Networked resources have long been a profitable corner of the technology market. Some of the largest online services today are in storage, content delivery management, and large-scale processing. Today, the brunt of the web’s work is conducted by a few major, centralized corporations, including Amazon, Digital Ocean, and Oracle, all of whom profit handsomely when start-ups and others go to them for hosting, processing, and more.
These corporations are able to offer affordable rates through scaling. But what if the scale was market-driven, infinitely expandable and downsizable, and could be contributed to by most devices in the world? And what if you, the daily user, could sell your unused computing resources to a massive decentralized network in order to offset your broadband and other costs, or even to profit? That’s the idea behind the Supercomputer Organized by Network Mining (SONM): a global, decentralized, incentivized cluster of computing power, and one of a few promising plays in the distributed computing market.
The SONM token will be the currency of the Supercomputer, although users will be able to enter the economy with virtually any other payment method, at which time their tokens are immediately converted at the market rate. Then there is a market as to the offerings of providers, the cost of the services, and the like.
SONM will have utility for all types of users, from everyday gamers who want alternative, inexpensive global networking for their gaming (such as the tournament they are running on their platform beginning next week) all the way to tech start-ups, and even Google, Amazon, and the others who may see it as a good way to quickly expand when demands from industries call for it. Although, eventually, it would seem, their centralized model will fall to the decentralized mode. This is the arc of most networked technology, anyway, but there would necessarily be a long period of co-existence. As Professor Ozan Onay recently wrote,
Use of large scale dataflow engines like Hadoop and Spark can be particularly funny: very often a traditional DBMS is better suited to the workload, and sometimes the volume of data is so small that it could even fit in memory. Did you know you can buy a terabyte of RAM for around $10,000? Even if you had a billion users, this would give you 1kB of RAM per user to work with.
SONM will create a corner of the market where the cost of these resources is drastically reduced, distributed amongst many providers, and tailored better to the needs of the customer. SONM and other efforts like it will lead to industry-creating and shifting dominance factors – meritocracy can return to Silicon Valley with a vengeance in terms of service offerings. A small effort can forego a drawn-out funding process and get off the ground with private equity with greater likelihood when the cost of resources can be dropped double-digit percentages.
Moreover, SONM, or an effort like it, will create economic activity all throughout the chain. It will raise any ship it comes into contact with, including currencies it is tradable for, like Bitcoin. People with little means but lots of merit will have renewed opportunities to provide for themselves.
All of this sounds quite utopian, perhaps overly bullish for an analyst, right? Well, that’s because it’s just around the corner.
[…] we are referring to decentralized organizations of computing machine resources, and not decentralized human organizations. Most of the data in the current IoT state of development is being processed by private centralized clouds – i.e. using cloud technologies, like AWS, Microsoft Azure, etc. [… ]Centralized cloud technologies have several weaknesses and can’t be used in [Internet of Everything].
SONM is underpinned by what they call SOSNA:
SOSNA is a global operating system built on the nesting doll principle. It is important to understand the structure of SOSNA in order to internalize this concept. Let’s go from the end-user application to outer-layer infrastructure. SOSNA itself is a top layer envelope that works with the Grid-core (BOINC, Yandex.Cocaine/ Other grid-compatible PaaS) and the infrastructure of SONM smart contracts.
Lots of buzz words in there, but the gist is this: SOSNA makes the the whole thing work. It’s SONM’s blockchain, in a way, and is built from other components.
How the SONM Market Works
Fog computing or fog networking, also known as fogging, is an architecture that uses one or more collaborative multitude of end-user clients or near-user edge devices to carry out a substantial amount of storage, communication, control, configuration, measurement and management.
Anyone with a desire can commit resources to SONM and receive SNM tokens from whitelisted gateways which are called “hubs.” These hubs pay a .5% fee for the privilege, and part of this fee is redistributed to all of the token holders at the end of each month.
