Ink Protocol ICO Review and XNK Token Analysis
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Ink Protocol ICO Overview
Online marketplaces are now an everyday facet of the digital world. Hundreds of millions of people use sites like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist to buy and sell goods. One of the major issues when conducting online transactions is trust between buyers and sellers. Online marketplaces benefit from systems based on reputation to help buyers and sellers decide whom to transact with. But on sites which employ reputation-based ratings, users do not have ownership over their own reputation. What if reputation was owned instead by the users themselves and could be seamlessly transferred across marketplaces? The Ink Protocol ICO proposes a way to do just this.
Ink Protocol ICO Value Proposition
Ink Protocol is a decentralized payment and reputation system based on Ethereum. It is designed specifically for P2P marketplace transactions where trust mechanisms between the buyer and seller are limited or non-existent. The protocol will first be deployed on an existing marketplace called Listia and can be integrated independently into any existing external marketplace via the Ink Pay App. Sellers can bring their reputation with them onto multiple marketplaces at the same time or move from one to another without having to rebuild their reputation from the beginning. Buyers can also view any seller’s reputation and pay using escrow contracts with optional third party mediation.
The underlying token of Ink Protocol, XNK, is built on the Ethereum blockchain and is ERC20 compatible. The function of the XNK token is carrying out transactions on the Ink Protocol platform. For sellers, accepting XNK builds up their public reputation, which allows them to start selling quickly on new marketplaces without needing to build reputation from scratch. Buyers who use XNK can view any seller’s reputation across multiple marketplaces and pay using either automated or human-mediated escrow contracts, thereby mitigating risk. To utilize the protocol on any P2P marketplace site, sellers simply include their Ethereum address linked to Ink Protocol, which allows buyers to view the online reputation via the Ink Pay application. When a transaction is made, XNK gets sent directly to the ETH address as payment. Users also have the option of converting their payment to and from XNK using the Ink Pay app if they wish to send and receive payment in the form of another digital currency or traditional currency. In addition, escrow and third-party dispute resolution mechanisms are built into the protocol. Mediators can be in the form of smart contracts that, for example, check for shipping status to automatically resolve the dispute. Below is a diagram of the token ecosystem:
Ink Protocol ICO Team
Gee Chaung is the CEO and Cofounder of both Listia and Ink Protocol. He founded Listia in 2009 and has since then been running the business for nearly a decade. Prior to his success with Listia, Gee founded several other online businesses and also worked as a Senior Software Developer. He holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from Cornell University.
James Fong is President and Cofounder of Listia and Ink Protocol. He has 5 years experience in computer engineering prior to founding Listia. He holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University.
Ngan Pham has been CTO at Listia for the past 6 years and is carrying over his responsibilities to Ink Protocol. Ngan has been in the software development world for 13 years, having spent most of his career prior to Listia as a software engineer. He holds a BS in Computer Science from UC Davis.
Ink Protocol ICO Strengths and Opportunities
The team behind Ink Protocol have been running their own site, Listia, since 2009. Listia is a P2P marketplace for buying and selling used goods and has over 10 million registered users. Users of the site already utilize an offchain digital currency, called Listia Credits, for transactions. Upon launching XNK token, all Listia users will begin transacting with the new currency, giving the token an immediate market for use and transactions. As the Listia marketplace is already generating revenue, this should provide a genuine source of value to the XNK token from the get go.
A strong community forms the basis of any successful project. The community support behind the Ink Protocol ICO is very strong. With a large group of community members behind the project, the Ink Protocol ICO certainly has a springboard from which to gain momentum and support to facilitate wider adoption of the platform.
Ink Protocol Weaknesses and Threats
When assessing the use case of a particular token, it is sometimes helpful to use the painkiller vs. vitamin analogy. For example, if a new token is introduced that solves a major everyday issue like lowering electricity prices, we would refer to this as a painkiller because it addresses an immediate and urgent demand. In contrast, the solution provided by Ink Protocol is more like a vitamin, in that the use case stands to potentially make the P2P marketplace ecosystem more convenient, but does not address any urgent demand in the market.
As an ancillary utility, the prospect of Ink Protocol’s mass adoption on a P2P marketplace like Craigslist remains highly uncertain. Seamless integration into a reputation-less marketplace certainly plays toward the favor of Ink Protocol, but still remains only half of the equation. The well-established user base and culture of Craigslist brings into question to what extent users will suddenly change the way they use the marketplace.
When it comes to the question of adoption and scaling, partnerships are one of the most crucial factors to consider. Ink Protocol does not have any partnerships with P2P marketplaces for pilot projects. While it is of course an advantage that Listia’s user base will all use Ink Protocol immediately upon token release, the real challenge is moving beyond Listia. Without a partnership in place to facilitate this, the road to wider adoption remains murky.
