According to many blockchain enthusiasts, the modern venture capital system is inherently flawed and broken. With this in mind, McAfee Coin has set out to develop a platform that will completely the fix the inefficiencies of the venture capital system.
McAfee Coin aims to fix and modernize the venture capital system by taking a hands-on approach to equity investment. The company plans to help its portfolio companies succeed by giving them dedicated attention, guidance, and support. As stated on the website, McAfee Coin will “nurture the total health of the companies with blockchain strategies, governance, overseas marketing, and any other special needs the companies may have.” While McAfee Coin may never be the “missing link” in the evolution of venture capital, the company does have great potential.
The McAfee Coin Token (MCF) will be implemented using the Ethereum ERC20. This means that participants in the ICO will have the ability to withdraw and store their MCF tokens on any ERC20 compatible wallet. MCF holders generate value from the token in three distinct ways: (1) the tokens represent investment capital for equity investments, (2) the tokens function as the fundamental unit of account on the McAfee Coin blockchain, and (3) the tokens provide a reward mechanism on the McAfee Social Investment Network.
According to the whitepaper, the company will be conducting three separate, consecutive ICOs. For ICO I, 46.12% of the funds raised will go towards portfolio company investments, 22.3% towards R&D, 20% to the founders, 6% towards social rewards, with the remainder of the pot (5.58%) towards sustaining operations.
ICO I MCF tokens are valued at $1.00 per MCF token. The amount of the tokens to be sold is capped at 48,000,000 MCF. Token holders will distributed 100% of additional net profit on a semi-annual basis through the distribution of ETH via smart contracts. All token holders will be eligible for distribution on a predetermined and publicly stated date.
The company intends to list the MCF token on major crypto exchanges right after the completion of ICO I.
McAfee Coin’s core team consists of multiple industry veterans, a world-renowned entrepreneur, and several senior professionals. As compared with the majority of ICOs, McAfee Coin has put together a solid team.
The company’s CEO, Yale ReiSoleil, co-managed the Sichuan Hongjian Medical Fund, a ¥20 billion M&A and venture capital fund. The company’s Director, John McAfee, founded McAfee Associates which was acquired by Intel in 2011 and was an investor in Zone Labs which was acquired by Check Point Software in 2003. The company’s COO, Ricky Ng, was the co-founder of Iclick Interactive, one of the largest digital advertising platforms in Greater China. The team also consists of nine experienced business development professionals, software and blockchain engineers, and investment managers.
The team’s advisory board consists of thirteen senior professionals, including several partners at investment funds, quantitative traders, strategic consultants, and lawyers.
McAfee Coin presents a speculative buying opportunity for investors interested in long-term capital appreciation.
The blockchain ecosystem in China is booming and McAfee Coin is well-positioned to invest in the leading early-stage companies in the space. With a current portfolio of five promising companies, a Beijing-based accelerator, and a strong team, McAfee Coin has significant runway for growth. The risks to the downside are not a huge cause for concern, nor do they raise any red flags. Provided the team can execute properly on deal origination and analysis efforts for equity investment, there is a potential that the company could invest in China’s next blockchain unicorn. Overall, the potential upside outweighs the inherent risks associated with early-stage investing.
- In general, early-stage investing involves a high degree of speculation and risk. According to several studies, 95% of venture capital funds do not generate their target IRRs. When investing in companies that have yet to achieve product/market fit, both failure and market adoption risk run high. -1
- John McAfee is renowned for creating the world’s first anti-virus software company, McAfee Associates, which went public and was then acquired by Intel in 2011. While John is a renowned entrepreneur, his past has been highly volatile, as he has been associated with heavy drug use and accused of committing two tropical homicides. Currently, a biopic is being made on John McAfee’s “madness and paranoia,” in which Johnny Depp will star. -1.5
- The 20% allocation of tokens to the founders is quite significant in comparison to other ICOs. While the company does state that the tokens will be subjected to a lock-up period, no details on divestment clauses were given. -1
- Mainland China’s central government published an Informatization Strategy in December of 2016 that states, “the Internet, cloud computing, large data, artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain will drive the evolution of everything – digital, network and intelligent services will be everywhere.” With the government’s backing, Mainland China is primed to become the global leader in the implementation of blockchain technologies, which will be highly beneficial to McAfee Coin’s portfolio companies. +3
- Mainland China is the second-largest venture capital market in the world, with early-stage fundraising having doubled over the past two years. According to Peter Fuhrman, CEO of China-focused investment bank China First Capital, there has been “a tsunami of government-backed entities that are seeding incubators, VC funds, locally, provincially, and nationally. China has a lot of money in its government apparatus. It wants to seed innovation
and entrepreneurship and this is how it’s doing it.” This momentum in China’s early-stage fundraising landscape will drive more quality companies to be considered for equity investment, thereby decreasing the risk of early-stage investment. +3
- McAfee Coin already has a portfolio of five companies, which are: Actuality Co, I-House Co, X-Med Co, eSports Co, and GoLive Games Studios AG. Each company already has a small track record of market adoption, which curbs early-stage investment risk. Actuality Co seems to be the most promising portfolio company and ICO I will commit to an $8.1 million investment in the company. +4
Early-stage investing is speculative and risky, however McAfee Coin is developing a solid platform that is backed by a strong team investing in a large, explosive market. The company has a clear vision to invest in China-focused blockchain start-ups and provide them with operational support.
