Sometimes I think the main purpose of this blog is to deter people from calling me and asking for an ICO whitepaper. In this blog, I’ll cover ideas that I’ve heard repeatedly, so if you are considering an ICO in one of these spaces, well, I would say stop, unless you have a super interesting or original angle.
In fact, I want people to order ICO Whitepapers from our company, but only if I think we’re doing them a service. If someone comes to me with an idea I think will fail, or a copycat of something that’s been done dozens of time, or without the proper budget and team, I try to discourage them from ordering a whitepaper or attempting an ICO. I am privileged to speak to dozens of entrepreneurs every week, and I want them all to succeed, so I tell them the truth. I see over 100 different companies a week, most of them before anyone has heard of them, so I have both a broad scope and a year’s advance preview on what’s coming up.
So, with no further ado, if you are considering an ICO in one of these fields, you are in the Cliché parade, and unless you have some secret sauce, you’d be advised not to go forward (Or to join one of them rather than starting from scratch).
CryptoExchange: Today, we have 129 active exchanges, and our company has written or is in the process of writing ICO whitepapers for another 3. One of those is actually a company that has tremendous experience in scaling large financial transaction systems and working with the regulatory authorities. If you want to make a CryptoExchange, it’s easy enough to say that the existing ones have problems, but very hard to say “If I start right now making one, within x months, it will be better than those ones will be in x months.”
Bringing Cryptocurrency to the Masses I: Education. If you are in this category, you believe that the reason that “the masses” don’t use cryptocurrency is because they don’t have the education. For me, this represents three fundamental blind spots. First of all, there are no “masses”. Each group of people in each country is different. If you, personally, or one of your founders, is not one of those people you are serving, you probably don’t even know what their real reason is for not adopting cryptocurrency. Secondly, it misses the idea of what a currency is. Believe me, the second “the masses” need to use cryptocurrency to pay for things, because that’s the primary currency, they will do that. The idea that “the masses” even should be using cryptocurrency is kind of funny. Thirdly, people really aren’t that stupid. People will use the financial services that are best for them. The people with the least money find out the fastest which way to transfer money is the cheapest. They have mobile phones, they use mobile and digital currency, and they don’t need education. As soon as the solution works for them, everyone in the village will use it.
Bringing CryptoCurrency to the Masses II: Another coin! For some reason you believe that what will make cryptocurrency appealing is another coin. In most cases, you’ll explain to me that this currency is easier to use or that it’s taking out the uncertainty of using cryptocurrency. It boggles the mind why people think we need yet another currency.
Solving the volatility of cryptocurrency: If you are solving the volatility problem, what you are probably creating is some kind of fund. Either it’s backed by “real world assets” or it is backed by other cryptocurrencies, or backed by a basket of combined crypto and fiat. There’s nothing wrong with creating an asset fund if that’s your area of expertise, but that’s all you are doing. The problem of volatility in the cryptocurrency market will resolve itself in a few years, when cryptocurrency becomes more widespread. If cryptocurrency becomes widely adopted, it will behave like any other currency. You don’t have to do anything for that to happen.
Africoin: As if it weren’t bad enough that everyone who wants to do this has the same name for the coin, most of the people who want to this, for some reason, ignore the fact that currently, Africa has dozens, if not hundreds of forms of currency. Most of the people who come to me with this idea are originally African, living in a western country. They truly understand and feel for the people they want to serve. Yet, unless you have a very specific angle on this, you are late to market, and honestly, there is no reason they would use your coin instead of any other cryptocurrency today.
Labor exchange: At least once a week, someone comes to me wanting an ICO whitepaper for a competitor to Upwork, Fiverr, etc. Sometimes, it’s focused on a particular industry, like, we will do a labor exchange for social media marketers or whatever. Sometimes people have funny ideas about the current problems, like that dispute resolution is centralized. Sometimes they think they can dramatically reduce fees. Whatever it is, I promise you, someone else is doing it. I also promise you that any exchange is a marketing game. Blockchain can only incrementally improve the disintermediation aspects and the financials behind these platforms. In fact, the day that Upwork decides to take cryptocurrency as payment is the day your platform has no competitive advantage. In any case, whatever you are doing in this space, it doesn’t qualify as an idea, because too many people say they are doing it.
Car sharing: A better Uber! I don’t even want to talk about this, but let’s just start with what people tell me. The advantage is the drivers will get paid more instead of having a cut taken out. In addition to the fact that several hundred people have this idea, cars are going to drive themselves in 10 years. If you told me you were creating the infrastructure for self-driving cars and disintermediated ordering of cars, because nobody is going to own one in the future, I’d be cool with that. But most of the people, in addition to not having an original idea, don’t have any vision of the future. I’ve never taken on one of these projects.
How about you? What ICOs are so unoriginal you want to unfollow the founders on Twitter? Let us know… and all the best.