Upcoming ICOs in December
Despite some cooling signs, no doubt ICOs (initial coin offerings) are the most prominent financial phenomenon of 2017, and perhaps one of the most exciting digital inventions since the creation of the World Wide Web back in the nineties. As November broke new records, adding almost $800 million (to date) on top of the cumulative $3 billion that was raised since the first ICO in 2014, no one will be surprised if December takes ICOs to new heights, despite being a holiday month.
Here are some of the upcoming ICOs to look at this December. To learn more about them, we used community-based ICO rating platform CryptoRated, which engages the community to rate and review each company using a standardized, transparent rating system. Some of the ICOs mentioned in this article were already reviewed, while others are expected to be reviewed according to the community’s demand.
Sirin Labs – a smartphone and a secure crypto-wallet combined on the same device
Sirin Labs, the developer of the ultra-secure $14,000 mobile phone Solarin, has pivoted from luxury to mass market devices, and is now conducting a crowdsale to support its latest development: a $999 smartphone with a built-in secured crypto-wallet inside, and a similar $799 PC.
It makes a lot of sense for blockchain users to have a crypto-based phone with a built-in wallet that allows them to safely transfer tokens from one device to another and pay for a selection of services built around the phone’s ecosystem. Before Sirin Labs, people used to buy separate crypto-wallets: hardware devices that can cost up to hundreds of dollars from brands such as Trezor, Keepkey, and Ledger.
Sirin Labs’ smartphone, called Finney, is the crypto-related reincarnation of Solarin: it has state-of-the-art hardware and software security features such as a secured OS called Shield OS, behavior-based intrusion prevention system, IP address hiding and MAC address randomization mechanisms, secured P2P resource sharing between devices, ASIC-resistant blockchain ledger, a hardware secure element that stores encryption keys and biometric templates, and a cold-storage crypto wallet protected by a physical switch.
The $999 phone will feature a 5.2-inch QHD display, 256GB of internal memory storage, 8GB RAM, a 16MP main camera and a 12MP wide-angle selfie camera. The $799 PC will include a 24-inch 2K display and biometric security sensors.
Sirin Labs wishes to build an ecosystem around its API and around its blockchain token, SRN. Sirin Labs encourages developers to create fee-less and decentralized micropayment applications and services for sharing resources such as connectivity, or data such as weather or traffic updates, using Finney’s secure P2P resource sharing.
Risks: Sirin Labs’ risks disclosure statement is very detailed. The document mentions its dependency on Bancor’s infrastructure and talent. Bancor is to date one of the biggest ICOs, raising $153 million for a decentralized liquidity network that allows users to hold any Ethereum token and convert it to any other token in the network.
The Takeaway: Finney can attract users that look for a secured, blockchain-enabled smartphone and a wallet at a price no higher than that of the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy devices.
Read CryptoRated Review of Sirin Labs
CryptoRated Rating: 4.2/5 – the highest rating according to CryptoRated’s community
Crowdsale ends: December 26th
Naga – When Tinder Meets Trading, and They Both Go Crypto
Naga wants to bring the simplicity and playfulness of Tinder into trading, with users swiping to mark their opinion about stocks or futures and investors on a mobile app. In its social network app, SwipeStox, users can choose if they like a trade made by a leading investor, and decide to invest in the same way. Popular investors will gain higher exposure and also can enjoy a $1-$2 bonus per copier.
Users can connect their existing trading account and their broker of choice to the system so that Naga is branded more as a technology enabler, rather than a trading company.
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. To attract gamers, it will also allow virtual trading goods from within gaming platforms.
Altogether, Naga wishes to build an ecosystem of traders and gamers, and encourage developers and crypto fans to join and add more applications to it. Naga earns money by referring traders to brokers, and promises smaller purchases fees to traders than the major banks to attract them to the platform.
Naga stands out as more than a white paper-only company. It is a VC-backed startup, supported by European bank Hauck & Aufhaeuser, and Chinese investment conglomerate Fosun, which went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and is now traded at €280 million.
Risks: 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 massive project and future projects 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.
