Investing Idea: ICON (ICX)

When it comes to initial coin offerings (ICO) and crypto investments, very few projects were as highly touted as ICON (ICX). The so-called “Korean Ethereum” raised a whopping 150,000 ETH from public and private donors in 2017. Half of that total came from a public pre-sale that sold out in six hours.

Since peaking in January 2018, ICON would go on to lose a staggering 99% during the course of the bear market. In terms of actual numbers, ICX fell from a high of around $12.64 to a low of around $0.18. Very few cryptocurrencies fell as hard.

Now that ‘crypto winter’ appears to be thawing, investors are searching for high-quality projects to include in their portfolios. This includes cryptocurrencies that are more likely to move independently of bitcoin’s gravitational pull and provide valuable use cases for the next generation of digital adoption. ICON still fits the bill despite its brutal track record of late.

ICON Value Metrics

  • Current Price: $0.3286
  • All-Time High: $12.64
  • All-Time Low: $0.1811
  • YTD Performance: +38.5%
  • Market Cap: $155.6 million
  • Market Cap Ranking: 43rd
  • ROI Since ICO: -19.6%
  • Primary Markets: Binance, UPbit

Investment Case

If interoperability is an essential component of the blockchain revolution, then ICON stands a good chance of surviving the bear market. The South Korean company is creating communities for blockchain networks to interact with each other seamlessly. The venue for interaction is the ICON Republic, which provides developers the infrastructure to build industrial scale applications on the blockchain. These different blockchains maintain their own consensus algorithms but also have a primary means of communication with ICON Republic and its various communities.

Basically, any worthwhile idea that makes sense to go on the blockchain can be supported by the ICON network. This includes blockchain networks, stock exchanges, databases, financial platforms, commerce industries and even healthcare providers.

ICON is also developing its own decentralized exchange that acts as a currency reserve for each blockchain community. This allows each developer community to exchange cryptocurrency through ICON Republic using exchange and transaction rates set established through artificial intelligence. As one might expect, ICON’s native ICX coin is the intermediary currency.

Back in January, ICON announced plans to release its decentralized exchange in the first half of 2019. It also announced 13 new partners focused on developing B2C and B2B products via decentralized applications (dapps).

Complementing the decentralized exchange is a decentralized identification system (DID), which will allow users to store and manage personal information on the network. This could make ICON a valuable platform for data-driven processes that require personal information.

Analyst’s Take

ICON struck an ambitious tone with its revised roadmap, and 2019 shaping up to be an impressive year from a developmental standpoint. The project’s depreciated token status makes ICON a low-risk, high-reward opportunity for investors searching for quality. That being said, the biggest barrier for ICON is translating technical progress into network adoption. While the company boasts more than 30 partnerships, it has barely made a dent in terms of dapp development.

Despite being a laggard on the dapp side, ICON’s existing partnerships should give investors plenty to be excited about. For starters, the project has developed ties with the South Korean government, including the Seoul Metropolitan Government and an insurance consortium backed by the Ministry of Science. Then there’s the partnership with Samsung, a company that is virtually synonymous with South Korea. With Samsung embracing crypto in its forthcoming S10 smartphone, the technology giant could serve as a gateway to ICX adoption in the future.

At current values, a $500 investment in ICON gets you a little more than 1,521 ICX. If the token manages to ever return to all-time highs, that $500 investment becomes $19,225. Since ICON is a former top-20 cryptocurrency, a $12-$13 valuation isn’t all that far-fetched. The company has already committed to a $5 million buyback plan, a move that could boost investor sentiment and drive greater foot traffic for many years to come.

ICX has outperformed the cryptocurrency market by a wide margin this year, a sign that investors are already catching on. It’s also important to note that ICON doesn’t seem to have run into the same post-ICO cash crunch as other projects. The company is far from insolvent and is still on track to meet its development goals this year.

On balance, ICON is a low-risk opportunity at its current price. It could become one of the year’s biggest bargains if network adoption grows and these various government partnerships yield tangible results.

Disclaimer: The author has no investment stake in ICON. The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi