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ICO Analysis: Agora

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Thanks to technology, many things in our lives have experienced drastic change.

While we can call someone at the other end of the world for free, some things are still stuck in the past. One of those things is voting.

Agora wants to bring voting into the 21st century using blockchain.

Among other issues, the voting systems we have today (and had 50 years ago) are expensive, slow, and easy to tamper with. Using blockchain, Agora wants to make voting systems cost-efficient, quick, and secure. Moreover, they want to incentivize and engage more voters.

With blockchain, voting can be done remotely and instantaneously. Moreover, as votes are stored in an immutable ledger, votes are unable to be manipulated during any point of the voting process. Since blockchain records are also public for all to see, the voting process under Agora woulda become transparent and easily verifiable.

Token

The way the Agora voting ecosystem works is a global community of nodes maintain a verifiable voting blockchain.

To incentivize nodes to maintain voting records, process election-based transactions, and audit election results, nodes are rewarded in VOTE tokens for their efforts.

Whenever Agora signs a contract with a government or organization to handle their voting process, part of the contract is set aside to purchase VOTE tokens from the secondary market (e.g. exchanges) to pay nodes for maintaining records, processing transactions, and validating election results. As stated in the Agora whitepaper, the purchase of these “Election Reserved Tokens” are the main source of VOTE token demand.

From the whitepaper, here is a table that shows the formula and example calculations for purchases of Election Reserved Tokens:

Nodes that audit election results are called Citizen Auditor Nodes. There are a few requirements to run a Citizen Auditor Node:

  1. Signal interest in becoming a Citizen Auditor Node
  2. Be part of a random selection of applicants by Agora
  3. Undergo an application process
  4. Pass application evaluation (background checks, identity verification, competency evaluation)
  5. Sign contract detailing Citizen Auditor Node duties
  6. Stake (“pledge”) VOTE tokens to ensure integrity. If contract obligations aren’t upheld by a Citizen Auditor Node, the node operator forfeits their pledge. Pledges must be maintained for at least 90 days.

Nodes that process transactions are known as Consensus Nodes. These nodes are invite-only and drawn from the ranks of NGOs, universities, and other politically-neutral organizations. Citizen Auditor Nodes make sure that Consensus Nodes process election results correctly.

There is a total supply of 1 billion VOTE.

  • 50% will be allocated towards the token sale.
  • 15% will be for the company, with company tokens subject to a 4 year lockup with 1 year cliff.
  • 15% will be for the team, with team tokens subject to a 3 year lockup with 1 year cliff.
  • 11.5% is for partnerships (1.5% of this 11.5% is for community airdrops and bounties).
  • 8.5% is for advisors.

The token sale has a soft cap of $1.25m and a hard cap of $20m.

The ICO price is set at $0.041.

Presale started May 14th, 2018 and is still live (though whitelist has closed). 80.16% of token sale tokens are available for presale vs. 9.84% for the crowdsale. For presale investors, there is a 4 month lockup on bonus tokens and no lockup on normal tokens.

Token sale proceeds will be used for the following:

  • 40% product and research and development
  • 35% business development
  • 10% operations
  • 10% buffer
  • 5% legal

Team

CEO Leonardo Gammar is the head of Agora and ran and sold two different trading algorithms to a top 15 hedge fund before running his own funds and researching blockchain consensus models. His blockchain research combined with a “mission”-driven focus led to the founding of Agora.

CTO Boris Kaplounovski has a long tech background at companies like Sun Microsystems, Intel, and AviaSales, the number one online airfare seller in Eastern Europe.

Partners include the names mentioned below but details of partnerships are unspecified.

  • Shyft
  • Georgie Badiel Foundation
  • Blockchain Association of Canada
  • Blockchain Association of Uganda
  • Holdex
  • Blockpass
  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Fribourg
  • University of Fribourg

Verdict

Below is a breakdown of the risks and opportunities associated with Agora.

