Sharpay launched today. What is Sharpay? It’s an ICO built around sharing on the internet.
Sharpay is looking to make sharing even easier. Sharing things one by one to different social media sites will be a thing of the past with Sharpay: now, there will be one button to do it all. With one click, whatever you like from the internet can be shared to all followers across all social media sites.
The ability to multishare already exists. The main difference with Sharpay is that cryptocurrency becomes involved. Sharpay has been built on the Ethereum network. Users will get crypto rewards in return for sharing. Those with large followers, social influencers, can monetize on their popularity by earning Sharpay’s token SHRP.
The Sharpay button can be designed in any colour or shape and can be coded to your own design. Already, sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, and LinkedIn have been incorporated into the working version of the Sharpay share button.
Sharpay’s token sale runs from March 1 to May 31. The pre-sale, which ran from December 11, 2017, to February 11, 2018, sold all 80 million tokens that were available and their soft cap goal of US$3 million has already been achieved, which goes to show that people are interested in the concept and this particular ICO. Sharpay currently has a 4.8 rating from ICOBench. Its hard cap is 45,000 ETH.
Do you think Sharpay is necessary? Is it worth a share?
Telegram closed its pre-sale ICO at record-breaking numbers. The team sent a document to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in which they claim that they have generated $850 million, so far. The SAFT backed ICO was aimed at major venture capital firms and other cryptocurrency whales. For putting money in early, these investors will receive discounts on the platform’s GRAM tokens. The public token sale is set for March and the team anticipates it will raise another $600 million more. However, that number may grow after the immediate success of the Telegram pre-sale.
The messaging app was founded by Russian entrepreneurs Pavel and Nikolai Durov who banked on their social media company VKontakte. Telegram runs very similarly to WhatsApp but is said to be more secure. Its current business model currently makes no revenue, as Pavel Durov currently pays for all the app’s expenses via the $300 million made from their first social media company. The Telegram website reads:
“Pavel Durov, who shares our vision, supplied Telegram with a generous donation, so we have quite enough money for the time being. If Telegram runs out, we will introduce non-essential paid options to support the infrastructure and finance developer salaries. But making profits will never be an end-goal for Telegram.”
With a growing user base, currently over 180 million users, eventually the company was going to run out of funds and this is how the company chose to raise its funds. The Form D they filed with the SEC indicates that Telegram intends to use its proceeds for the development of the TON blockchain, the maintenance and continued development of the Telegram messaging app and the other purposes described within the offering material given to its investors.
Despite all the excitement around the mobile messaging application and the insane amount of money raised in its pre-ICO, some individuals remain unimpressed. There have been many critics that have questioned the app’s security in the past. The app doesn’t encrypt its messages by default and many just assume it does, but it must be turned on as an additional setting.
There is also harsh scrutiny of its official whitepaper. Charles Noyes, a Protocol Analyst at Pantera Capital, made a statement about the Whitepaper saying:
“The entire thing should have a disclaimer attached: ‘all of the technical things we said this will do are completely unproven and have not been subjected to outside scrutiny. They’re promising something that will somehow be radically better than everything else out there, with no real explanation of how that will happen or outside scrutiny of those claims.”
In addition to the pushback on the app’s security and promises, there have been various scams surrounding the ICO. Many site claim to give people access to backdoor deals in the upcoming public Telegram ICO and have ripped numerous people off. Honestly, there is no way to prevent this and scammers will take any opportunity they can to rip off uneducated investors, especially in the “wild west” of the crypto world.
Telegram’s evaluation is currently in the billions and some people are unimpressed. Spencer Bogart, a partner at Blockchain Capital, said: “Their limited partners are calling them saying, ‘What are you doing? This is the biggest airball in venture history. It was an absurd valuation for something that’s effectively field stage.”
However, despite the criticism the company raised a pre-ICO that far surpassed figures of other actual ICOs. Hundreds of millions of users use the Telegram App on a daily basis and have strong loyalists. We will continue to see how this ICO rolls out the closer it gets to its public launch.
Swiss ICO guidelines: Switzerland’s financial regulators have issued new guidelines which would treat some locally sold ICO tokens as securities in support of the cryptocurrency market.