While McAfee Coin’s ambition to revolutionize the venture capital system may be over-hyped, the company’s ICO represents a rare chance for individual investors to participate in a venture capital fund. With net profits from the company’s equity investments being distributed to MCF token holders, the potential for a meaningful ROI is relatively high as compared to other ICOs. Against this backdrop, we believe that a score of 6.5 out of 10 is warranted.
- Type: Crowdsale
- Symbol: MCF
- Pre-ICO Sale: November 6th, 2017
- Public Sale: TBD November 2017
- Payments Accepted: BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC
Disclaimer: no position in McAfee Coin at the time of writing.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
ICO Analysis: Gimmer Token
The impeccable rise of algorithmic trading has ushered in a new wave of do-it-yourself (DIY) algorithmic trading bots. With the success of these DIY bots in traditional financial markets, it was only a matter of time until they entered the cryptocurrency market.
For algorithmic trading, volatility creates opportunity sets. And with cryptocurrencies still trading in an inefficient market, volatility runs rampant. This level of volatility creates an ideal environment for even the most rudimentary algorithmic trading strategies. However, there is a lack of DIY automated trading bots that are available for use by amatuer cryptocurrency traders. With this in mind, Gimmer is looking to take advantage of this need.
According to the company’s website, “Gimmer offers easy-to-use advanced algorithmic trading bots that require no programming skills, no previous trading experience and no in-depth knowledge of cryptocurrencies.”
Essentially, Gimmer is hoping to position itself as the leading DIY algorithmic trading bots for individual cryptocurrency traders. While the company may never be the “Quantopian” of the cryptocurrency space, Gimmer does provide a novel solution for amateur traders.
The Gimmer token (GMR) will be implemented using the Ethereum ERC20. While GMR tokens will be visible in participants’ ERC20 wallet, the tokens will not be tradable until the close of the public sale on January 31, 2018. GMR tokens will issued starting from January 3, 2018. GMR holders generate value from the token as a form of payment for the rental cost of Gimmer’s trading bots. For users, the rental cost scales proportionately to the level of sophistication desired – more sophistication equals higher return (at least in theory).
According to the whitepaper, 45% of the funds raised will go towards development and operations, 35% towards marketing and acquisition, 15% towards the founders and team, with the remainder of the pot (5%) going to legal and compliance.
Gimmer Tokens are valued at 1 Ether (ETH) per 1,000 GMR (plus applicable bonuses). The total amount of tokens to be sold is capped at 100,000,000 GMR. However, an additional 6,000,000 GMR will be created for advisors, reserves, and the team, with another 4,000,000 GMR created for bounties.
The company has not yet stated its intention to list the GMR tokens on any major crypto exchanges.
Gimmer’s core team consists of two senior developers, a global macro hedge fund manager, and a creative design veteran. As compared with the majority of ICOs, Gimmer’s team is in-line with the relative standard – the quality of team meets basic expectations.
The company’s CEO, Philipe Comini, is a senior-level UX/UI designer who is also balancing two other jobs (according to LinkedIn) – typically, not a good sign. The company’s CTO, Persio Flexa, is also a senior developer who recently launched 2 other start-ups – again, not a good sign. The company’s COO, Paul Lindsell, is a creative design veteran with over 12 years experience that is seemingly committed to his role – not balancing multiple jobs. The company’s CIO, Masaichi Hasegawa, is currently a global macro hedge fund manager and an executive of a shoe manufacturing company – the third C-suite executive of Gimmer to balance two other jobs.