Risks

  • If demand for VOTE tokens mainly based on Agora being used for elections, it seems that token demand is driven by the Agora team’s ability to get contracts. Contracting with governments to oversee elections is no small task (-0.2)
  • Related to the above, according to the table posted in the Token Economics section of this review, a 50 million voter election would only lead to a purchase of $1m in VOTE tokens. How many elections per year does Agora expect to handle? Agora won’t buy massive amounts of VOTE (and drive trading volume) unless the whole world were to adopt Agora for voting (farfetched – for now) (-0.2)
  • There seems to be no other use for the tokens other than paying nodes that verify election results and audit those results (-0.2)
  • What is the difference between company tokens and team tokens in the token distribution? (-0.1)
  • Lied or was otherwise misleading about using blockchain in Sierra Leone’s 2018 presidential elections (-0.15)
  • None of the heads of business development (former ambassadors and so on) or project ambassadors (Mauritian presidents, former wives of Ukrainian presidents, etc.) listed on the Agora team page, list Agora on their Linkedin profiles (-0.15)

Growth Potential

Disposition

Voting is something that could really use innovation via new technology like blockchain but from an investment standpoint, Agora isn’t looking too good. Agora receives a 1/10.

Investment Details

  • Type: ERC20 – Utility
  • Symbol: VOTE
  • Platform: Ethereum
  • Crowdsale: August 15th, 2018
  • Minimum Investment: 1 ETH
  • Price: 1 VOTE = $0.041
  • Hard Cap: $20m
  • Payments Accepted: ETH
  • Restricted from Participating: USA, China, Canada

For More Information

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICO Analysis: Hedge

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When you buy your first cryptocurrency and start trading between pairs, usually you do in accordance with what you have heard from other people or your own research. Thinking that some project is truly good, you expect to make some gains. Yet it is always hard to have an estimation for “some gains”. Unexperienced traders usually get greedy, expecting more profit. This usually ends up with not taking profits and losing some of your investment. More experienced traders sometimes set prices to sell some or all of their tokens, taking profits and moving forward. This way of trading is basically predicting a price to sell cryptocurrencies: If you make a good prediction, then you sell at the peak. If not, either you are not able to sell as the price did not go up as much as you have predicted, or it keeps rising up which would be still a good trade.

Hedge is a platform allowing seasoned traders to sell their predictions. They create Blueprints with the predicted information in the form of a smart contract. They are required to stake HEDG tokens which can be seen as a measure of security, disincentivizing these investors’ spamming Blueprints. Platform users obtain these Blueprints in return for HEDG tokens.

A decentralized oracle then checks whether the prediction is true or false. If true, the predictor gets all staked coins. If not, the predictor loses his or her staked coins and the platform user gets his or her token back. Blueprint creators are ranked in terms of their success rates, streaks and so on. By checking creator’s rank, platform users can buy blueprints from more successful creators. Once you feel confident in your trading skills and predictions, you can create and sell Blueprints yourself on Hedge as well.

Yet a dispute over almost anything is possible. A platform user or a Blueprint creator can create a dispute about the result of his or her prediction. In this case, the disputer has to stake more coins and highly-ranked users decide whether the prediction is, in fact, true or false. If a person is false about his or her dispute, he loses these additionally staked coins as well. All this process, from the creation of a Blueprint to the dispute’s result, is conducted in a decentralized manner.

Token

HEDG tokens are used for the creation of Blueprints, buying these Blueprints and creating disputes. The staking mechanism, a quite common defense mechanism, ensures that spamming Blueprints is not financially viable for the attacker.

As tokens at any sale stage are sold $0.02, the ICO investor does not have much to worry regarding any huge bonus for private investors and so on. 90% of the hard-cap is already sold which is a good reason to think that the project has met interest to some acceptable degree and meeting the hard cap should not be hard.

The initial total supply of HEDG is 1 billion tokens with the following token distribution:

  1. 50% private and public tokens
  2. 10% seed round
  3. 20% team
  4. 12% partnerships and community
  5. 3% advisors
  6. 5% company

Team, partnership and community, and advisor tokens are locked for 36 months, 12 months and 12 months respectively. Once the lock-up period ends, tokens will be released in monthly installments.

There is no information on how the team is planning to use the token sale proceeds at the moment.

Team

CEO David Waslen: Prior to co-founding Chrysalis Capital Advisors Inc., Waslen was the director of finance at Handy, an application to book home services.

