🕵️‍ ICO Watch Eric Eissler

Past-ICO Review: 0-Cost Enterprise Blockchain Solution

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0Chain wants to be the zero-cost enterprise Blockchain that can sell larger than Ethereum
Past-ICO Review: 0-Cost Enterprise Blockchain Solution

0Chain wants to build a Blockchain solution that enables decentralized cloud storage, fast settlement/finality, and the notion of self-forking, all wrapped in a DPOS consensus model.

The main interest here is in IoT and decentralized apps that can benefit from running in the cloud, using their costless distributed file storage methodology in a wholly integrated platform. Right now, current solutions require using a number of different solutions and building the complex middleware to make sure all of these discrete systems can talk to each other. 0Chain is attempting to cut the middleware out and simplify the process.

Financials

0Chain had a 10-day ICO from Feb. 7 to Feb. 17, 2018, and raised some $39 mln during that time. One ZCN was valued at $1.40 during the ICO sale. Following the token value trajectory, we can some strange things. First of all, the token was not released for public trading until July 2, almost five months after the token sale had ended. During this time, the token lost 65 percent of its value while it was hanging out of public reach when it publicly debuted at $0.49. Progressing further down the relatively short public trading timeline, ZCN has fallen down to $0.12 in a very short three-month trading period.

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Team

SASWATA BASU- Founder & CEO

With a PhD in electrical engineering and an entrepreneurial spirit, Basu has worked at and managed many companies in the tech sector before founding 0Chain. He appears to have the right mix of business, tech, and engineering to launch a startup.

THOMAS AUSTIN - Co-Founder

Currently, a professor at San Jose State, Austin’s areas of expertise are programming language security and malware analysis. Additionally, he has been studying cryptocurrencies and ways to make them more efficient. Hence, his willingness to co-found 0Chain

SIVA DIRISALA- CTO & VP of Engineering

With more than 15 years of working business enterprise software, Dirisala has the technical knowledge and experience to head up a team of developers to create an enterprise Blockchain solution.

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Tech and Testnet Launch

Decentralized storage via Blockchain, as an innovation, requires significant feature development to be considered enterprise ready. According to the company’s website,

0chain’s engineers have developed customizable algorithms for data to be stored and retrieved with the high availability enterprises are accustomed to. Leveraging our “Erasure Coding” protocol, there is a 40 percent reduction in space required to replicate data compared to current cloud-based storage solutions. The decentralized nature of the Blockchain delivers CDN-like performance based on the multiple parallel paths for data to traverse and minimizing the impact of network bottlenecks. All data stored via dStorage is consistently verified via the Blockchain.

At the start of August, 0Chain launched their testnet with strong results, according to a press release put out by the company: “Our first release has a throughput of about 150 transactions per second or about 10x that of Ethereum. The purpose of the initial release is to highlight the sub-second finality of our Blockchain, which is a requirement for enterprise applications and for our distributed storage protocol.” The company has worked very hard to stick to the ambitious roadmap that they laid out before them. Despite the tanked token price, it appears that the company is on the right track with something that could be a viable, tangible product.

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Past-ICO Review: Kin the One You Didn’t See Coming

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Seeking to take over the crypto economy with a messenger app, Kin is coming
Past-ICO Review: Kin the One You Didn’t See Coming

Social media plays a major role in the modern lifestyle and since the creation of Facebook people are trying to find ways to monetize the interactions on social media, either by selling users’ information to advertisers. This has become the world we live in with the Internet being an intermediary for almost everything we do now and social media plays a big part.

Enter Kik, a Canadian social-chat app that runs on Kin to create an ecosystem that rewards developers and creators on its platform with valuable incentives leading to a quality user experience without using advertisements. Let’s look at the financials before we dig deeper into the technology.

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In Black or Red it’s Hard to Tell

Kin ran a 14-day ICO from Sept. 12-26, 2017 and amassed an astounding $98 mln! It has a market cap of $144 mln and circulates 756 bln tokens out of a limited supply of 10 tln tokens. The current price per token is $0.000191 up from the introductory price of $0.0000093, which is about a 93 percent return on investment if you would have bought during the initial release.