Users can deposit a multitude of currencies, which are then converted to SNM tokens and then used to buy resources. This method of on-boarding allows for a more unified value figure to emerge, but external trading is bound to pick up additionally, which could make some pairings less appealing than others at various times. It may be that the most common way to on-board with SONM will be credit cards, just like any other computing rental situation. That this does not negatively effect the value of the SNM tokens themselves, but rather buoys them by having tertiary metrics to measure them against, is a nice feature of the system.
According to the Business Overview,
The wider the usage of SNM tokens for computational power purchases, the higher will be the market demand for the token on exchanges, and the higher the price in comparison with the initial ICO price.
Sergey Ponomarev is the genesis of the global operating system concept and SONM. One of his handles is JackBekket, whose Github page lists a few cryptocurrency-related projects. One of these is an Ethereum escrow smart contract.
At the helm of the important parts of SONM is someone with the right stuff. Anton Tiurin still works as a senior software developer at Yandex, on the Cocaine project, which is used in the SONM project overall. This experience and placement in the regional software development community (so that he can tap other developers when need be) is a big plus to the project. The right people for the right job cannot be stressed enough. Tiurin is highly active on Github, where he maintains several repositories for Yandex and himself personally.
The whole of their actual development heads have more competancy than several other ICOs we’ve reviewed combined, looking over their achievements and contributions to software. Most seem to be on the innovative side, such as Max Taldykin, who is working on “provable off-chain Ethereum calculations.” If any points are deducted in terms of the software here, it will not be due to a lack of faith in the skills of the team in question.
This is one of the most ambitious, interesting, and promising ICOs we’ve seen in recent times. The token itself is just a vehicle; the platform is what matters in terms of the token’s value. Timing is everything, and the demand for decentralized computing services is going to exponentially increase, well, forever. As more and more millenials enter the job market or start businesses, technology will increasingly become the world’s foremost human-involved industry. As such, the market for less expensive big boy resources will expand with each graduating class. If they were trying to launch this around the time that AWS started taking on more non-enterprise customers or DigitalOcean was launched, they probably would have been too early to the game.
The profitability of the token will rely on the platform, but the platform has good odds of success. In their business overview, SONM addresses the question of how they will ensure their own solvency:
The SONM project, according to the criteria of the classical business, will operate without profit until the project reaches the planned capacity. Capital attracted in the ICO will be enough until at least 2023. […] Thus, the risks associated with the possible bankruptcy of the operating company SONM are eliminated. If the token is not fully bought out during the ICO, the project’s financial security boundary is 60% of the planned volume of placement (156 thousand tokens). In accordance with the DDM model (Dividend Discount Model) with a token price of $ 0.14, it will be 6% more than the price of the token on the ICO. The token price calculations are conducted without taking the speculative influence into account.
So long as the SONM itself is around, regardless of token value, your tokens will have utility. There may be times when you can get more value for the tokens than you could sell them for at market. But the likelihood of you ending up with completely worthless tokens by going in on this ICO is comparably much lower in the spectrum of things. For this reason we are giving the SONM project a 9 on the 0-10 scale of ICO investment safety. The good news for those that want to watch and wait is that SONM will not be the last play in this market. Those looking for a good play in distributed computing can either try this one or wait for an improved version of it to come along.
Disruption is the nature of technology. Technology disrupts nature, after all. The disruption of the cloud computing market by the introduction of fog computing alternatives will be a kingmaking, interesting time for the IT world.
Coinciding with the public test of the platform the SONM ICO will launch on the 15th of June. A formula was used to determine the price of SNM tokens, and the base rate being given on the site is 636 SNM per Ether invested. Bitcoin and direct deposit will also be accepted, and altcoin users can use Shapeshift to facilitate Bitcoin investments.
The ICO will run until July 15th, and based on the percentage of SNM already sold, a bonus is available for early birds. For example, those who buy before the first 10% are sold will receive a bonus of 15%, so 731.4 SNM per Ether invested.
20 million tokens will be withheld from sale and kept with the SONM Decentralized Autonomous Organization. These tokens will be used to award employees and also formulate SONM’s voting power in the DAO. SONM is looking to raise a maximum of around $63 million given the current price of Ethereum, and it will use the funds in this way:
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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