Allan Redman: Redman is a senior software developer at Siemens Canada. Before joining Siemens, he was a senior .Net developer at Schneider Electric.

Verdict

Below is a breakdown of the risks and growth potential of Hedge.

Risks

  • No advisors are listed as of September 15th. (-1)
  • In the absence of social media channels such as Reddit and Telegram, it is hard to gauge the community interest in the project. (-1)
  • A more complex prediction system instead of a true/false one could create more interest and diversity. (-1.5)

Growth Potential

  • The project has already met 90% of its hard cap in prior rounds and should not have trouble to hit the cap. (+2)
  • Prediction market cryptocurrency projects tend to do well in terms of return on investment. (+2)
  • Such a taking mechanism is a common, yet a good way to defend against spam attacks. (+1.5)
  • Low hard cap. (+1.5)

Disposition

Hedge is a very simple, yet elegant prediction market cryptocurrency project. It enables seasoned investors to sell their predictions and less experienced traders to buy them with HEDG tokens. Even the adoption of a small community is sufficient for the project to work, which is quite likely as it has already raised 90% of its hard cap, precisely $9,000,000. On the other hand, from the perspective of an ICO investor, it is hard to gauge any potential return on investment as the absence of social media channels makes it extremely hard to gauge the community interest in the project. Implemented staking mechanism defends the platform against spam attacks and gives platform users a reason to use tokens. Investors might think that a binary prediction system isn’t ideal vs. a more sophisticated one. Hedge receives a 3.5/10.

Investment Details

  • Type: ERC20 – Utility
  • Symbol: HEDG
  • Platform: Ethereum
  • Crowdsale: October 17th
  • Minimum Investment: Unspecified
  • Price: $0.02
  • Hard Cap: $10,000,000
  • Payments Accepted: Unspecified
  • Restricted from Participating: Unspecified

For More Information

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICO Analysis: Block66

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The mortgage market is one of the biggest financial markets in the world. The market in the United States is around $10 trillion dollars, but the worldwide figure of $33 trillion is even more impressive. Yet getting a mortgage is not easy as risk-averse institutions do not have business with many viable candidates. Even if institutions at a smaller scale and private lenders want to get their piece of the pie, they are having a hard time to find a place in the market and meet entry barriers.

Block66 is a mortgage blockchain platform aiming to connect these two sides of lenders and borrowers. By using this platform, credible people whose applications are denied by the mainstream mortgage market now can borrow funds from lenders. It should be also noted that a mortgage application takes forty to forty-five days in the United States and the most of this period is spent on bureaucratic issues. At the end of this period, many people’s applications are rejected, and their precious time is just wasted.

But now thanks to smart contracts and the blockchain technology, this inefficient and stressful process of loaning and borrowing money can be conducted in a way much easier and faster. Having no access to any bank account or geographical boundaries is not an issue as long as you find a borrower or a lender, depending on which side of the trade you are. Any document can be automatically checked, thus no bureaucratic baggage. Truly Block66, the world’s first blockchain enabled mortgage lending network, can do it all in a highly transparent and efficient way.

Token

The Block66 platform uses two different tokens. The first one, Block66 Token (B66), is the main currency of the network. The second one, Block66 Network Tokens (BNET), is produced by B66 tokens, quite similar to NEO-GAS pair. BNET tokens shall be used for actions which take place in the network such as covering third-party KYC costs and modifying the proof of loan tokens. This currency generation mechanism brings another incentive to hold B66 tokens. As no currency other than BNET can be used for these actions, we can say that BNET is the fuel of the Block66 platform. Any BNET used for in-platform actions will be burned, thus decreasing the supply and increasing the demand per token.

The ICO investor should note that in the pre-sale round still going on, contributors are offered a discount of 33%, making the price $0.07 per token.

The initial total supply of B66 is 300,000,000 tokens with the following token distribution:

  1. 9% advisors and bug bounty
  2. 40% reserve
  3. 16.6% presale
  4. 34.4% main sale

The team is planning to use the token sale proceeds as follows.