Additionally, the company is focused on products with no real market connection between them, such as investment, gaming, and education. The company is still dependant on forex and futures, an industry that is gradually regulated by more and more countries in Europe, limiting their stretch.
The Takeaway: Younger investors would easily connect to the Tinder user experience. Also, the trading platform is the right place to attract finance enthusiasts and risk lovers into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Read CryptoRated Review of Naga
CryptoRated Rating: 3.5/5
Crowdsale ends: December 15th
Min Cap: $1,000,000
Max cap: $220,000,000
Rentberry – Using Crypto to be the Airbnb of Long Term Rental Market
Rentberry’s vision concerns reducing all frictions involved in apartment renting, using crypto. It harnesses the power of digital social contracts and its blockchain-based system to allow tenants screenings, peer to peer negotiations, rental agreements, e-signing contracts, rents payments and a secured deposit network that enables lending money.
One of the coolest features in Rentberry system is the transparent screening and bidding system: Landlords can pick the bidders with the highest offer and highest score on background checks. Both parties can access each other’s rental activity and data: credit reports, background checks, social media, bankruptcy records, and eviction history- a feature reminiscent of Airbnb’s profiling of users.
Rentberry’s coin, BERRY, will be used by tenants to pay rents or by landlords to promote their listings, and users will be able to fund other tenants’ rental security deposits as a type of loan.
If Rentbery’s vision is realized, it would be able to eliminate many unpleasant practices commonly related to renting such as sending or answering classified ads in Craiglist or Zoopla, face to face interviews, and high rental deposits.
Risk Factors: Their supply side is much bigger than the demand side: There are 224,000 properties listed, but only 400 rental applications processed;
There is also some unclarity regarding BERRY’s liquidity. It is not clear whether BERRY, the cryptocurrency behind Rentberry, can be converted to Ethereum token standard, ERC20. Landlords would also probably convert immediately to fiat, thus slowing down the promotion of the token economy.
In addition, there were some doubts raised in forums regarding the authenticity of the supply on the site and the nature of syndication with other companies. However, the company addressed these claims by sharing its unique property listing.
There’s also a potential for a problem with the lending activity. Not having tenants pay a deposit might remove some of the incentives for them to take good care of their rental.
The Takeaway: If the company turn its mission into a fully functioning reality, it could harness the power of digital contracts to increase trust between landlords and tenants and reduce all frictions involved in how the process is done today.
Read CryptoRated Review of Rentberry
CryptoRated Rating: 3.1/5
Crowdsale ends: February 28th
Discount: 33% tapering to 13%
Min Cap: N/A
Max cap: 500,000 ETH
Lendoit – Ethereum based P2P Lending, with no Token-based Collateral
Lendoit (pronounced ‘Lend do it’) brings P2P lending into a Ethereum based platform. It has two major benefits over other blockchain P2P lending platforms: loans can be given in any of the Ethereum based currencies (ERC20) and a collateral which is not based on tokens. Instead of collateral, Lendoit proposes a compensation fund and a market for debts. In order to evaluate risk, Lendoit uses a verification and scoring system operated by third parties.
Risk Factors: P2P lending is experiencing some challenges in recent years, with companies such as Lending Club and Prospera in troubled waters. In contrast, the P2P market for small and medium businesses is experiencing a renaissance. In addition, Lendoit is a latecomer in the P2P lending ICOs landscape, with incumbents such as Salt, Inspeer, and Ripio, which closed a $37 million ICO earlier this month.
Disclosure of possible risks in the whitepaper is minimal, almost non-existent, except from a warning about the high risk, volatility and illiquidity of tokens. Purchasing a token related to loans can be very different from traditional P2P loan, in the fact that token price is affected by multiple factors, not just the lender’s ability to pay back. A loan payback has always a time frame, but a token can be acquired or sold immediately.
The Takeaway: Lendoit is looking to bring the flexibility and liquidity of blockchain into the P2P lending world, with the safety of the traditional finance world.
Crowdsale ends: 13th January
Max cap: $4,500,000