholas Erwin

Mar 112017
 

Joberr ICO
Joberr is a jobs platform built on Ethereum, with built-in protections for freelancers and employers. Joberr aims to be the Fiverr of the Ethereum and crypto world. By building on Ethereum, and making payments in Ethereum through smart contracts and escrow services, Joberr is able to reduce the operational cost compared to sites like Fiverr that need to work through traditional payment channels and use traditional technologies. As the Ethereum ecosystem grows in size, there will be an increased demand for marketplaces that match projects with talent. Joberr is a step in that direction.

Joberr itself will host an ICO and provide tokens for investors. These tokens are able to earn a percentage of the profits generated by the enterprise.

Joberr ICO and Token Value

Jobber is holding its ICO in two phases:

  • Phase-1 starts March 12th 2017 (and ends March 26th 2017). Maximum 50,000 USD to be raised. There will be a 30% bonus over Phase-2, as investors in this stage are taking on more risk.
  • Phase-2 dates are still to be determined, but it will be after the project development is completed. Maximum of 240,500 USD to be raised in this phase.

The most interesting aspect of the Joberr ICO from an investor perspective is the realism of the goals. The team has refused to try and raise as much as possible over as long a time-frame as possible. Instead, they have adopted the ‘sustainable business model’ ICO of raising as much as they need to get the product to market, and then use retained earnings to pay the team and grow the business. They have eschewed the classic VC ‘grow fast burn fast’ model in favor of organic growth going forward.

Investors that buy tokens in the first phase of the ICO should know that the development of the product is not completed yet, and they will therefore be taking on an additional risk. However, they will be rewarded with a 30% bonus over the second phase investors.

The project has several sources of possible income:

  • There is transaction fees for both buyers and sellers.
  • There will be premium listings that will cost money.
  • Revenue generating ads on the website.

There will likely emerge other sources of income if the site catches on with freelance workers. 50% of the net profits will get distributed to the token holders, in the form of Ethereum. The rest go to the team to continue operations and expand the business.

Existing Market and Tailwinds

Joberr is entering a market with several related solutions, but nothing for this specific use-case. Its pitch is to be the Fiverr for Ethereum, not a jobs-listing portal. For the cryptocurrency community today, the two most popular boards to look for freelance gigs are Reddit’s Jobs4Bitcoins subreddit, and Coinality.

The closest competition for Joberr is going to be Ethlance, which is geared towards the Ethereum community. Ethlance is also built on the Ethereum blockchain (and IPFS) to host data and contracts. However, it is important to realize that for a freelancer, Joberr gives more protections than Ethlance. Ethlance is similar to a jobs-listing site, which provides a decentralized way to host your job. However, it clearly states, for example, that Ethlance will not manage any disputes between the worker and employer. This is a big problem for freelancers to work on gigs for employers they have no previous relationship with.

Joberr, on the other hand, offers both employer and freelancer protection. To protect freelancers, Joberr has an escrow system. It also has a 2-sided reputation system that will help maintain existing relationships and build new ones. They also anticipate a third-party dispute resolution system, which should increase confidence of both freelancers and employers to use the platform.

Joberr will also likely compete with Colony, another decentralized Ethereum-based marketplace. However, colony isn’t live yet, and has a much grander vision on the future of work, and helping build companies together instead of one-off tasks.

The biggest tailwind for a jobs marketplace like Joberr is the rapidly expanding Ethereum ecosystem. As the number of projects on Ethereum increases, so will the demand for talent. Joberr can provide a one-stop shop for a new project to get off the ground, bringing in all sorts of talent, from designers to programmers to build an MVP. The potential is too great to ignore.

Check out Joberr here.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Mar 112017
 

TaaS Fund Management
TaaS (Token As A Service) is a new crypto project that is filling the increasing demand for crypto fund management. There is a lot of investor appetite for easy access to crypto as an asset class. We are seeing this niche get crowded of late – ICONOMI, Melonport, etc. are all involved, in some way, to help investors gain exposure to the new crypto asset class, and satisfy their demand. TaaS is a promising new project that is aimed to allow investors to reap the gains from good cryptocurrency investments. TaaS is separating itself from the rest of the crowd in many different ways that we’ll discuss below. Also, the TaaS ICO will start soon, so keep an eye out.