The rest of Gimmer’s team consists of a marketing director, a user experience director, two developers, a customer researcher, a commercial director, and a journalist.
Gimmer presents a highly speculative buying opportunity for investors interested in short-term capital appreciation.
Creating profitable algorithmic trading strategies is incredibly difficult. Hedge funds typically employ a large staff of mathematicians, experienced machine learning engineers, data scientists, and the like – Wall Street refers to them as “quants.” Quants typically hold a PhD in finance or quantitative mathematics and have years of hands-on experience with both statistical analysis and engineering (Python and C++). Does Gimmer employ any quants? No, not even by the slightest measure.
Overall, Gimmer’s DIY algorithmic trading bots are likely just a novel tool-kit for amatuer cryptocurrency traders, nothing more, nothing less.
Gimmer provides no data on slippage modeling, meaning users have no idea of all the transaction costs that are associated with a higher frequency of trading (including: fees, commission, and slippage). These costs can be significant and add up quickly. -1
Gimmer’s core team does not seem to be dedicated (balancing multiple jobs) or qualified in any sense. With Gimmer’s team lacking any real trading platform experience, unforeseen issues with their algorithms may lead to sizable losses for users. -1.5
Gimmer provides no data on latency, meaning users do not know if the company’s algorithms are deployed to proximity-based execution servers in attempt to achieve low-latency performance no matter where the user is located. For all trading strategies, latency must be measured and managed in order to maximize the probability of success. -1
Provided that Gimmer’s trading bots run successfully without any technical glitches, users could benefit from enhanced risk management protocols, thereby insuring their principal investment through more downside protection. +2
Copy trading techniques could benefit novice traders, as they can publicly see high level information such as start date, running period, currency pairs and percent gained. Based on the public information, users can copy seemingly successful trading strategies and rent the same bots. +3
Automated trading strategies will allow a larger pool of traders to invest in cryptocurrencies. Since the market is still subject to large, volatile price swings, more passive traders could use Gimmer’s platform to execute automated trades (based on pre-set parameters) without having to monitor the market on a day-to-day basis. +2.5
While algorithmic trading in the cryptocurrency space is a smart strategy, Gimmer lacks the sophistication of even the most basic trading platforms. The biggest concern beyond Gimmer’s lack of sophistication, is the pedigree of the core team. With no quants on staff and a couple UI/UX designers creating the algorithms, technical issues are likely to occur. And with that in mind, faulty algorithms or platform glitches could easily lead to the loss of principal investment for users.
For amateur traders interested in novel tool to play around with, Gimmer is a great choice. For veteran traders with solid programming and statistical skills, move on to a better platform.
Against this backdrop, we believe that a score of 4.0 out of 10 is warranted.
- Type: Crowdsale
- Symbol: GMR
- Pre-ICO Sale: November 24, 2017
- Public Sale: January 3, 2018
- Payments Accepted: ETH
Disclaimer: no position in Gimmer at the time of writing.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
ICO Analysis: Lendoit
Lendoit is a next-generation peer to peer decentralized lending platform based on Ethereum, which connects lenders and borrowers all over the world using the advantages of smart contracts.
The Lendoit platform provides professional scoring and verification, APIS for each country, a loan marketplace where lenders set rates on loan applications, a default market where failed loans can be traded, syndicated loans, and the ability to sell a loan to another lender if needed. Lendoit will be the only lending platform on the market that does not take collaterals. The company believes that, “in a world of crypto micro-loans, managing collaterals is not sensible.” In their view, this is “like lending USD by using EUR as collateral.”
Because there are no collaterals, the Lendoit platform combines four methods to mitigate the chances of lenders losing money: Smart Compensation Fund, Syndicated Loans, 3rd party scoring/verification from local companies, and a collectors market where debts can be sold.
The following is a simplified guide to Lendoit’s loan process.
- The borrower applies for a loan by filling out an application. This takes about three minutes.
- The borrower uploads any relevant verification (i.e. government-issued photo ID) according to their particular country’s regulations.
- Lendoit sends the loan app and verified information to verified scoring providers to receive a score for the current loan.
- Lendoit will publish each smart loan contract in the blockchain and marketplace.
- Lenders Tender is a process of raising loans for funds requested by the borrower.