  1. 15% operations
  2. 30% business development
  3. 40% engineering
  4. 15% marketing

Team

CEO John Markham: Markham is a mortgage agent at Mortgage Intelligence, a mortgage broker company located in Ontario, Canada.

Vishal Karangutkar: Prior to joining Block66 as a solidity developer, Karanguthar has worked as a principal engineer at Fidelity Investments and as a senior system engineer at Merrill Lynch.

Advisors

Shingo Lavine: Lavine is the founder and CEO at Ethos.

Hakim Thompson: Thompson was the vice-president at Goldman Sachs’ Mortgages & Structured Products division before joining Behalf, an alternative financial provider for small to medium-sized businesses, as the director of finance.

Rob Beswick: Beswick is the chief commercial officer at Virgin Mobile.

Maurice Herlihy: Herlihy is a professor of computer science at Brown University and an advisor to Ethos and Algorand.

Partners

Bounty0x: Bounty0x is a blockchain platform built on the 0x protocol, allowing people and companies to run bounty programs.

Civic: Civic is a blockchain project which creates tools for identity protection and control.

Verdict

Below is a breakdown of the risks and growth potential of Block66.

Risks

  • MVP will be launched Q1’ 2019. (-1.5)
  • Cryptocurrencies’ volatility is quite a big problem for lending platforms. (-1.5)

Growth Potential

  • Due to the money lending market’s unrealistic standards and unfair restrictions, so many people’s demands are rejected. Once projects like Block66 earn these people’s trust, this area will be definitely a hot one. (+2)
  • The presence of team members experienced in mortgage and real estate markets. (+2)
  • Fair token metrics. (+2)

Disposition

The mortgage market is one of the biggest financial markets in the world, but due to institutional lenders’ risk-averseness, many credible people and small companies are not able to get a loan even if there are smaller institutions and private lenders out there willing to make loans. Block66 is the first mortgage-focused lending and borrowing cryptocurrency project, aiming to break down this wall between these two sides. Although it is pretty much established between the cryptocurrency community that lending platforms provide an important use-case, the expected success is not met so far. Block66 has a fair shot at relative success by having team members experienced in mortgage loans and real estate. Yet, since MVP will not be released until next year, it is too early to tell. Block66 receives a 3/10.

Investment Details

  • Type: ERC20 – Utility
  • Symbol: B66
  • Platform: Ethereum
  • Crowdsale: Unspecified
  • Minimum Investment: Unspecified
  • Price: $0.10
  • Hard Cap: $12,285,000
  • Payments Accepted: Unspecified
  • Restricted from Participating: Unspecified

For More Information

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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ICO Analysis: Algorand

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For any blockchain project out there, it is of the utmost importance to reach consensus as quickly and efficiently as possible. Many different ideas are thrown out to solve this critical issue and by its unique features and a team of renowned academics, Algorand proposes a new Byzantine Agreement as a solution for scalability, long transaction times and high energy consumption which perhaps is the main source of criticism towards proof of work coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Key features Algorand offers are as follows.

  • New blocks in two phases: In Algorand blocks are created in two phases. In Phase 1, a user gets selected randomly with the proportional probability to the number of tokens he or she has. This is broadcasted to all users and the selected user proposes a new block of valid transactions. In Phase 2, a group of users is selected in the same way as in Phase 1. This is broadcasted to all users as well and the group verifies the block.
  • Random lottery: The selection of proposers and verifiers is conducted by a random internal and fast lottery which ensures that every user has an equal saying on block creation. By a mechanism called secret self-selection, each user plays a private lottery and at the end, no one else knows whether he or she wins or loses. If he or she wins, the “winning ticket” proves that he or she is selected, and others can verify this.
  • No fork ever: In traditional blockchains whenever a dispute over a major proposal emerges, the discussion of a hard-fork starts. If no consensus over the proposed changes is reached, then the blockchain forks and at the end, there are two blockchains with a community divided into two camps. For instance, Bitcoin has a quite long history of hard forks, the most known one being Bitcoin’s forking to Bitcoin Cash. In Algorand proposals are posted on the blockchain and voted by platform users to be accepted or rejected. If accepted, the change is implemented. This means that Algorand cannot practically fork.
  • Minimal computational work: As a very small number of users are selected to be proposers and verifiers to create blocks, the amount of computation required is way too low compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • High throughput: The network has 125x of Bitcoin’s transaction speed, can confirm them in less than a minute and none to the little difficulty to scale is detected.
  • Two kinds of consensus: Thanks to Algorand’s new Byzantine Agreement, along with the final consensus, a tentative consensus is possible as well. Once a user reaches final consensus, other users have to follow him or her in this round. This ensures that there is only one chain reaching to the final block. On the other hand, tentative consensus occurs when others reach a non-finalized consensus. Only when following blocks reach final consensus, transactions from this block will be confirmed.
  • Honesty: As long as honest platform users have most of the money, transaction neutrality will be ensured as the block proposer will not exclude transactions from his or her block and verifiers will verify this honestly proposed block.