In its press release today, the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) acknowledged the sharp rise in the number of ICOs launching in Switzerland. Currently, four of the 10 biggest proposed initial coin offerings are based there, according to PwC. This has prompted the financial authority to set out new rules and clarify how they are to be regulated given “the dynamic market and the high level of demand.”
According to FINMA, the most relevant issues with ICOs right now are money laundering and securities laws. The guidelines released today will create transparency for market participants — including a clearly outlined token classification system — to minimize their risks with a reliable set of information.
FINMA said it would focus on the economic function and purpose of the tokens and whether they are already tradeable or transferable — these will be the primary factors in how they will be classified.
Mark Branson, FINMA’s CEO, provided the following comments in its official statement:
“Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and inquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system.”
It is widely known that Switzerland has been welcoming the fast-expanding crypto market with open arms, having launched a “Crypto Valley” in the Swiss city of Zug. In addition, its economics minister Johann Schneider-Ammann has said he wants the country to be known as the “crypto-nation.”
Today’s announcement further establishes Switzerland as an attractive location for ICOs. Last month, the Swiss government launched a review of the cryptocurrency industry, which could result in legislative changes designed to support this market.
There are a lot of ICOs out there. ICObench alone has 331 upcoming ICOs listed, 641 ongoing ICOs listed, and an additional 908 ICOs that have already ended. You don’t want to invest in just any ICO either. You want to invest in the best ICO. Even more important, however, is investing in a legitimate ICO.
I’m not here to tell you what’s the best ICO out there. But I can get you up to speed on some ICO red flags that will, hopefully, help you avoid getting scammed. As always, the most important thing is to do your own research. Use this list as your springboard and go from there.
The following red flags will be broken up into High, Medium, and Low Risk. A red flag listed under Low Risk, for example, may not necessarily mean that the ICO is a scam – but it is still good to know any shortcomings of any particular ICO, because they may alter your investment decision regardless of legitimacy.
No public profiles of team members – No one on the team has a public profile where you’d be able to see if their experience matches what they are doing in the ICO. Worse still, there is no team listed at all.
No public discussion allowed – Comments are turned off on all videos and posts. The community should be able to engage and ask questions. When comments are disabled, it seems like the ICO is trying to hide something.
Medium Risk Red Flags
LinkedIn profiles reveal little information – Too little information about the project or involvement in the project on team members’ LinkedIn profiles, or the profile was recently created, may mean that profile was made only for the ICO. This may mean nothing, but it is something to be aware of.
No hard cap – Neither the ICO website or whitepaper mentions anything about the hard cap.
Low Risk Red Flags
Team isn’t working on ICO full time – This doesn’t mean the ICO is sketchy, but it may mean that the project gets dropped due to lack of commitment or time constraints on the team
Unclear partnerships – Are there legitimate bodies supporting the ICO? Is anybody supporting the ICO?
Last month, the world was informed that the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange will roll out its very own initial coin offering (ICO). The ICO offering commenced on February 7 and will close three days from now. Two days after the ICO offering began, Reuters reported that the public should expect in the coming weeks to see a draft law surface from both the Gibraltar government and Gibraltar Financial Services Commission. Reportedly, the draft law will put forth the ICO regulations in the British overseas territory.
For those who don’t know, the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange is a subsidiary of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, which is an extremely crypto-friendly exchange. According to lawmakers, this is significant news as the draft law marks the first ever set of ICO regulations. The draft law that is thought to surface in the next couple of weeks will help to regulate the sale, promotion, and distribution of digital tokens on the British overseas territory.
An initial coin offering, for those who don’t know, is a fundraising tool that trades future crypto coins in the interest of obtaining cryptocurrencies that have immediate and liquid value. There are a number of ICOs scheduled for 2018. For Gibraltar, this new draft law will require all ICO offerings to provide the public with “adequate, accurate and balanced information” to anyone looking to purchase tokens.
Reuters reported that Gibraltar has decided to roll out ICO regulations primarily because the world has grown increasingly concerned over the rapid growth of the cryptocurrency sector as of late. Regulations seem to be a popular topic right now. In fact, just recently, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States have all called for more discussion on cryptocurrency regulation.
If you are someone that is interested in the cryptocurrency market, I highly recommend keeping a close eye out for the draft law. There is no doubt in my mind that it is going to change the way that the market and sector operates.