- The borrower can now withdraw the funds using his or her wallet.
- When the date to pay back the loan arrives, the borrower receives a notification.
- The borrower now repays the funds with interest to the smart contract.
- The lender withdraws his money in the same currency he loaned it.
- The lender receives interest in the form of LOAN tokens, the amount based on an automatic conversion algorithm put in place by the Smart Conversion Contract.
- The Smart Compensation Fund Contract helps lenders recover a small portion of their money, if the borrower fails to pay. The amount is not confirmed, but it seems like it will be around 20-30%.
- If the borrower fails to pay the interest and the loan becomes defaulted, the smart loan contract is offered to a collectors tender. The collector who wins the tender buys the debt, which minimizes the loss of funds for the lenders.
Lendoit has an alpha version of its platform available here. It is not very impressive yet. The real technology (smart contracts) has yet to be created.
They plan to release the beta in Q1 of 2018, and the fully operational version Q3 of 2018.
- Symbol: LOAN
- Platform: Ethereum
- Presale: Dec. 13 – December 27, 2017 (125 million for sale. 1 ETH = 13,000 LOAN). Must register for whitelist in order to contribute.
- Token sale: Jan. 18 – Feb. 18, 2018 (475 million for sale. sale starts at 1 ETH = 12,000 LOAN)
- Total Supply: 1 billion
- Hard Cap: 50,000 Eth (currently $22 million USD)
The LOAN token plays several roles. Here are a few of the most important:
- Lenders can use any ERC20 currency to loan, but must hold 10% of whatever amount they loan in LOAN tokens. For example, a lender wants to loan someone $1,000 ETH must hold $100 worth of LOAN in his account.
- Borrower must use LOAN to publish the Smart Loan Contract.
- All the fees charged on the platform are paid in LOANs.
- All the interest payments will be paid to the lenders in LOANs. This will take place automatically via the Smart Conversion Contract.
The company is located in Israel but incorporated in Gibraltar. The company maintains a large global team that extends far beyond its in-house operation. However, after researching the four co-founders of the company, nothing particularly striking stands out. One would have expected a more impressive track record for those launching a platform of this magnitude.
Seven advisers are signed on to the project, including Richard Titus and Michael Terpin. They also have eight developers, which is fantastic, as it shows they really are trying.
The team picture (above) leaves a lot to be desired, as it is not very professional.
This project has great long-term potential. Its biggest challenge is going to be whether or not it can successfully build the various forms of smart contracts it proposes to launch. There are no known smart contracts in existence that can do what Lendoit promises its contracts will be able to do.
- The concept of not needing collateral to receive loans could be a disaster. Why would lenders want to use this platform when the possibility of getting stiffed is so high? They can just use one of Lendoit’s competitors to guarantee their returns. -2
- The project faces legal hurdles galore. Sure, the plan is to be decentralized, which could reduce certain regulations, but the company is going to be verifying borrowers’ identities in great detail. I could see governments clamping down on projects such as this one if enough lenders start getting ripped off. -2
- The technology required to run this platform does not exist yet. The demo/alpha provided as an example of is extremely basic. It’s a strong possibility the team fails, and this never gets off the ground. -2
- The company has several partners, including Bloom, Hive, RSK, and Wings. I tried to dig deeper into these partnerships but didn’t find anything substantial. These seem to be decent projects, and LOAN can use each to grow.+2
- Some of these other new lending ICOs have done pretty well so far on the markets. SALT token, for example, is extremely hyped. One of the main differences between SALT and LOAN is that SALT requires borrowers to put up collateral, while LOAN does not. One would think this would bring more borrowers to the platform +2
- If they do what they claim to be able to do – build these genius smart contracts – they can change the lending game permanently. In this way, the sky is the limit. +4
- The team has put a great deal of emphasis on development, as evidenced by the number of developers they have on board. +2
As previously stated, the most important aspect of this project is the technology. Can they build these contracts? According to the roadmap, we won’t see the beta version for two or three months, and we won’t be able to judge if the contracts are fully functional for at least six months. This has long-term potential, but a rocky short-term. Against this backdrop, we assign a score of 4 out of 10.
Learn more/sign up for whitelist here.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock
ICO Analysis: CanYa
CanYa is offering a platform for the exchange of peer-to-peer services.
Users can load their CanYa wallets with the ERC20 CanYaCoin token, in addition to several support fiat currencies.
