ICO Analysis: AirToken

Global Internet Penetration

Internet access has evolved from being a luxury in the 20th century to a necessity for socio economic development. The cost of smartphones have seen a rapid fall in the past few years, you can buy a smartphone for as low as 30 USD in India or China. Despite the fall in smartphone prices, high data costs remain the biggest barrier for internet adoption. Capital intensive nature of telecom industry and the constant pressure to maintain ARPUs have resulted in data costs remaining high. Internet penetration is as low as 46% and 31% in Asia and Africa respectively. You can check the internet statistics here.

Mobile Accessibility Using Advertising

The internet ecosystem is powered by advertisements. The largest internet based conglomerates viz. Alphabet and Facebook are nothing but advertising companies. The Internet, as a global communications medium, provides advertisers with unique and often cost-effective ways of reaching advertising audiences. The advertisers access their target audience via advertising networks like Google AdSense, and pay these networks and publishers when the users interacts with the ad. Until now the users did not have any economic involvement in the online advertising ecosystem nor do they get any reward for viewing advertisements.

AirFox plans to give economic incentives to users for viewing advertisements, which it hopes will enable them to access and afford mobile internet.

Understanding AirFox

AirFox Browser will enable any user on earth to participate in the AirFox ecosystem. After downloading the AirFox Browser,users are  given an option to opt-in for ads provided for AirFox. Users can opt to view advertisements and complete offers to earn AIR tokens. Ads are periodically displayed on a user’s smartphone after certain events; for example, a call is ended or the phone is unlocked. Users can use the earned Air Tokens to recharge their mobile data from AirFox partnered telecom operators. In the later stages of implementation AirFox will enable users to buy other digital products using the AIR tokens. One usecase that AirFox is currently working on is microlending through AIR Tokens.
How are they doing this?

Along with the AirFox Browser that we discussed above, AirFox Wireless is the other division of AirFox. AirFox Wireless (B2B) empowers prepaid carriers with a platform for more dynamic and affordable mobile data plans. It has been operational since 2016 and has already generated $600,000 USD of revenues. Due to this division they have close working relationships with around 500 telecom operators and 20 online advertising networks. These relationships will be leveraged and extended on AirFox Browser, like partner telecoms will accept AIR tokens for mobile data recharges while the advertising networks will display advertisements on the browser. The funds raised in the ICO will be used to implement this system on the blockchain with specific smart contracts.

AirFox’s solution harnesses the decentralized power of the Ethereum blockchain and advertising to give users “AirTokens”, a new crypto-currency redeemable for mobile data, and eventually physical and digital goods.

There are 4 major components in the online advertising industry namely the user, wireless carriers, advertisers and publishers. By removing the intermediaries and providing more direct interactions, AirFox ecosystem will have benefits for each of these components.

Token And Raise Structure

Users can opt-in to ads displayed on their device in order to earn AIR. They may choose to see more or less ads at any given time and earn proportionately more or less AIR.
Advertisers can directly sponsor all or a segment of users with AIR tokens for opt-in, attention, or engagement.

Users can redeem AIR for mobile data, digital services and physical goods inside the AirFox Browser app. The amount of AIR required to purchase any product is set by the AIR exchange markets and changes dynamically.

The crowdraise will begin on 5td October. 70% of the total 1.5 Billion tokens will be available for the crowdraise. 30% of the tokens will be kept in a reserve. The raise has been capped at 21 million USD. A clear fund usage strategy has been laid out which we view positively.

The token will be valued at 65 Air per USD for early buyers. The tranches for the raise are as follows:
Tranche 1: $0 to $2 million, 65 AIR per 1 USD equivalent in ETH
Tranche 2: $2 million to $4 million, 60 AIR per 1 USD equivalent in ETH
Tranche 3: $4 million to $8 million, 55 AIR per 1 USD equivalent in ETH
Post these tranches the token will be valued at 50 AIR per 1 USD equivalent.

Team

The AirFox team is an all-star Ivy League educated one. The project has been incubated at the Harvard’s Innovation Launch Lab. There are 8 full time employees working on the project each having extensive experience in associated technologies like payment, advertisements, telecom etc. We can be assured about the credibility of the management seeing how they have developed Airfox Wireless into a $600,000 USD revenue generating company in just one year. Not only have they generated these cash flows but have integrated the product with around 500 mobile carriers in the world.

CEO Victor Santos is an ex-Googler, UC Berkeley alum, and telecom entrepreneur. He cofounded Ciao Telecom which is a platform for VoIP entrepreneurs and an advertising-based mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Later he worked for Google in the AdWords department. The other cofounder Sara Choi is a Harvard alum, and award winning product manager and marketer. She was Google’s youngest Media Lead managing YouTube’s Media Team. Along with a great team, AirFox is backed by TechStars, Project 11, NXT Ventures, LaunchCapital, RightSide Capital and other prominent investors in Boston.

The Verdict

We have a positive view on AirFox. They are working on a completely new idea, have a great team of domain experts, credibility in the form of revenue generating AirFox Wireless unit, and a strong mission to connect the underserved to the global internet economy. The functionality of the AIR tokens can be extended from current mobile data recharge and microlending to ecommerce transactions and other usecases. Although the project has been widely advertised as a socio-economic one, we believe it is NOT just limited to bring in positive changes in the lives of the underprivileged, but has commercial and economic benefits for all the stakeholders. There is a good hype for the project and we believe it wont take much time to reach its 21 million USD hardcap.

Risks

  • Telecom operators, especially the ones in developing countries are aiming to create mobile data economies where they give data at a cheap rate and provide value added services like mobile recharge, cloud, music and movie streaming themselves. -3
  • Facebook’s Internet.org and Google’s services like the Google Station are directed towards the same population group as AirFox. These large advertising conglomerates might feel threatened over such a product. -2
  • Heavy marketing efforts will be required to extend the outreach of the product towards the targeted audience. -1

Growth Potential

  • As mentioned above, AirFox has an extremely balanced and professional team working on the project. +3
  • There is no other blockchain based project working on such an idea. Jana is a well funded competitor but they are working off the blockchain. Jana’s product is purely advertising rewards model while AirFox aims to create a broader ecosystem. +3
  • AirFox Wireless is a revenue generating company, with solid revenues in 2016. Their relationships with 500 global telecom and 20 ad network companies is something we view and rate very positively. +5
  • Usecases like microlending using AIR tokens has a great opportunity to scale in developing markets especially when a large majority of the population in these countries is unbanked. +2

Disposition

We give AirFox a score of 7 out of 10. There is a good potential for short term upside. The hardcap is low at 21 million USD while 6.5 million USD have already been sold in the presale. If you plan to participate in the crowdsale we advise you to participate in the White-list token sale as soon as possible

Investment Details

The ICO launches on 5th October. AirToken is a White-list token sale. Here you will have to complete the white-list process and send ETH on the given address.

Author:
Aakash Kawale is a financial analyst based out of Mumbai, India. He is the lead analyst at a Singapore based organization and has extensive experience of analyzing US and Indian equities. Aakash is a strong advocate of the Blockchain technology and has been analyzing cryptocurrencies since 2015.