In 2017, ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) blew up in the cryptocurrency market and raised a total of $5.6 billion dollars. Startups discovered a new way to fundraise and receive capital faster, by holding these coin offerings. Instead of going through the traditional VC route which pinholes their company early to a specific valuation, they decided to just go straight to individual investors to raise capital. They offer digital tokens in exchange for funding for their startup.
Traditionally, Venture Capital firms hire extensive auditors to research startup companies before actually investing in them. Due diligence is done in checking things such as credentials of the founding team, KPIs (key performance indicators), the market/competition, and profit or runway on the project before the funding round. However, the biggest issue that has surfaced from these ICOs, is the fundraising is completely unregulated and by going directly to individual investors, they completely skip the extensive audit.
Many investors get sold on the idea but aren’t educated enough or know how to do the proper research. There have been many instances this past year of almost every major country attempted to ban these fundraising tactics due to fraudulent activities. Back in November, the founder of an ICO, Confido, ran away with $375,000. Just recently, there have been two projects uncovered as Ponzi schemes such as OneCoin and BitConnect.
Not all ICOs are fraudulent, but with most unregulated, except the ones backed by SAFTs in the U.S, it poses a danger.
Just recently I wrote about MedicalChain, a U.K based medical record blockchain startup that completed their $24 million capped ICO. When doing research for my article, I ran across another similar ICO called ‘MediChain’ and decided to do some research of my own. I’ll walk you through how I analyze and research a new Initial Coin Offering.
The first thing I look for is the information on the project given or video displayed on their website. Most ICOs have video(s) that display their vision and goals for the project. I won’t go into further detail about my opinion on this video but I will just link MedicalChain and Medichain’s videos below, and you can make the comparison for yourself.
The credentials of the founding team on a project are crucial to a successful business. You wouldn’t hire a plumber to solve legal issues you may have. With that said, these new age entrepreneurs wear many different hats and possess various skill sets, but backgrounds in a particular space are important. The founding team on a project is the backbone and when doing due diligence should be your top priority. Having advisors in a relative field or with business backgrounds is a bonus but I’d focus on the core team.
Most working individuals have LinkedIn accounts which display their current employer, skill set, work history, and education. I dug a little deeper into each member of MediChain and discovered some things that drew some major red flags for me.
First, mostly every person in the founding team via their LinkedIn lived in various cities around the world. Most of which didn’t even have MediChain as their employers. For any startup, it may make sense that individuals working on a project may not yet be able to be on it full time but the fact that they were all in random places around the world surprised me. If the core team is not located in one specific area, how much can be done effectively and why should I give my money to this? Lastly, the only actual medical doctor within the group is an advisor. The founder refers to himself as “Dr” but has his PhD in Philosophy and possesses a Masters in Science.
Lastly, I tried to research a little more into what the team has actually done that would require them to need funding. On the company’s website, their ‘roadmap’ only shows their Q1 goals but doesn’t show anything that they’ve done before now, which seemed a bit odd to me. For companies to raise capital, they usually have to show something to investors in order to gain funds. I decided to do some research on the Reddit Forums and the companies Twitter to dig a little deeper. On Reddit, the only information I could find was about the upcoming ICO, and it only dates back 3 weeks.
When I researched their Twitter, I also found something interesting.
There was a seven-month lag between postings on their twitter, and the above post shows the first mention of MediChain. The articles before this MediChain ICO announcement were just medical data and information in healthcare. It remains unknown and unclear what the team had done before they planned to raise money.
Do Your Research
Ultimately, it all comes down to the individual if they end up losing money in an ICO. Research and due diligence are essential in this unregulated space. I hope walking you through how I researched and evaluated an ICO is useful to you.
If you have any comments or would like to tell us how you do your research, leave it in the comment box below.
AdHive vs. Sapien. Both are social-construct ICOs, each with their own focus.
AdHive’s ICO is set to begin on February 21, 2018.
AdHive is going to be the first AI-controlled influencer marketing platform that uses blockchain. AdHive is about native advertising, advertising that blends seamlessly with the content being created naturally. Specifically, AdHive focuses on video/digital advertising. Digital advertising has now surpassed television advertising and video advertising accounts for approximately half of all digital advertising.