Users will be able to instantly pay for services on a global and local level. The platform supports peer-to-peer services and relies on users to self-curate and verify new types of services and providers.
Providers can earn CanYaCoins for their services, and can spend these coins within the app, or convert and send them to their Bitcoin or Ethereum wallet using CanYa’s network of zero-fee exchanges. Once users are verified, they can withdraw immediately to a fiat bank account without having to pay fees or transaction limits.
The CanYa platform also claims to help the best providers rise to the top and get more exposure and work.
**It’s important to note that the CanYa ICO cannot accept participation from US citizens unless you qualify as “accredited investors.”
CanYa was founded in 2015 with the goal of created a true peer-to-peer platform with no intermediary, based on meritocracy, and a seamless interface connecting the digital world with the real one.
The whitepaper claims the project moved from concept in 2015 to development in 2016 and then a successful soft-launch in 2017 in a small Australian market.
There are currently 3,400 provider listings with roughly 7,600 user engaging on the platform, with monthly growth in double digits.
Based in Australia, the founding team includes Rowan Willson, Christopher McLoughlin, JP Thor, Jet Yap, and a handful of other promising team members and advisors. Their work thus far is promising, although I do naturally have my hesitations about tackling a project of this scope and creating significant traction out of Australia.
Tokens and Distribution
CanYa is aiming to raise 29,333 ETH by offering 34,000,000 CanYaCoins for public sale.
These funds are being used to integrate the cryptocurrency payment layer, provide liquidity for the hedged escrow contract, expand features and “undertake an aggressive global launch with marketing, translations and infrastructure.”
There will be around 100,000,000 tokens in circulation, with a hard cap of 60,000,000 CanYaCoins for sale. A total of 26,000,000 CanYaCoins are going to be sold privately to “strategic investors who bring long-term value to the project”. These private investors incur vesting schedules from three months to 12 months. A total of 34,000,000 CanYaCoins will be sold during the public sale that started in November.
The token offering will only accept ECH.
- Onboarding new crypto-enabled merchants poses a substantial bottleneck. Freelancers and workers-for-hire flock to where the money is, and if CanYa has any shortage of jobs available, they will stick to traditional methods. Onboarding new crypto-enabled merchants will require substantial marketing work and is hindered by the learning curve that comes with acquiring and spending cryptocurrencies. -2
- Competitors in the digital service industry could pose a substantial threat to user acquisition. While CanYa poses a huge benefit of much lower transaction fees, platforms such as UpWork and Fiverr have already dumped a ton of resources and money to grow, and it might be difficult to catch up without an extensive marketing plan. -3
- Peer-to-peer networks at scale have always been burdened with some sort of third-party making a commission off the transaction, and this is a very applicable use of smart contracts to replace those intermediaries. The intermediary commissions (from the platforms to the payment services) add up to the tune of billions globally. +3
- CanYa resonates with its ideal user base. This project also happens to target the same userbase that is perhaps the most crypto-savvy segment of the world: Internet entrepreneurs. This seems like an easy target to launch an active user-base. +2
- The value add the CanYa platform offers over other services such as UpWork is pretty attractive. UpWork, for example, charges freelancers 20% of their total contract price up to $500 and then 10% up to $10,000. A freelancer seeing the option to work on a similar platform and essentially make 20% more money is an easy sell. +3
- The platform is incredibly detailed and well-thought out in the whitepaper. This is one of the few ICO products I can actually see myself using on a daily basis, provided the CanYa team is able to attract a significant amount of users on both ends. +2
- The CanYa team shows a willingness to stick with the project long-term, and even champions the cause with a “CanYa HODL club” by rewarding holders of more than 5000 CAN tokens at the ICO with perks of being in the HODL club. +2
As someone that has done freelance work and hired multiple freelancers for various projects, I can appreciate a project like CanYa. I also think it’s cool how the CanYa platform also works for real-life services.
We arrive at a score of 7 out of 10 for the CanYa ICO.
Overall, the whitepaper and marketing materials for CanYa are very thorough and easy to go through, showing a much appreciated effort by the CanYa team to make their ICO easier to understand and palatable for average investors.
You can find more details about the CanYa ICO here.
**It’s important to note that the CanYa ICO cannot accept participation from US citizens unless you qualify as “accredited investors.”
You can find the ICO whitepaper here. The sale opened Nov. 26, 2017 and will run through Dec. 26.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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