TaaS ICO and Structure

TaaS will sell a maximum of 101 million TaaS tokens in its ICO (Initial Coin Offering) that will go on for a month. No additional TaaS tokens will ever be created in the future. Also, the token sale structure is set up in a way that the tokens have a fixed price (of $1) and any tokens not sold in the ICO will be burned. The ICO will start on March 27th 2017.

Interestingly, the team has refused to hold on to any TaaS tokens in the future, i.e. all the TaaS tokens that will ever be created will be sold to the general public. This is different from many other projects that usually hold on to a certain percentage of tokens sold in the ICO, so they can ride the price up if it pops after the ICO.

There are bonuses for the ICO, but the bonuses are not based on duration as many other ICOs do. Instead, the bonuses are based on how much has been raised already till that point. The following is the bonus structure.

TaaS ICO Bonus

How Does TaaS Work?

The details of how TaaS works is outlined in its official whitepaper. TaaS is an Ethereum-based token which is structured as a closed-end fund. A closed-end fund pools investments from investors, invests the funds in the market, and distributes the returns back to the original investors. In the case of TaaS, 50% of all the returns earned on the invested money is sent back to the original investors. 25% is invested back into the fund, thus raising its AUM (assets under management) and thus the NAV (net asset value) of the closed-end fund. The remaining 25% is distributed between operational expenses (15%) and a reserve fund (10%). The reserve fund is used to handle investor fund outflows during the life-cycle of the fund (remember it’s a closed-end fund).

Therefore investors in TaaS have two distinct sources of return –

  • Earnings distributed via earnings, to the tune of 50%.
  • Increase in NAV of the fund, which means each TaaS token represents a higher amount of money in the ‘pot’.

Of course, there are the usual elements of earnings growth and speculation that will also drive the market price of the TaaS token.

Fund Transparency

TaaS is handling the problem of transparency in two distinct ways –

  • For the payouts themselves, the team is building a smart-contract platform that will ensure fair payments to all investors, with a minimum of 50% of profits sent to the investors.
  • For the transparency of the fund and its holdings, the team is building a Cryptographic Audit (CA) technology. This technology will allow the investors in the fund to monitor and track the history of the closed-end fund and what types of cryptocurrencies (blockchain assets) the fund bought and sold over a period of time.

The transparency at the fund level is unprecedented in the world of closed-end funds, whether they invest in regular markets or blockchain assets/cryptocurrencies. The team wants to make this one of the distinguishing features from some of the other projects involved in crypto fund management.

How TaaS is Different

In addition to building a closed-end fund, the TaaS team is building a complete portfolio management tool that also combines an analytics platform. This is called Kepler. This is already in private beta and the current timeline for Kepler’s launch is end of 2017.

TaaS has some similarities to the ICONOMI.PERFORMANCE fund, in that it is run at management’s discretion (the management team makes the decision on what crypto-assets and ICOs to invest in). However, in the ICONOMI.PERFORMANCE fund, different investors buy ICP tokens (i.e. investors that want hedge-fund like exposure to crypto) and different investors get the fees from that fund, i.e. ICN investors. However, in the case of TaaS, the fund is owned by the token holders, and 50% of the total profits are sent to these token holders. Management uses a part of the funds to manage operating expenses. The structure of a closed-end fund is therefore simpler. This is more appealing to ICO investors. Finally, ICONOMI doesn’t have any tools for transparency. The team announces new investments on a blog post. However, neither the ICN investors nor the ICP investors know the timing of trades, or can audit the trades. This is in contrast to TaaS which wants to make transparency a cornerstone of its fund offering.

Melonport is also in the same asset-management niche, which aims to build a fully decentralized fund management platform with the help of Polkadot. However, the focus of Melonport is more towards providing the tools of fund management to any crypto hedge fund manager. Melonport doesn’t itself do any crypto investing on behalf of investors. On the other hand, TaaS has an actual management team in place that will do the research and analysis necessary to make intelligent investments.