Setting up advertising campaigns or one-offs with various platforms, websites, blogs, etc., takes a long time and requires a lot of negotiating. AdHive automates this process and increases its efficiency, allowing advertisers to get content placed on an unlimited number of channels. AdHive’s AI will directly contact all social influencers that produce relevant content for the ad campaign. The time it would take to place an ad through AdHive with 50 different social influencers is the same amount of time it would take to contact just one influencer.
All transactions on AdHive are processed with AdHive’s token, ADH. This includes all of AdHive’s revenues. The number of ADH tokens that were initially created for the ICO is all that will be created ever. Any unsold ADH tokens will be destroyed after the token sale ends.
How does AdHive work? It’s simple. First, you, as the advertiser, launch your campaign through AdHive and allocate the amount you want to spend. Then, AdHive’s AI finds the appropriate influencers; these influencers are contacted and can choose to accept the campaign. When an influencer accepts, the AI will then be able to track when the influencer publishes the native ad, which is often via their YouTube channel or Instagram page. The AI has been designed to recognize when the ad message appears in the video and the payment to the influencer can then be processed. This is done through an Ethereum smart contract, the influencer receiving ADH tokens as payment.
AdHive is looking to disrupt television advertising by developing an active community of vloggers and other digital social influencers. These types of influencers often have a much larger following than television channels. The main goal of AdHive is to facilitate an easy way for advertisers to launch huge international ad campaigns that are more effective and more instant.
Vloggers, bloggers, and other social media influencers will be able to register for AdHive to participate in the ad campaigns and be given a chance to create monetized media content.
Sapien is currently in its pre-ICO stage, which is set to be completed on February 15, 2018. Its ICO is planned for March 3, 2018.
Sapien wants you to “take back control over your social experience.” What does this mean? It means that Sapien is going to be a democratized social news platform that will mitigate troll comments and work to reduce fake news. Ultimately, Sapien is about producing quality content that people want to read and engage with.
Sapien wants to reward content creators and curators with its token SPN. The platform is looking to promote quality contributions and create an autonomous social network by giving users a voice. Users can tip each other SPN for making good, useful posts or comments and the creators of those posts/comments will also be able to receive SPN payments from Sapien.
At its core, Sapien is about democracy, privacy, free speech, and customizability. Sapien believes that users should have a say in how content is distributed and be able to tailor their social experience to their tastes.
Some of Sapien’s features include switching between public and private modes, subscribing to channels you find interesting, contributing to the growing community, and fully engaging in the experience by sharing, commenting, allocating SPN to others, and receiving SPN for your valued contributions. Users will be able to build up their reputations on the platform and that reputation can then be applied to areas outside of Sapien.
SPN is an ERC20-compliant cryptocurrency and has been built to be a flexible token on the Ethereum blockchain. The value of SPN is taken from its ability to collaboratively distinguish high-quality content.
AdHive vs. Sapien
When it comes down to it, AdHive and Sapien are very different concepts within the social realm. AdHive is about the advertising that generates the conversation, while Sapien is about facilitating those conversations. Interestingly, these two platforms may be able to work in tandem together some day in the future. The influencers that AdHive is targeting may be able to build up their reputations via Sapien and gain an even greater following, thus making them better candidates for AdHive’s services.
Currently, it should be noted that Sapien has a better rating on ICOBench (4.7 for Sapien and 4.4 for AdHive). However, this may be influenced by the fact that AdHive is further along in its ICO than Sapien at the moment; once Sapien begins its regular token sale, the scores may even out. AdHive has significant ratings across the ICO community, being rated ‘Stable+’ by ICORating and 8.2/10 by ICOMarks, for example.
Sapien looks like it will be more applicable to the masses, whereas AdHive will be useful to businesses and those with large followings.
Which ICO do you like better, AdHive or Sapien? Let us know in the comments below.
Playboy Enterprises is interested in the cryptocurrency sector. Did you ever think you would see that sort of headline? I didn’t, but I can definitely see the value of a company such as Playboy offering cryptocurrency services.
Playboy Enterprises and Cryptocurrency: A New Found Friendship
Founded in 1953 by Hugh Hefner, Playboy Enterprises published a post on its website yesterday, which states the media company will be developing an online wallet for its customers. What will the online wallet entail? Well, according to Playboy, the online wallet will allow for its customers to use cryptocurrency to purchase the company’s online media.
