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ICO Analysis: UTRUST

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With the advent of cryptocurrency, it’s clear that the future of digital payments is upon us. Until now, advances in blockchain technology have occurred outside the purview of digital payments between buyers and sellers. That’s until UTRUST came along.

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UTRUST is an ambitious payment system that enables buyers to use their favorite cryptocurrency to pay for merchants for goods and services. Merchants or sellers enjoy the safety and convenience of receiving funds in fiat currency, while buyers get the added protection of UTRUST as mediator. The platform combines the payment protection features of existing fiat systems with the innovative features of blockchain.

UTRUST has labeled itself the “crypto-contender to PayPal,” a sign that the company is aiming to take the reigns as global payments leader.

The UTRUST Platform aims to provide the consumer protection buyers take for granted in traditional online purchases, acting as amediator, resolver of conflicts, enabling the possibility of refunds to mitigate fraud, while shielding the merchant from crypto-market volatility. We want to build upon the best features of cryptocurrencies, enabling fast transactions, lower fees and low cross-border transaction friction, enabling merchants to sell to a growing worldwide audience of crypto-holders. In sum, we aim to build the payment API for marketplace integration that will become the crypto-contender to PayPal. – UTRUST Whitepaper (2017)

In demonstrating its value proposition, UTRUST has issued the following comparison chart. The chart provides a compelling snapshot of what the company hopes to achieve.

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Source: UTRUST Whitepaper.

There’s plenty of hype surrounding UTRUST. The startup raised more than $1.5 million in 90 minutes during its August pre-sale, demonstrating huge demand for a global cryptocurrency payment platform. Following the huge support received during the pre-sale, UTRUST has boosted its infrastructure and support staff in preparation for its public initial coin offering (ICO) Nov. 2. Thousands of investors have already registered to buy the ICO, so this one is expected to move very quickly.

The initial $1.5 million investment has allowed the startup to secure a schedule for technical development, as well as further its marketing iniatives.

UTRUST Token

As the company states, the purpose of the crowdsale is to raise enough capital to “establish a de-facto payment platform in the cryptocurrency world and become lead Fintech startup in digital payments.”

In support of that vision, UTRUST is offering a ERC20-compatable token over the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum was the natural choice for a project of this nature, given the platform’s industry standard for issuing custom cryptocurrencies. The Ethereum ecosystem also has several other advantages, including development tools, wallets and exchanges. The ability to integrate smart contracts is also a strong value proposition offered by the Ethereum network.

The UTRUST token serves as an investment stake in the company as well as a transactional token for buying goods and services on the platform. As such, the token serves a number of functions inside the platform, including:

  • facilitating buyer/seller transactions;
  • allowing users to spend tokens on merchants that support the platform; and
  • the ability to sell the token in the exchange, privately or hold it for future use.

Each time a buyer pays with cryptocurrency through the platform, a percentage of the transactional fee is used to buyback a UTRUST token and remove it from the market. In other words, the removed tokens will be completely destroyed, thus reducing the total number of tokens in supply and boosting future demand, adoption and value for contributors.

As the following image illustrates, buyers will be able to purchase goods and services with any major cryptocurrency or UTRUST tokens. The latter has the added benefit of no conversion fee. Sellers receive the funds in the fiat currency of their choosing, allowing them to withdraw directly to their bank account, retain inside the wallet or convert to another cryptocurrency.

Source: UTRUST Whitepaper.

The company plans to deliver a transactional platform for the first quarter of 2018. This first iteration of the platform will be supported by a wallet app connecting buyers and sellers. The pilot launch will feature select merchants, with a more expanded rollout in the third quarter of 2018.

The Team

The UTRUST team includes professionals with a background in management, payments and cryptocurrency. The company is headed by Nuno Correia, who serves as Chief Executive Officer. Nuno is an early cryptocurrency adopter, and has been involved in the market since early 2011. This includes founding several B2C ventures.

The management team also includes a CIO, CTO, CPO, Head of Engineering, VP of Marketing, Head of Design, Head of Operations and others. Six engineers are also retained, in addition to nine advisors. The team is one of the strongest the author has seen for an early stage ICO.

Verdict

Make no mistake – UTRUST is a powerful platform with a strong value proposition. It is aiming to resolve the biggest issue holding back mainstream cryptocurrency adoption – namely, the ability to use digital tokens as a payment for actual goods and services. As a transactional payment API, the platform strikes a fine balance between consumer protection and convenience.