The ICO starts soon. Check out the site and other details at http://taas.fund/

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Feb 272017
 

Edgeless Casino Ethereum
Edgeless is a blockchain-based casino built on Ethereum. It pitches itself to be a casino with 0% house edge, when games of skill are played with 100% accuracy. It makes money when players make mistakes, for instance, not everyone will play blackjack accurately all the time. Edgeless plans to launch with games of both skill (like blackjack) and luck (like roulette). It is using a scheme that uses 2 random numbers, with one of them being generated by the user himself, only after a number has been generated and committed by the house. This way, there is no way for the house to cheat. The smart contracts that power Edgeless are also open for everyone to evaluate.

Edgeless ICO

Edgeless is having its ICO, starting on 28th February 2017 at 3pm GMT. The ICO is structured with weekly bonuses, with an additional power hour bonus. Crypto-enthusiasts can participate in the ICO by sending their Ethereum from a wallet whose private keys they control (like MyEtherWallet). If you only have Bitcoin, you can buy Ethereum on exchanges like Coinbase or use ShapeShift.

The regular price at the ICO is 1 ETH = 1000 EDG (Edgeless tokens). However, investors who get in during the power hour (first hour of the ICO, which is 3pm to 4pm GMT) will get 1200 EDG for 1 ETH. Investors after the power hour but within the first week will get 1100 EDG for 1 ETH, and investors in the second week will get 1050 EDG for 1 ETH.

The Edgeless team released a big FAQ about the project, ICO, goals, team, etc. that investors should read before investing any money in the ICO.

Like some of the other ICOs, Edgeless is staying away from the US market. This is to ensure that the company doesn’t get in any trouble with the law and regulations, which are overly burdensome and onerous for businesses catering to Americans. In addition, American law doesn’t take well to gambling operations, even if Americans want those services. Therefore the ICO will have IP restrictions on who can participate, with Americans being excluded. It is a pity, because there are many Ethereum investors and enthusiasts in the US.

The Edgeless token is also a little different from the other recent ICOs in that there are no ‘dividends’. Instead, all token holders will enter a lottery-type system which collects 40% of all fees collected on the platform. The rest goes to the development team.

Other Ethereum ICOs

Edgeless plans to raise between 370,000 to 440,000 ETH, depending on the timing of money received during the ICO. At current prices of $14.7 per ETH, this translates to $5.44 million to $6.47 million. The company hopes that recent successful ICOs on Etherum have whetted investor appetite for bigger ones. Just in February 2017, Santiment raised its goal of 12,000 ETH in a matter of a few hours. Then, Dfinity raised around $3.9 million with a $1 million goal. Finally, Melon sold out its ICO of $2.9 million in under 10 minutes.

Edgeless hopes that investors will be willing to invest more money into its ICO, with the attraction of capturing a part of the gambling market. With an average expectation of $6 million, its ICO will be one of the largest ones in 2017 thus far, if it is successful. Investors can get more information about Edgeless ICO from the official crowdsale website. Check out the homepage here.

Disclaimer: US citizens are not legally allowed to participate in Edgeless Project crowdsale.

Photo Credit: World Poker Tour

Feb 192017
 

Melonport ICO Seed
The Melonport ICO (first round, seed) was completed in under 10 minutes, and the project raised 227,000 Ether, which is around $2.9 million. Melonport pitches itself as blockchain software for asset management. The ICO was finished way too early for many enthusiasts and therefore I believe the token wasn’t as widely distributed as it could have been.

In all, 500,000 Melon tokens were for sale to the public, out of the 750,000 created by the team for this round. The total supply of Melon tokens will not exceed 1,250,000 tokens, with the rest of the 500,000 tokens potentially being sold in a second round next year in 2018. The Melon ICO price was around 0.45 ETH.

The Melonport ICO was notable in the frenzy returning to the ICO markets, reminiscent of the First Blood and Singular DTV ICOs of 2016 that also got filled in record time of under 15 minutes for both the projects.