Even though some people might be taken back to see the company investing time and resources into the cryptocurrency industry, the Beverly Hills, California-based company isn’t actually the first adult entertainment company to move into the crypto sector. In fact, in January, Bunny Ranch, which is a famous brothel, disclosed that it was thinking about adding Bitcoin (BTC). Bunny Ranch’s interest in the virtual currency stemmed from the fact that there are “some of the richest men in the world” coming to the Bunny Ranch brothel, and owner Dennis Hof has heard a number of requests from these men for the institution to start accepting Bitcoin.
According to the Chief Commercial Officer of Playboy Enterprises, Reena Patel, the company believes cryptocurrency gives “the millions of people who enjoy our content” more choices in terms of payment, “and in the case of VIT, an opportunity to be rewarded for engaging with Playboy offerings.”
How’s the Cryptocurrency and Bitcoin Sector Doing?
Meanwhile, while more and more companies start investing time into incorporating virtual currencies into their business models, the sector itself is struggling to stay afloat. Specifically, Bitcoin has found itself in some deep water, dropping below the $8,000 mark earlier today.
Cryptocurrency mania has created a lot of excitement in the financial world; the alternative currency has accumulated more than $850 billion of total market capitalization at the peak of their popularly. The value of a single Bitcoin (BTC) reached almost $20,000 early this year only due to speculations and price manipulation activities – despite the coin actually having no intrinsic value and revenue stream. However, the crypto bubble will burst according to the sentiments of major financial players.
Optimism is fading for Bitcoin as many analysts and global leaders from traditional financial spheres rejected cryptocurrencies during the World Economic Forum. Warren Buffett, Goldman Sachs, and many other prominent names refuted investing in cryptocurrencies.
Why Are Major Market Players Dissuading Crypto Investing?
There are numerous inherent loopholes in cryptocurrencies. These so-called alternative currencies are mined through different techniques and sold to the general public; real cash assets don’t back them, and they have no fair value other than the cost of mining.
“Cryptocurrency ticks all of the boxes that we consider to be essential criteria of an asset bubble including – a fivefold surge in trading volumes over the last five years, lack of financial regulation and the launch of related financial instruments such as bitcoin futures,’ the Allianz report said.
The global markets have also rejected considering cryptocurrencies an alternative to traditional currencies and as a medium of exchange. This is due to huge price volatility and a lack of store value.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are fumbling at a robust pace over the last two weeks signaling that the bubble will burst. BTC price currently stands around the $8000 level. The increasing crackdown on cryptocurrencies and bans from Facebook (NYSE: FB) and Google (NYSE: GOOG) has contributed to the selloff.
Stefan Hofrichter, who has $650 billion in assets under management says, “As a currency and asset class, bitcoin has potentially fatal flaws – which is why we believe it’s a matter of when, not if, the bitcoin bubble will pop.”
Google Ban Cryptocurrency Advertising – you heard right. There is a possibility that cryptocurrency ads may be banned from the world’s no.1 search engine.
According to a recent update in Google’s financial services policy, Google will ban all cryptocurrency related advertising across its entire network of ad products, including third-party sites. The policy specifically lists initial coin offerings (ICOs), crypto wallets, exchanges, and services which offer trading advice.
Google states that it took down 3.2 billion ads which violated its policies in 2017, up from the 1.7 billion bad ads removed in 2016.
The ban follows a similar ban in January by Facebook, who cited “deceptive promotional practices” as the reasoning behind the decision.
“We don’t have a crystal ball to know where the future is going to go with cryptocurrencies, but we’ve seen enough consumer harm or potential for consumer harm,” stated Scott Spencer, Google’s director of sustainable ads.
Chris Keshian, CEO of $APEX Token Fund, views this as a positive development for cryptocurrencies, stating:
“We see Google’s actions as progressive – as long as they continue to keep an open mind and don’t tar all cryptocurrencies with the same brush. Crackdowns on cryptocurrencies are the best way to weed out irresponsible and fraudulent ICOs and place greater focus on cases against unregistered persons acting as agents, brokers, and investment professionals in the cryptocurrency space. This is a key step in cryptocurrencies becoming a mature and stable asset class.”
As of mid-day trading on Wednesday, Bitcoin has shown little or no reaction to the cryptocurrency ban, hovering around $9,000.