ERC20 to change to Stellar

In an interesting turn of events, the ERC20 Kin token will be shifting over to the Stellar Lumens Blockchain. This was announced late in 2017 by CEO, Ted Livingstone. The changes have already started to appear. Kik Messenger has moved to fork Stellar while also developing its own Blockchain that would combine the best of Ethereum’s Blockchain as well as Stellar’s Blockchain to come up with a scalable proprietary network for Kin.

Trustless system to evolve

By using a permission-nodes based system, Kik has established a zero-fee Blockchain network that will eventually hand over control of the network to the users. This will be done by working with partners who will eventually own a large percentage of the trusted nodes. By this design, the development team at Kik hopes to develop a trustless ecosystem that truly decentralizes control of the platform. However, it should be noted that there is still room for error because if becoming a partner is based on holding a large amount of Kin tokens then there is a chance that only the rich. In terms of Kin token holdings, will be able to control the system and that is putting too much power in the hand of only a few which is a dangerous situation.

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Goal to be most used crypto

The Kik messenger app debuted in 2010 and has some 300 mln registered users, of which 40 percent are US teenagers, according to TechCrunch.  With a group of people that large, it would be easy for Kin to become the most used cryptocurrency, if you have 300 mln users interacting with each other every day.

It will be interesting to see how younger users use Kik and Kin in conjunction with the messenger app, as most younger people don’t care about crypto, they just want a cool messaging app so they can chat with their friends and send goofy dog-face photos. There will, of course, be some major usage but if the majority of the users don’t care about Kin, does this become an all-for-nought enterprise? Time will tell Kik and Kin make the changeovers from Ethereum to the Stellar Lumens Blockchain. Moreover, the rewards engine is a big factor that can have a major impact how people will interact with the app. When the rewards start getting doled out in Q3 2018, behaviors may start changing when users start making some money.

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Past ICO Review: How Real Product Failed to Boost Token Sales

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Small company offers microloans to stimulate economic well-being of developing nations, but its ICO results are mixed
Past ICO Review: How Real Product Failed to Boost Token Sales

The developing world has a challenge: people have the skills they need to start a business and bring themselves out of poverty, but there is no easy way for them to get the credit to buy the capital equipment they need to get started. According to Micromoney’s website, “100 out of 196 countries in the world serve as a home for two mln unbanked people, who use cash only, do not have any credit history and do not have access to any financial services.” Here is where Micromoney steps in.

It is an automated open-source credit and big data bureau that promises to provide instant credit check and microloans to users in 15 min via their smartphone. The platform also claims that users can pay lower interest rates and earn better credit scores the more they use the platform.

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Crypto backed by a real product

Micromoney claims it is backed by a real product unlike many of the other cryptos out there. The following are important points made by the company:

  • Built on Ethereum

  • Smart contracts eliminate the intermediaries and provide fast service

  • Open source software that is free and transparent  

  • Financial inclusion of more than two bln people

  • Create a digital identity

  • Massive future growth and expansion into more than 100 countries

The ICO

For a small company founded in Cambodia, the token sale commenced on Oct. 17, 2018 and raised $10.5 mln. Despite what the company wants to do, the sales figures are a bit lower than expected. Despite that, the company has grown and expanded since its founding in 2015.

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Short timeline of achievements

2015 — Cambodia: In December 2015, the company started with: $30,000 of initial capital, three employees, first 20 customers, and all the processes were executed in Excel and Google Docs.

2016 — Expanded into Myanmar. Work began to develop the Decentralized Credit Bureau, grew to 35 people working for the company. 23,000 unique registered users.

2017 —Expanded into Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand In 2017, the team increased to 85 people now 95,000+ unique registered users.

2018-- The company expanded into the Philippines and is ready to expand into the following countries:

  • Hong Kong

  • Vietnam

  • China

  • Malaysia

  • Singapore

  • Nigeria

The above countries have a large populace which will truly benefit from microcredits and loans. This will help raise the standard of living in these counties, too. The more people that can get the loans to start their businesses, the better their financial situation, which should spread to others and raise the quality of life over time.

The team behind the coin

Sai Hnin Aung -  Co-founder, COO. Serial Entrepreneur, experienced business development professional, investor, strategic leader, and executive with more than 18 years of experience in microfinance & financial services, new loan products initiative, risk management, business start-up, financial analysis.