Another interesting aspect of the Melon ICO was that 56,750 ETH were sold via Bitcoin Suisse via their services which accepts not just ETH like the Melonport ICO smart contracts, but also currencies like BTC and even fiat currencies like CHF. In this way, Bitcoin Suisse was acting as an ‘investment bank’ for this ICO, reserving and guaranteeing a certain supply to be sold out to investors via their services. Terms between Melonport and Bitcoin Suisse haven’t been made public. Bitcoin Suisse was able to reserve 25% of all the Melon tokens sold to the public in the ICO, i.e. 125,000 Melon tokens were sold via Bitcoin Suisse for a total of 56,750 ETH. The price per Melon token was around 0.45 ETH (2.20 Melon per ETH). Bitcoin Suisse charged investors a fee of 1.25% and a flat fee of 100 CHF. Therefore it is likely that some of the big fish in the crypto markets had gone through Bitcoin Suisse instead of the little guys.

There has been no announcement from funds like ICONOMI or Coin Fund on whether they invested in the Melon ICO or not. In any case, as the ICO frenzy showed, it is a well followed and well watched project.

The Melon tokens are expected to start trading and become liquid in around 4 weeks. We anticipate a large increase in the trading price compared to the ICO price when it starts trading.

Photo Credit: harsha

Feb 142017
 

Dfinity Final Seed ICO Raise
Dfinity completed its seed ICO yesterday with a total amount raised at 3.9 million CHF. The project had a soft-cap for the ICO at 1 million CHF and an additional 24 hours from this time before close. This soft cap idea is a new one in crypto ICOs. At the end of the ICO, i.e. 24 hours after the soft cap was reached, the ICO closed with around 3.9 million CHF total raised. The soft cap of 1 million CHF was hit in only 75 minutes from the start of the Dfinity ICO.

An Interesting Way to ‘Cap’ the ICO

Dfinity tried an interesting way to cap the ICO. Instead of a hard cap, i.e. the ICO closes the moment the Ethereum contract receives the maximum amount of money defined in the contract, Dfinity opted for a ‘soft cap’. The soft cap was implemented as follows – the ICO closes 24 hours after the soft cap is reached. This has an advantage that investors don’t need to wake up at ungodly hours to meet a 15 minute ICO window, which happened with some hot tokens last year like the FirstBlood token. Such ‘insta-sale ICOs’ are bad for the project as they tend to concentrate the tokens in the hands of a few whales instead of distributing them widely to the community.

Of course, the flip side of this is that investors don’t really know the price of the token they are getting until the end of the ICO, which makes return calculations hard. For example, if investors place a risk-adjusted value of $2 million in this round, there is no way to know whether to invest or not, because the ICO might raise more or less than that amount. With a 24 hour window, it was at least mitigated though.

Blockchain Nervous System

Dfinity has created some interesting ideas, most notably the Blockchain Nervous System. This allows the token holders to vote and change important economic parameters. It also is a back-stop against bad behavior, or bad bugs, like preventing potential The DAO type situations. If the majority decide, they can pretty much do anything, although proposals come at a cost. This has a very different dynamic to the ‘code is law’ principle followed by Bitcoin and Ethereum Classic. It is a softer version of that.

Although Dfinity claims not to compete with Ethereum, it offers a Turing complete language to write smart contracts and applications in. The technology developed with mutually benefit Ethereum and Dfinity, but there is also definitely a competitive element. Dfinity will provide value to the token holders by bringing in projects and apps being built on it, which would otherwise have been built on Ethereum, likely. Dfinity also believes that some of the technology being developed by the team will help Ethereum. Collaboration among crypto projects is always welcome as it moves the whole ecosystem forward.

Feb 142017
 

Santiment ICO
Santiment ICO presale (first round of the ICO) sold out within 2.5 hours, raising its target 12,000 Ethereum (ETH) during this time. The ICO presale had a lower limit of 4,000 ETH and an upper limit of 12,000 ETH. Unlike the recent Dfinity ICO seed round, the cap was a hard cap and therefore investors who weren’t able to get in during this time were out of luck. The presale ICO cap of 12,000 ETH, which was under $150,000 when the ICO closed, would be considered to be on the low side.