That being said, the company has yet to offer any implementation details, leaving investors unable to truly verify the claims. Although this is expected to be resolved sometime next year when the platform launches, it is something investors should bear in mind.

Risks

  • A lack of implementation details or working prototype. -2
  • The whitepaper states that the platform converts cryptocurrency into fiat and holds it in escrow until it is released to the seller. However, no information on the escrow feature is provided. -1

Growth Potential

  • UTRUST is operating at the forefront of the cryptocurrency payment arena, which gives it unique first-mover advantage in a rapidly expanding market. The lack of cryptocurrency payment options is a major issue that UTRUST is trying to resolve. +6
  • Sellers will be delighted to learn that they can receive payments in fiat currency. This gives them the opportunity of serving the cryptocurrency market without having to actually set up a crypto account. +2
  • Hugely successful private raise suggests investors are extremely passionate about the project. +2

Disposition

If you’re bullish on cryptocurrency, UTRUST is the opportunity to put your money where your mouth is. Consumers are craving a PayPal for cryptos, and UTRUST is delivering. If crypto payment processing is as coveted as industry proponents say it is, then UTRUST provides huge potential.

Against this backdrop, we give UTRUST  a rating of 7 out of 10. We feel this rating is justified given the prevailing gaps in the crypto payment arena, and the role of UTRUST in filling an important niche in the market. UTRUST essentially gives merchants access to a growing audience of cryptocurrency holders. For buyers, UTRUST provides a safe, reliable and secure platform for actually buying goods and services in cryptocurrency.

Investment Details

To participate in the UTRUST token sale, click here.

  • Project Type: Crowdsale
  • Opening Date: Nov. 2, 2017
  • Platform: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Total Supply: 1 billion
  • Raise Limit: $50 million USD
  • Token Price: $0.065 USD
  • Accepted Tokens: BTC & ETH

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Prospero42

    November 2, 2017 at 9:30 am

    Considerable concerns have been raised elsewhere about the CEO and team of Utrust. Credentials don’t seem to match up to claims made, and CEO has been evasive. See here:

    https://cryptobriefing.com/utrust-ico-review-token-analysis/

  2. nexus6

    November 4, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Token valorization comes from the fact that with every transaction some tokens get burned. BUT.. I’ve asked them what percentage of the transaction fees get burned and the answer is we’ll tell you after the ico.

    Translation: buy our shitcoins first and afterwards we’ll tell you whether they’re worth anything.

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ICO

ICO Analysis: Gimmer Token

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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.

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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.  

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Token

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.

Team

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.

Verdict

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.

Risks

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

Growth Opportunity

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

Disposition

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.

Investment Details

  • 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.

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ICO

ICO Analysis: Lendoit

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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.

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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.

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  1. The borrower applies for a loan by filling out an application. This takes about three minutes.
  2. The borrower uploads any relevant verification (i.e. government-issued photo ID) according to their particular country’s regulations.
  3. Lendoit sends the loan app and verified information to verified scoring providers to receive a score for the current loan.
  4. Lendoit will publish each smart loan contract in the blockchain and marketplace.
  5. Lenders Tender is a process of raising loans for funds requested by the borrower.
  6. The borrower can now withdraw the funds using his or her wallet.
  7. When the date to pay back the loan arrives, the borrower receives a notification.
  8. The borrower now repays the funds with interest to the smart contract.
  9. The lender withdraws his money in the same currency he loaned it.
  10. 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.
  11. 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%.
  12. 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.

The Token

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Borrower must use LOAN to publish the Smart Loan Contract.
  3. All the fees charged on the platform are paid in LOANs.
  4. All the interest payments will be paid to the lenders in LOANs. This will take place automatically via the Smart Conversion Contract.

The Team

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.

The Verdict

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.

Risks

  • 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

Growth Potential

  • 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

Disposition

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.

Token Details

Learn more/sign up for whitelist here.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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ICO Analysis: CanYa

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CanYa is offering a platform for the exchange of peer-to-peer services.

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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.

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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.”

The Team

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.

Risks

  • 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

Growth Potential

  • 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

Disposition

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.

Investment Details

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. 

Important: Never invest money you can't afford to lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here.



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