The Naga Group is a young but established fintech company and the parent company of SwipeStox, a social network app for trading in forex, CFDs, ETFs, futures, and cryptocurrencies, operating since June 2016. Naga is now venturing further into cryptocurrencies by developing an exchange for trading in virtual goods as well as financial assets, and launching its own cryptocurrency. With this ICO, Naga hopes to raise the funds to develop their exchange and ecosystem, as well as a stock trading academy with nationally certified programs. The targeted audience includes gamers, the underbanked, and anyone with a brokerage account.
SwipeStox is an existing Tinder-like trading platform, as the company calls it, where you see a trader’s profile and their last trade, and swipe left or right to dismiss or copy the trade in real time. SwipeStox is intended to be a social trading platform where users can share their knowledge and expertise, and get instantly rewarded when someone copies a trade they made. Users can also follow or subscribe to other users’ activity streams, and comment on activities. The platform also provides an artificial intelligence advisor which tracks trades and can perform trades on behalf of users, allowing them to take advantage of potentially profitable trades with interactive risk calculations.
With Switex, Naga plans to disrupt the gaming industry by building a platform where developers and gamers can buy and sell in-game items or currencies with NGC tokens to replace the black and grey markets that exist today. From their whitepaper it can be concluded that Switex is in alpha phase and that partnerships have been formed with several leading industry players, among them a DAX30 company. Blockchain technology is used to prevent misuse and fraud when trading virtual items on the platform allowing users to transfer items in and out of games. Switex will use its own private artificial currency – Switex Coins – to enable a legal and safe way to trade in virtual goods.
Then there is also the Naga Academy. Naga has partnered with a leading Cypriot educational institution with over 20 years of experience delivering recognized online UK bachelor and master degrees in business management, accounting, law, and more, as well as offline seminars and workshops. The Naga Academy itself will not offer bachelor and master degrees; the degrees that can be earned within the academy are described as ranging from micro degree to a PhD, but this is not clarified further. It is stated that these fall within EU regulations and thus are internationally acknowledged. The academy is scheduled for launch in Q1 of 2018.
Naga’s ERC-20 NGC token and the the Naga Wallet will unite Naga’s major platforms and enable an ecosystem for the social trading of cryptocurrencies, virtual goods, and stocks. Transfer of tokens will be enabled through the Naga Wallet from where users will be able to deposit into Switex, SwipeStox, and the Naga Academy, for all investments, purchases and sales.
Naga’s exchange is, as they call it, a decentralized third party exchange, but a better word would be borderless – they don’t expand on how decentralized it currently is, or will become beyond the token.
It is stated that on SwipeStox, the commission or fee on each trade will be half of what it would be if conducting the trade via a USD account, and that there will be cashback bonuses, of about 0.01% to 0.05% per trade (expected). On the Switex platform, NGC users will be entitled to slightly smaller purchase fees (9% as opposed to 10%), and a 5% bonus (i.e. a better exchange rate) when buying Switex coins with NGC rather than fiat. NGC holders on SwipeStox will benefit from higher ranking and greater visibility, and access to educational material, closed groups, and promotional activities not open to fiat users. Switex will offer token holders access to premium content and the newest games or in-game-items. Furthermore, token holders will benefit from discounted and/or free access to Academy courses and online degrees. Naga also plans to release a debit card to enable users to spend their NGC in stores worldwide but no partnerships with retailers have been confirmed.
The whitepaper also mentions that every SwipeStox transaction and every exchange of NGCs for Switex Coins will contribute to the Naga Coin Loyalty Fund (presumably from the fees, but this is not clear), and that these accumulated funds will then be distributed to ‘qualified’ NGC token holders, based on the number of tokens they hold. The company also plans to operate a Donation Fund via which charity projects (assessed by a dedicated team and including NGOs only) will be proposed and voted on quarterly.
The Naga Group is considered to be one of the hottest fintech companies in Germany. Founded in 2015, the company raised over $15m in venture capital from investors including the European bank Hauck & Aufhaeuser and the Chinese investment conglomerate FOSUN, and has already IPO’d and is listed on the German stock exchange with a market cap of about €275M (trading at ~400% above issue price). The Group states that it generates millions of EUR in yearly revenues, billions of EUR in trading volume, and several hundred thousand transactions per month. The Group mentions Fosun as its largest shareholder and primary connection to Asian based brokerage companies, with developments to be publicly announced in 2018.
While the company employs more than 120 people, the team associated with the project is comprised of 25, and includes only 3 developers – whether that is sufficient for the large project and future visions they want to implement is questionable. The team’s blockchain expert has a masters degree in science at a russian academy, but more specific information is not available, and it is not clear what direct experience he has with blockchain technology and coding. The team does seem to have the experience necessary to making the project a success, with experienced and talented business developers, strategists and marketers, plenty of advisors to guide them one of them being Roger Ver, and plenty of partnerships – though most of these are undisclosed at this point.
The company promises to update participants of the crowdsale annually on how the funds are used and how much is held by them in both crypto and fiat currencies. They also expand on risk factors associated with participating in the ICO such as the limitations of the smart contract, emphasizing the experimental nature of these contracts. Other risks explained are in regard to regulatory scrutiny and the possibility of token holders needing to pay taxes over their holdings. The company may find itself in a position where it needs to share sensitive information with governments and other third party regulators. If the ICO does not meet its targets there is no refund option – the team will adjust the roadmap according to the raised funds though no specifications on this can be found within the whitepaper. It is recommended to read their disclaimer to be aware of all the terms and conditions that are associated with purchasing NGC.
With SwipeStox already launched in September 2017 the next piece of the infrastructure is the Naga Wallet which is scheduled for release on the 1st of April and on the first of May the NGC token will be integrated as the base currency of SwipeStox. Switex is not launched yet and when it will be launched isn’t made clear on the roadmap. For what it is worth you can subscribe to the Switex Newsletter to stay informed.