Is Trilliant offering a new form of ICO?

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In a move to serve the growing consumer demand for cryptocurrency tokens, tech business Trilliant is launching 500 ‘next generation’ ATMs in Europe, which should be fully operational by the beginning of 2019. Trilliant is a Swiss-based company that started out as Crypto Capital AG, but now focuses on ATM operations, having moved away from being an investment platform.

Currently ATMs don’t have the facility to purchase cryptocurrencies using fiat currencies, but the new ATMs rectify that situation. Surely, this represents a leap forward for cryptocurrency, especially with regard to mainstream adoption.

What Trilliant is offering is a way to promote stability in the marketplace. Its goal is to have at least 500 ATMs operational by 2019 — a goal that doesn’t seem overly ambitious considering that the next generation ATMs offer more value to cryptocurrency investors than the 2,700 cryptocurrency ATMs currently in-place across the globe.

Founder and CEO, Sebastian Korbach said: “In the long run, we want our machines visible on every corner, creating greater awareness for cryptocurrencies in general.”

It is also offering investors the opportunity to purchase Fractional Ownership Units. These units cost upwards of $100 and will be sold on the Trilliant website. Essentially it means that investors will be able to purchase partial ownership of Trilliant’s operating cryptocurrency ATMs.

Is this a new type of ICO?

This is different to an ICO, the fundraising platform that is more typical for blockchain and crypto projects. A Fractional Ownership Unit is similar to a profit sharing agreement, which means investors stand to benefit from Trilliant’s profits. However, it is still holding a token sale and has a whitepaper — so isn’t it an ICO in another disguise?

This raises some interesting questions about the ICO landscape in the future. Is the basic model that emerged in 2017 simply that — a basic model? Will we see the ICO develop different formats, such as this Fractional Ownership concept. Fractional Ownership is by no means a new thing and it isn’t just connected to the cryptocurrency ecosystem — you can have fractional ownership of vineyards, racehorses and supercars. What other formats are likely to emerge and how will this test the strength of the regulatory frameworks for crypto ecosystems and token sales?

We have only seen the tip of the iceberg with ICOs — there is undoubtedly much more to come in terms of this fundraising tool.

Is crypto’s 2018 a total washout?

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So far, 2018 hasn’t been the best year for cryptocurrencies. The bearish sentiment that followed the euphoria at the end of 2017 seems to be running the show, but is this the end of cryptocurrencies, or merely the downside that comes before a resounding turnaround in fortunes?

Yoni Assia, CEO of eToro believs that selling your ryptocurrency now is like selling Apple stock back in 2001, when it was falling in value. It is easy to see why many people are selling off their holdings, especially if you didn’t get into crypto s a long-term investment, but if you do take a longer view of the market, then perhaps there is a good reason to hold on to those crypto assets for a while longer and see how it all plays out.

If we look at Bitcoin’s past trends, it doesn’t seem over ambitious to claim that there is likely to be an upswing towards the end of 2018. If that happens and you sell now, then you stand to lose money.

ICOs are the real ‘bubble’

Assia told Business Insider that one thing to look at in the crypto market is the number of startups issuing tokens in ICOs. He believes that “95% of them will end up as nothing, because that’s startup funding.” What he means is that the majority of tokens will simply fade away, leaving the strongest ones to lead the crypto market. These are probably going to be Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and a few more.

Dominik Schiener, creator of IOTA said earlier this year that he expects less than 10 of the 1,400 crypto projects that have started in the last year to survive. That’s quite a radical figure.

Neither Assia or Schiener are sceptical about crypto; they are both supporters of the sector, but what they are saying is that as with the dotcom era, many projects will get funding but not survive. However, those that do are likely to transform the world and make their investors big money.

What Assia is really saying is that it is ICOs that are ‘the bubble’, not cryptocurrencies or the blockchain. Many of them simply aren’t viable. But their demise will pave the way for true cryptocurrencies to succeed in the future.

We may not be in quite the same situation as Apple stock holders were in 2001, but it has a ring of familiarity. Still, if we remember that correctly, after that massive sell-off, Apple’s stock went on to gain a staggering amount of value, and who is to say that crypto won’t do exactly the same. It might look like a washout at the moment, but give crypto time and you might be glad you held on to your assets.

The East-West ICO Divide

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The saying “East is East and West is West” curiously even applies to ICOs. You might have assumed that there was a universal view of ICOs, but it isn’t so: in the West, enthusiastic support for an ICO is primarily based on the ‘ideas’ that the ICO platform brings to the blockchain party, while in the East they are much more concerned about the ICO’s ability to generate a return on investment.

The divide exists in other ways as well. For example, the Asian market took off on its own, informed by the ecosystems around bitcoin and ethereum but also distinct from them. Zhuling Chen, co-founder of Aelf, a cloud computing startup based in Singapore, attributes this to the fact that, “At the very beginning, the information coming from Asia to the US was very limited. We didn’t know what’s really going on.”

 

The differences between the Asian and U.S. ICO markets became more clearly visible during Blockchain Week in NYC. Brady Dale, writing for Coindesk says:

“If one common theme ran through our conversations about Asia, it was this: retail and institutional investors all want returns to realize much more quickly than investors do in the U.S., which may help explain why it has always had a vigorous ecosystem of exchanges.”

Another Asian investor explained it more succinctly: “Asians love to gamble.” Jason Fang told Coindesk:

“They don’t want long lockup periods like so many Western projects expect. Instead, they want to see tokens get released, listed and realize some of the gains that come from retail investors and market makers buying into a new coin.”

Another view, according to Ricky Li of Altonomy, one of Asia’s largest crypto funds, also pointed out that Asians want in and out quickly, and that they have a tendency “not to diversify their portfolios over time.” He also said:

“Chinese companies and their neighbors will raise funds in ether and largely maintain those positions, sometimes failing to lock in gain or riding volatility through their whole portfolio.”

A lack of software documentation in Asian languages has been another divider between East and West. But overall, it seems that the demands of ICO investors are quite different, and ICOs trying to please a global audience will need to take this into account when building their roadmap and strategy.

 

 

 

 

What decision will the SEC make about Ethereum?

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This week, Monday May 7th to be exact, the Security & Exchange Commission (SEC) started a series of meetings to decide whether Ethereum 9ETH) is a security. At the moment we’re not sure how the decision will turn out, but let’s think about what the SEC will be considering and how it might affect ETH owners.

If you’re an ETH owner, you might expect to see two extremes as a result of any decision: an unexpected high, or a devastating low. For example, if ETH is considered a security by the U.S. government, then there may be a negative, short-term price reaction. However, because Ethereum’s underlying technology, is borderless and does not depend on the opinion one country’s regulatory committee, its long-term prospects should be unaffected. And, if it is decided that it is not a security, then it is very likely that the long-term prospects of the technology and its financial standing within the community will prosper.

If no decision is made about the status of ETH we might see a major upsurge in the market, especially as Buterin and his developers have been talking up new solutions for scaling in recent days and while this might be a short-term uplift in the market, there is also reason to think it might become a long-term trend.

What is Ethereum saying?

For it’s part, ETH founders are sure that it is not a security. Joseph Lubin, one of the co-founders said prior to the SEC meeting this week: “We spent a tremendous amount of time with lawyers in the US and in other countries, and are extremely comfortable that it is not a security; it never was a security… many regulators that matter understand what Ethereum is.”

Will the SEC agree with Lubin’s assessment, and with the way other regulators claim to see it – that I what we’re waiting to find out.