ICO Analysis: Zeex
Zeex is offering users the ability to exclusively use crypto when shopping at various outlets. Users will be able to directly purchase whatever items thy want from their brands of choice without having to convert their crypto into fiat.
The following video shows Zeex in action outside of the Consensus conference at a Starbucks, where the CMO Apan Amos Damri uses their beta version to buy a cup of coffee using Ethereum. The transaction was successful, but the verdict is still out on whether they were able to spell his name correctly on the cup.
The ZIX token is what the whitepaper calls a “core element” of the solution, which does three things. It covers a user’s transactional risk until the trade is complete, it determines who can exercise what kinds of transactions when based on advertised discount rates and supplies, and it’s also a login method to use the Zeex platform.
To the surprise of probably very few people reading this, Zeex is a spinoff sister company of a European marketplace for buying and selling gift cards called Zeek Group. For Zeex, the road is already paved in terms of getting access to close relationships with name-brand retailers and a multi-million dollar inventory of gift cards.
Zeek has been able to raise venture capital from firms such as Blumberg Capital, Qualcomm Ventures, Scale Up Venture Capital and more.
The Zeex business model hinges on a few potential incomes streams:
- Providing working capital to gift card suppliers, easing the transition for many businesses hesitant to get into the crypto field.
- Financial services to support suppliers financially.
- Marketing services to help suppliers speak the lingo of the cryptocurrency world. The whitepaper states that “Zeex has already mastered these industry-specific marketing channels and has been engaged in community building for a significant period, its in-house marketing team is already equipped to help suppliers build their own communities and maximize their value per transaction.”
- Platform adoption and market penetration to help suppliers integrate crypto into their business makeup
- Operations support to help suppliers and users better understand and utilize the platform.
- Provide business intelligence data to retailers on cryptocurrency users.
- Not an entirely frictionless experience: This isn’t a problem unique to just Zeex, but is present throughout most digital payment solutions. Unless you can tap your phone on a receiver like Apple Pay, you’ll be behind the most “frictionless” payment system out there. However, this is miles ahead of crypto transactions. -1
- Not really sold on the need for an ICO (for the investor’s sake): Although the Zeex platform sounds pretty useful, investor upside seems fairly limited (but then again, who can accurately predict investor upside in this space circa 2017/2018. -2
- It works! Few projects raising money via ICO can boast a working beta, and Zeex already does and has a use case that many cryptocurrency users would likely want. +2
- Yay user adoption! One of the largest detractors of the transactional user of cryptocurrencies is that it’s incredibly complicated and tedious. If you have 8+ steps before you can pay for a coffee, chances are you’re going to opt for that .25 second swipe of a Visa in your pocket. +2
- Finally, a use for gift cards. When’s the last time you got a gift card that wasn’t from Amazon that you actually fully used? Too many people have gift cards just sitting around either untouched or with a fractional amount on them. There is a whole secondary market for discounted gift cards, and there’s a huge value in using these gift cards in a business model such as Zeex’s. The team essentially has a pool of gift cards going for a discounted price (usually around the 5 to 15% range), and are able to provide a solution to a community in dire need of one. +1
- Zeek partnership. Having a sister company that already has the relationships with retailers necessary puts Zeex way ahead of the game. It’s not your typical run of the mill ICO that aims to build everything from ground zero for a lack of strategic partnerships, but more so a use case to be implemented with an already successful company. +3
- Limited downside: Zeex claims that it will safeguard token value by using proceeds of the often sale to guarantee the supply of gift cards at the highest possible discount from a wide range of brands. If this means what I think it means, that worst case scenario you can use Zeex tickets to exchange them for gift cards at any time, and if there isn’t a stark depreciation of purchasing power for Zeex tokens, this is a cool perk few other ICOs can offer. However, if I’m wrong, write this point off as whitepaper tomfoolery. +2
- This sounds like either a huge tax headache or a huge tax advantage. If the current American tax law stands that the exchange of crypto for fiat (or gift card) constitutes a taxable event, the Zeex team would have to figure out a way to help users report their taxes on these events. If this is the case, a -2 would be added to my score. However, if there is some international gift card loophole where users can trade any crypto for gift cards and there not be a taxable event, that would be huge for the team (although unlikely, because Uncle Sam is gonna get what he thinks is his). If this is the case, a +5 added to my score.
We arrive at a +7/10 for Zeex. It’s got a cool use case, already works (in beta), and a relatively strong partnership in place. If the appreciation of the token’s value is correlated with the success of the app, investors would likely be pretty happy. However, if it’s just another token limited to its own ecosystem, I don’t see much use in investing into it unless you plan on using the Zeex app.
- Type: ERC20 – Utility
- Symbol: ZIX
- Platform: Ethereum
- Crowdsale: TBA
- Minimum Investment: 0.1 ETH
- Price:1 ETH = 5,000 ZIX
- Hard Cap: $50 million U.S.
- Payments Accepted: ETH
- Barred from Participating: Israel, U.S., China, Lebanon, Iran.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.