The contract, and its associated transactions can be viewed on the Ethereum blockchain.

About Santiment

The santiment project is a ‘crowd sentiment data platform for crypto and blockchain assets’. The value of the token comes from its use on the platform. The token is required to pay for services on the network, while contributors to the platform earn the token.

The project aims to help crypto traders improve with better data. For instance, users can play crypto games in simulated environments before putting real money on the line. In addition, the projects aims to develop better visualization tools than what exist today in the market. The platform’s data might also become useful for researchers looking into the crazy crypto markets.

The value proposition of Santiment depends highly on the community, and indirectly on the data produced by the users. The data generated by crypto markets may not be as easy to analyze as regular markets. However, crypto traders are an active bunch, and their ranks are growing. Santiment might tap into their natural tendencies to trade (or perhaps over-trade) and generate the data required.

Investors and Follow-up Rounds

Given the small maximum size, only a few investors were able to get the Santient tokens in the presale ICO. Notably, the ICONOMI.PERFORMANCE fund invested in Santiment. This would be ICONOMI’s third investment in the cryptocurrency space, after Golem and Byteball. This is an interesting move, because there was no prior indication to the market that ICONOMI might be interested in this ICO. That might be a deliberate move, given the small cap.

Some investors are looking forward. The project will use the funds raised today for its whitepaper and a minimum viable product (MVP). The creators estimate a time frame of 3 months for this.

Also, investors might like to know that this was just the presale to the main token crowdsale that will likely take place after the whitepaper and MVP are released. However, investors who were able to get in on the presale will get a 54% ‘bonus’ in terms of price.

 

Feb 122017
 

Dfinity 1M CHF Raise
Dfinity, a new crypto ICO, raised its target of 1 million CHF (Swiss Francs) in just under 75 minutes. The Dfinity seed round started at 6:00pm GMT on 12th Feb 2017 and ended at 7:15pm GMT on the same day. Due to the soft cap of the round (see below), the seed round ICO will go on until around 7:15pm GMT on 13th Feb 2017.

This was for its ‘seed’ round. Dfinity will have another round of funding in the future as well, as part of its ICO efforts. Due to the earlier stage of the seed funding (and thus a higher risk of investment), there is a bonus to invest in the seed round compared to the follow-on round.

The project raised an impressive amount of money in a quick time. It is possible that institutional funds have invested a good amount of money in this project.

Dfinity ICO Soft Cap

Dfinity ICO is also unique in having a ‘soft cap’ on the amount of money raised instead of a hard cap or no cap.

In hard cap ICOs, the ICO ends whenever a certain threshold of funds is  reached. This presents problems if the ICO is ‘oversubscribed’ i.e. if many people want to invest in the ICO. For example, SingularDTV put a hard cap of $7.5 million on its ICO. However, it was sold out in under 15 minutes. This causes the token distribution to go to speculators more than the believers and early adopters of the project. This can be quite problematic when the purpose of the ICO is as much to create that initial set of users and early adopters as much as it is to raise money.

In no cap ICOs, there is only a time limit up to which an unlimited amount of funds can be raised. The biggest problem with this model is that investors don’t know how much the tokens they are buying are worth, because it depends on how much the total funds are going to be raised in the future. This can present situations like The DAO which would have been a worthy experiment at $5 million raised but not at $100 million raised.

Dfinity is structuring its ICO as a ‘soft cap’, which means they will allow 24 hours after the goal is reached as the cut-off. This will prevent ‘insta-ICO sellout’ situations like FirstBlood and SingularDTV tokens. Therefore the Dfinity ICO will still be open for the next 24 hours after reaching the 1 million CHF goal.

About Dfinity and the ICO Token

Dfinity is a project similar to Ethereum (although they say they don’t compete with Ethereum) in that it allows the execution and creation of arbitrary smart contracts. The biggest difference is that instead of the smart contract code being the ultimate authority (and having situations like The DAO when a bug in the contract code can cause a loss of funds), Dfinity has a group consensus process it is calling the Blockchain Nervous System (cheesy name). There are many limitations on using it, but it can be deployed for special situations that would prevent issues like The DAO.