ICO Analysis: Revain
Off the cuff, Revain might be best addressed by the hard medicine wisdom: not everything needs a blockchain. On first glance, the author thought this review platform was intended to allow people to review any sort of business or platform, but in the opening sentence of the “full” whitepaper, we get this:
[…] allows users to discuss various projects that have carried out an ICO.
You mean like a message board? I mean, come on now. Are we really going to ICO this? Does this thing really need the blockchain? Thus is the gut reaction.
The “problem” that Revain seems to want to solve is that of legiticimacy of online accounts and sock puppeteering in feedback forums. The main question that arises is, of course, how much such a thing can actually be worth to people who otherwise are doing a fine business. That there is an element of plausible deniability when people do say negative things is in fact a side benefit to businesses operating online, although an immoral one. Still, how valuable can it actually be to verify feedback about something? In terms of marketing and research, we can see applications.
Fragments of reviews are saved in the blockchain, which guarantees that those comments can’t be edited at a later date. […] In the beginning we plan to work with companies that have already completed their crowdfunding or ICO phase, as well as cryptocurrency exchanges. Later on, we plan to expand to the Gaming, E-commerce, FMCG and Booking markets.
But that is not the intent of the Revain platform. They seem to be approaching the ICO world from the perspective that information is not traveling quickly enough to warn people of bad ICOs. However, by the time an ICO actually funds, any damage that could be done has already been done.
The above passage seems to imply that exchanges might find some value in the data, but we’re going to doubt that exchanges will see enough value to pay for it. We haven’t even looked at the token distribution, purpose, or design yet and we’re already having a bad feeling about this one.
The whitepaper goes on to discuss the success of companies like Yelp and Epinion but doesn’t bother mentioning an important fact: buying the R or RVN token doesn’t get you any of Revain the company’s value. Instead, you’re becoming a salesman of a platform token. Now let’s talk about what these tokens do.
To complicate matters, Revain will have two tokens. At the crowdsale, they will have the R token. This will be exchangeable later for RVN tokens, which will be exclusively used inside the platform and apparently not intended for sale outside of the platform. The RVN tokens can be exchanged for R tokens and vice versa. They’ve set an opening price on R tokens at .0001 BTC, in order that “small companies can afford to reward user opinions.”
Now we see a lightbulb in the darkness. Tackling the small company market as regards gathering user data is probably a worthwhile cause, but simply decentralizing and making cheaper surveying will not be sufficient. Such a platform would be multifaceted and essentially give small firms the same tools that large ones have at their disposal for capturing and acting on user data. That’s not what we’re provided in Revain, so there’s no sense prattling on as if we are. What we are provided is a decentralized, much more gameable version of the Amazon reviews system. Why do we say this? Well, you can verify the feedback all you want – if people are being paid to give it, even when those payments are allegedly fair and transparent, there’s still a chance they’re being paid under the table for their opinions in addition. There are many opportunities in such a system to delegitimize it, and being that its entire purpose is to provide legitimate feedback, this is disappointing, to say the least, but again, we’re not sure that there is really a lot of dollar value in such feedback in the first place.
There is, in fact, an entire industry devoted to capturing user feedback and paying users for it. Bringing this industry to the blockchain age will be a lucrative endeavor, but we do not believe that this is what we’re going to see with Revain.
No one on the Revain team stands out as being some all-redeeming savior, but we’ll run down some of the people who’ve installed themselves at its helm to see if there are any qualities worth noting.
CEO Rinat Arslanov is not to be confused with British-based Rinat Arlanov, who works at Coventry University. Largely speaking, Arslanov doesn’t come up much in search results. He claims to be “an entrepreneur with 10+ years in business, venture capitalist and blockchain enthusiast.” A Twitter profile is a bit more revealing, but not by much. All we get are two tweets:
Meanwhile, their ICO launches the same day this article is published.
Lead developer Sergey Potekhin appears to have done a little bit of Bitcoin coding work, at least, but his name doesn’t exactly stick out in terms of blockchain engineers.
The rest of the team, as well, seem to be real, at least. But that doesn’t make the idea they’ve gathered to work on have any more potential, unfortunately.
When establishing a business, we have to identify real problems that need solving, and when we deliver solutions, these solutions need to be bulletproof. There may be some value in gathering user feedback, for small businesses. Yelp! has largely profited through advertising to consumers, and not taking money from businesses to alter data. While Revain provides us an immutable way for users to give feedback, what they don’t provide is any real incentive for that feedback to be acted upon. Other companies use social pressure, but their feedback is commissioned by the public, not by the companies themselves. Thus, if your goal is to profit from the companies wanting the data, you have to first establish that they want the data. To do that, you would have a number of companies you were targeting. As mentioned above, there is an industry regarding user information that needs disruption, but we don’t believe this is how you disrupt it.
There is a huge risk that no one will want the user data, and also that users won’t see enough incentive to provide it. Users in other platforms can make a few dollars for their time. Will firms be able to afford this in this platform? Seems unlikely, especially with the advent of speculation on the token. For this, we subtract 4 points.
- Revain could morph into something that might actually disrupt the survey-taking industry. +3
- Speculation on the R token, at such a low entry price, could probably yield some quick profis. +2
We land on a numerical rating of 1 for Revain. This suggests extreme caution.
The Revain ICO begins today. Check https://revain.org/ for current and complete information, and exercise extreme caution when sending cryptocurrency anywhere.