Anton Dzyatkovskiy -  Co-founder, IT & Scoring. Lending Director in Everex, a payment crypto.

Token trading unimpressive

Micromoney (AMM) entered the market on Dec. 17, 2017 at $0.50 per token. In January, it rocketed upward to a high of $2.42 per token before falling back down in late January to $0.81 and then remaining relatively flat through March and April. At the time of writing, AMM is trading at $0.30 per token, rather unimpressive for all the expansion and growth taking place.

The coin is currently ranked at 747 on Coin Market Cap. On the one hand, this is a small company that is working in developing countries, on the other it has some great potential should it take off and continually grow and expand its operations. Perhaps, another ICO would be the shot in the arm this company needs to raise its profile among investors and the general public.

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While a Republic, Hidden Order of the Atomic Swap Goes Unnoticed: Past-ICO Review

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Don the cape and cowl, the secret trading society is among us. They want to move big crypto without you noticing it, written in the sacred hidden order book
While a Republic, Hidden Order of the Atomic Swap Goes Unnoticed: Past-ICO Review

While the name rings of something regal, the dealings of Republic Protocol are all but that. Its claim to fame is its dark pools and it’s hidden transactions. This is something people who don’t want there transfers to be seen would be keen to employ, such as whales, who do not want to upset markets when they sell off, in order to put a bit of walking-around money in their pockets. This is an atomic-swap technology, which allows for the exchange of one cryptocurrency for another without going through an exchange, where all the transactions are recorded.

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Financials

Republic Protocol raised some $34 mln on Feb. 3, 2018. Its token price has been a bit topsy-turvy. Debuting at $0.079 on Feb. 21 and falling up to $0.13 on May 17 before falling down to $0.024 at the time of writing. Again, this is a utility token and not an investment token, with a sole purpose of moving large amounts of crypto, undetected.

Unhooding the team

For the creators of the darkness might have reason to hide, this team is obscure.

Taiyang Zhang- CEO

Has had several positions over the past four years as a developer or advisor, but lists nothing before 2015, nor his education.

Loong Wang- CTO

Also shrouded in mystery, Wang has only listed several years of experience on his LinkedIn profile. He does list a university but without a graduation date. His work experience only dates back to 2015.

Noah Ingham- Developer

There is no LinkedIn profile, he is totally in the shadows.

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Like a secret society

There are hidden order books and atomic swaps, which do not pass through exchanges but directly exchange one token for another. Browsing the website, there is not much information offered up by its creators. While it does not appear to function fully, there is a testnet link. But not much else. Therefore, the review of this can only remain shrouded in mystery because the website leaves many questions to be answered.

Republic Protocol uses a secret sharing scheme to separate orders into multiple fragments distributed throughout the network. The original order could not be recreated without collecting most of the fragments. To protect against malicious acts with these "fragments" of orders, Republic Protocol uses the smart contract Ethereum called Registrar, which collects network nodes in the network topology. This establishes a high price for an attacker to "collect" fragments, because one or more individual nodes, even whole topologies, will not help. The Republic Protocol system is a decentralized exchanger with a hidden order book that executes orders without disclosing specific details, where the Republic Protocol token is used as a motivator and a means of protecting the system.

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Past-ICO Review: Olympus Labs

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Crypto Indices are growing in popularity, but this company’s token price is shrinking
Past-ICO Review: Olympus Labs

Crypto indices are garnering more attention and gaining more traction on the investment side of crypto. If you, as an investor can’t decide where to put your money for a crypto investment, then an index might be the best place. After all, many investors in traditional financial markets strongly believe in the index funds and so do many planning for retirement. Olympus labs is building a product that will allow investors to buy into indices, and maybe build their own (the wording is a bit fuzzy). In an interview with Forbes Magazine, CEO of Olympus Labs said,  “We have found that it can be hard for a crypto investor to find and invest in indices that are diversified and do well. [Author’s note: just for the record, the preceding sentence is not entirely clear: does he mean crypto indices or traditional ones] For those of us who are unsure how to invest in crypto, indices are the best way to track the market by buying into some which are either researched by professional managers or picked by industry experts you may trust.”