The Verdict on Ink Protocol
While the Ink Protocol ICO certainly faces some real challenges ahead, the team behind the project already have one successful project behind them. The biggest uncertainty revolves around the question of mass adoption. At the same time, however, an already existing product assures at least a minimum user base from the start. After taking all factors into consideration, we’ll be making a small bet on the Ink Protocol ICO.
Learn more about Ink Protocol ICO in our TELEGRAM CHAT (https://t.me/CryptoBriefingSupporters).
Today’s Date: 1/14/17
Project Name: Ink Protocol
Token Symbol: XNK
Crowdsale Hard Cap: $15 million
Total Supply: 500,000,000
Token Distribution: 6% reserved for existing Listia User Credits, 30% sold in presale and public token sale, 32% retained by Listia, vested over 3 years, 32% allocated for distribution and incentivizing the network, released over 3 years
Price per Token: 1 XNK = $0.10 USD
Maximum Market Cap (at crowdsale price): $50 Million
- FULL— Presale Tier 1: 1 ETH = 9,375 XNK (~20% discount)
- FULL— Presale Tier 2: 1 ETH = 8,825 XNK (~15% discount)
- Presale Tier 3: 1 ETH = 8,350 XNK (~10% discount)
Important Dates: Presale- 1/22/18 Crowdsale – 2/1/18-2/28/18
Expected Token Release: 2/28/18
ICO Review Disclaimer
The team at Crypto Briefing analyzes an initial coin offering (ICO) against ten criteria, as shown above. These criteria are not, however, weighted evenly – our proprietary rating system attributes different degrees of importance to each of the criteria, based on our experience of how directly they can lead to the success of the ICO in question, and its investors.
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This category accounts for the leaders, developers, and advisors.
Poor quality, weak, or inexperienced leadership can doom a project from the outset. Advisors who serve only to pad their own resumes and who have ill-defined roles can be concerning. But great leadership, with relevant industry experience and contacts, can make the difference between a successful and profitable ICO, and a flub.
If you don’t have a team willing and able to build the thing, it won’t matter who is at the helm. Good talent is hard to find. Developer profiles should be scrutinized to ensure that they have a proven history of working in a field where they should be able to succeed.
What is the technology behind this ICO, what product are they creating, and is it new, innovative, different – and needed?
The IOTA project is a spectacular example of engineers run amok. The technology described or in use must be maintainable, achievable, and realistic, otherwise the risk of it never coming into existence is incredibly high.
Tokens which have no actual use case are probably the worst off, although speculation can still make them have some form of value.
The best tokens we review are the ones that have a forced use case – you must have this token to play in some game that you will probably desire to play in. The very best utility tokens are the ones which put the token holder in the position of supplying tokens to businesses who would be able to effectively make use of the platforms in question.
There doesn’t have to be a market in order for an ICO to score well in this category – but if it intends to create one, the argument has to be extremely compelling.
If there is an existing market, questions here involve whether it is ripe for disruption, whether the technology enables something better, cheaper, or faster (for example) than existing solutions, and whether the market is historically amenable to new ideas.
Most ideas have several implementations. If there are others in the same field, the analyst needs to ensure that the others don’t have obvious advantages over the company in question.
Moreover, this is the place where the analyst should identify any potential weaknesses in the company’s position moving forward. For instance, a fundamental weakness in the STORJ system is that the token is not required for purchasing storage.
With many ICO ideas, the timing may be too late or too early. It’s important for the analyst to consider how much demand there is for the product in question. While the IPO boom funded a lot of great ideas that eventually did come to fruition, a good analyst would recognize when an idea is too early, too late, or just right.
Progress To Date
Some of the least compelling ICO propositions are those that claim their founders will achieve some far-off goal, sometime in the future, just so long as they have your cash with which to do it.
More interesting (usually) is the ICO that seeks to further some progress along the path to success, and which has a clearly-identified roadmap with achievable and reasonable milestones along the way. Founders who are already partially-invested in their products are generally more invested in their futures.
Community Support & Hype
Having a strong community is one of the fundamental building blocks of any strong blockchain project. It is important that the project demonstrates early on that it is able to generate and build a strong and empowered support base.
The ICO marketplace is becoming more crowded and more competitive. While in the past it was enough to merely announce an offering, today’s successful ICO’s work hard to build awareness and excitement around their offering.
Price & Token Distribution
One of the biggest factors weighing any analysis is price. The lower the price the more there is to gain. But too low of a price may result in an under capitalized project. It is therefore important to evaluate price relative to the individual project, its maturity and the market it is going after.
The total supply of tokens should also be justified by the needs of the project. Issuing a billion tokens for no reason will do nobody any good.
Communication is key. The success of a project is strongly tied to the project leaders’ ability to communicate their goals and achievements.
Things don’t always go as planned but addressing issues and keeping the community and investors in the loop can make or break a project.