Token

As Algorand is a payment protocol, ALG tokens will be used for transactions between peers. Any information on token metrics is not released yet.

Team

Silvio Micali: Micali is a professor at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory since 1983, a co-inventor of zero-knowledge proofs and the co-winner of the Turing award.

Naveed Ihsanullah: Ihsanullah has worked as a principal software engineer at Compuware, a computer software company and as a senior engineering manager at Mozilla before he joined to Algorand as the head of engineering.

Nickolai Zeldovich: Zeldovich is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

David Shoots: Shoots is a principal software engineer at Microsoft.

Jamie Goldstein: Goldstein was a general partner at North Bridge Venture Partner for eighteen years. After leaving North Bridge, he co-founded Pillar Companies, a venture capital company.

Advisors

Andrew Lo: Lo is a world-class finance expert. Prior to becoming a professor at Sloan School of Management, MIT he was a former governor at Boston Stock Exchange. He also conducts research at reputable organizations such as the National Bureau of Economic Research and New York Federal Reserve Board’s Financial Advisory Roundtable.

Christian Catalini: Catalini is a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management since 2014. He also founded MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab in 2017.

Shafi Goldwasser: Goldwasser is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. She is the recipient of many respectable awards such as the Turing Award, the Gödel Prize and the Franklin Medal.

Naval Ravikant: Ravikant is the founder and the chairman of AngelList.

Jill Carlson: Carlson was the strategy lead at Chain, a company focusing on cryptographic ledger systems, which has been acquired by Lightyear very recently.

Verdict

Below is a breakdown of the risks and growth potential of Algorand.

Risks

  • The absence of a non-technical white-paper is a concern for people who are not tech-savvy. (-1)
  • Although the project has been around for some considerable time, no token metrics are released yet which makes it hard to measure the project’s worth as an investment. (-2)
  • Block creation depends on the platform users’ honesty to some degree which is a source of concern. Yet since the team is full of all-star academics, it is not hard to conceive that in the case of an emergency some temporary or permanent measure can be taken swiftly and easily. (-1)

Growth Potential

  • Great academic team with many prestigious awards. (+3)
  • Testnet was launched on July 20th. (+3.5)
  • Technical features are groundbreaking. (+4)

Disposition

Algorand proposes a new consensus mechanism to solve problems of scalability, low transaction speed and high energy consumption which mainstream blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum meet. By these features such as block creation in two phases and random lottery to choose creators and verifiers, the project is superior to many of its counterparts. As no information on token metrics is released as of September 14th, it is hard to make any guess on potential returns on investment. As there is no white-paper easily readable and understandable by people who are not tech-savvy, the project might not reach the majority of the cryptocurrency community. The presence of a test-net before ICO is definitely something we do not see often these days, and this is certainly a huge plus. Some concerns might exist regarding the network’s security, especially its seeming reliance on users’ honesty, but such an all-star team seems capable of much more than solving such issues. Algorand receives a 6/10.

Investment Details

  • Type: ERC20 – Utility
  • Symbol: ALG
  • Platform: Ethereum
  • Crowdsale: Unspecified
  • Minimum Investment: Unspecified
  • Price: Unspecified
  • Hard Cap: Unspecified
  • Payments Accepted: Unspecified
  • Restricted from Participating: Unspecified

For More Information

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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