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Financials

Olympus Labs raised some $60 mln in a token sale that ended on Jan. 13, 2018. The token sale price was $2.18 for one MOT. However, it appears that some of the information is off because when checking CoinMarketCap, the token entered the market at $0.99 on Jan. 1, 2018 and shot up to a high of $3.05 on Jan. 9 just days before the ICO. After the ICO the price fell to $1.40 on Jan. 12 has been on a steady decline since then; currently sitting at $0.18 at the time of writing. Not a very impressive performance by any means. Market cap hovers around $7.5 mln and daily volume is close to $500,000.

Team

Kai Chen- CEO & Founder

Graduating from Yale and having an interest in investment lead Chen to work in banking and investment firms early on in his career, before founding Olympus Labs and another company.

Bharat Vishnubhotla- Head of Business Development

Vishnubhotla has a BA in business administration from USC. He previously worked at Accenture before coming to Olympus Labs.

Abel Bordonado Lillo- Full-Stack Developer

Has more than five years experience in web dev and gaming. He has worked on many other projects before coming to Olympus Labs.

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Boom to bust

Olympus Labs did a great job raising funds in its ICO but dropped the ball afterward. Checking out the numbers of followers on Telegram, they did not even crack 10,000. According to Twitter, there are more followers there, 34.7K to be exact, but generally in the cryptosphere to be legit you must have a lot of followers on Telegram to be taken seriously. According to the latest Tweet: Aug. 13, they are working on integrating with Bancor and are still developing the platform. Bancor was one of the biggest failures of 2017 and anything it touches turns to dust. With this info in mind, it would be safe to say that Olympus Labs are not going too far past the starting line.

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Bitcoin Price Plummeting But Mining Operations Keep Increasing

While Bitcoin's price plummets, its mining operation is hitting new highs in what seems to be contrary to what would be expected in such a lull
Bitcoin Price Plummeting But Mining Operations Keep Increasing

Bitcoin’s price and its mining operation have always had some sort of correlation as for miners, there is much more profit to be made when the price of the cryptocurrency is up. Thus, it is expected that in a lull in price, there will be a cooling off of mining - but this is not the case.

Information about Bitcoin’s hashrate seems to show that the mining operations are breaking more and more records in terms of the heavy mining that is going on, and this is during a time where profitability is not as high due to a Bitcoin price that dipped below $6,000 recently.

Big mining expense

If we delve into the mining breakdown as it stands, it seems the correlation of more mining and lower price is confusing.

The current Bitcoin network hashrate is 35,366,943,171 GH/s. If the whole network was composed of s9 miners, by Antmain, a specific piece of hardware designed solely to mine cryptocurrency. (which are far from the worst, energy efficiency-wise), it would mean 252 621 022 asics, consuming 1.4 kilowatt each or 3 536 694 in total. That is roughly 0.000002 percent of the global consumption.

The cost of mining, in terms of its energy consumption and the damage to the environment, has been highly publicised. Places like Iceland have become such a hub of mining that the electricity used just for cryptocurrency outweighs their population’s general needs.

The energy usage has been estimated to be equal to the usage of the whole of Singapore, a country of 5.6 mln people. It brings the rate of carbon dioxide emissions from Bitcoin up to 23.2 mln metric tons per year. And it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.

Then, looking at it, the current average global cost of mining one Bitcoin is around $5,700-$5,800 at the average energy price of $0.08 for one kilowatt-hour. So, looking at that, when Bitcoin dipped towards the $5,800 mark earlier this week, it made mining almost pointless for those sitting on the average cost.

Why the growth

There is another battle going on that does not involve the miners and trying to stay in the profitability window for Bitcoin, but rather the battle is between the miners and the regulators.

Most of Bitcoin’s mining power comes from China where electricity is cheaper than the average and could explain why the hash rate is increasing even with the average profit line coming closer to the expense line.

However, the Chinese government is looking to crack down on the mining operations in its country and has already started dishing out harsh penalties for those caught out.

Profitability still up

Regardless of the profitability window, and even the risks from government interference, Bitcoin mining is still profitable even today. Mining generates about $6.3 bln a year in revenue at current rates but costs roughly $2.3 bln to run. That means Bitcoin price can drop by half and mining will still be a winning proposition.

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