Qlink ICO Overview
The Qlink ICO is one of the more interesting projects that we have come across in recent days due largely to the sheer magnitude of the industry they are going after. The global telecom industry generates over US$1 trillion a year in revenue. And yet there are few industries in the world more ripe for disruption, especially when it comes to mobile services.
The main problems plaguing the telecom industry from a consumer perspective are high fees and a lack of security in data transmission.
Qlink aims to build the world’s first decentralized mobile network, and promises to extend network coverage, reduce costs, and reward users for sharing their unused network assets.
To embark on this mission the Qlink team will need an extensive amount of capital and an inexhaustible amount of hope. And so naturally, the Qlink ICO is seeking to raise funds and to build an ecosystem of supporters willing to join them in their endeavor.
Admittedly the proposition is intriguingly unique, bold, and borderline unattainable. For these reasons we began our analysis on a skeptical note. But before passing judgement let us first understand what exactly it is that the Qlink team is proposing.
The Qlink ICO Value Proposition
In their own words,
Qlink, developed by Qlink Foundation in Singapore, adopts the blockchain technology and creates a decentralized mobile network for P2Peer WiFi sharing, mobile data converted content distribution, enterprise telecom services and crowd-sourcing base stations (including WiFi hotspots ) set-up, generally in much lower cost and ultimate secured format.
The solution Qlink proposes can be summed up with the following four points:
- A blockchain-based peer-to-peer wifi sharing service. This will allow wifi sharers to securely create mini hotspots for those in need. They will also be rewarded for their sharing in Qlink tokens. Users in need of Wifi will in turn presumably receive a higher quality of service.
- A billing and content distribution system for telecom operators. There are two components:
- Qlink with provide telecom operators with a smart contract based billing system that allows users to pay for only mobile data that they use. This would not only save users money but also help rid telecom operators of an antiquated billing system known as BOSS (Billing and Operation Supporting System) costing them US$10 to 15 billion a year.
- This new billing system would also be able to mediate content and data between the users, content creators and the telecom networks. For example, a movie production studio may want to pay the telecom operator directly to allow their movie trailers to be seen by their target users without incurring mobile data charges.This would presumably remove middle men (publishers, ad networks, etc.) between the movie production studio and their customers. User’s wouldn’t have to pay for the data (on specific content), movie houses enjoy savings on advertising costs and telecom operators get an additional revenue stream. Such a system would add value to all parties involved.
- Various enterprise-level services. The whitepaper uses the example of Twilio, an SMS service provider listed on Nasdaq. The company makes money by charging online businesses when they send out SMS confirmation messages to their users. Twilio in turn incurs costs and pays the telecom operators. Qlink ICO suggests they would roll out what sounds like an AirBNB for the SMS industry. It would allow users to be rewarded for sharing their unused SMS allocations for businesses to use.
- The Qlink BaseStation is a network of crowdsourced base stations. This last component is arguably the most interesting piece of the Qlink ICO. The QLink BaseStation is an integrated hardware device that helps to eliminate mobile dead zones. Individuals or organizations can setup a base station, whether stationary or mobile, then determine what they want to charge users for connecting to their network.Now a user in a black spot and in dire need for a connection can pay some fees (in Qlink tokens) to the base station device owner and gain immediate connectivity.To top it off, the Qlink Base Station is also equipped with a 1GHz CPU and 512MB ROM, and supports Delegated Proof-of-Stake mining. It can serve as a full node to the Qlink chain and help secure the entire network. This will help generate additional fees for the device owner.
Qlink ICO Team
In reference to their team Qlink’s blog states the following:
The core team behind Qlink come from YouYou Mobile, a WiFi service that covers over 100 countries. YouYou Mobile has served over 6 million travel customers and partnered with over 40 telecom carriers world wide. Last year, YouYou mobile’s revenue was 120 million CNY. Taking the advantage of the established business, Qlink will have YouYou Mobile as first partner and allow users to tap into the Qlink network.
(We have not yet been able to independently verify this information nor investigate the success of YouYou Mobile, we will provide an update if we do)
Allen Li, Qlink CEO, was previously founder of YouYou Mobile, and a System Engineer at Huawei Technologies.
The rest of the team seem sufficiently versed in their respective areas of focus.
Qlink ICO – Strengths and Opportunities
Without doubt the problems that the Qlink ICO is attempting to tackle is worthy of serious attention and the market is certainly large enough. If Qlink successfully completes their ICO they will have a significant first mover advantage in this space. That’s always a plus.
We like that Qlink is using shared wifi services as its initial wedge into the space. This seems to be an area of high utility for consumers and a practical low entry point for Qlink. We are especially excited about the hardware component and its potential to drive forward a decentralized peer-to-peer mobile network.
The solutions that Qlink ICO offers are mindful of the needs of the existing telecom giants occupying the space. It is clear they have a comprehensive understanding of the telecommunications space. They have found a few strong use cases where blockchain technology can help really increase value and reduce costs to all parties involved.
Qlink ICO Weaknesses and Threats
Now onto the challenges. What we have here is a classic case of David vs Goliath. Regardless of how practical their solutions may be, industry incumbents will be hesitant to adopt solutions that may one day evolve into something that puts them out of business.
Selling services and products to telecom companies will be a slow and laboring process requiring more than just strong relationships. As much as they have rebutted a previous reviewer’s claims that their blockchain infrastructure does not require cooperation from existing telecom, the fact remains that most of their services cannot succeed without direct engagement with incumbent network providers.
Furthermore, a quick chat with their CEO, Allen Li, earlier today at a local Singapore meetup affirms that they have not yet solidified a single telecom partnership.
While their ideas are theoretically sound, we are concerned that they do not yet have much of a product to showcase, not even an MVP. They claim that they had already built a product based on the ethereum blockchain but it was too expensive to run on ethereum so they had to rebuild it on NEO. We remain skeptical on this front.
The lack of an MVP let alone a full proof of concept is a big concern of ours, especially at the valuation they are seeking.
It is also not clear to us who their potential customers are and which markets they plan to start with. We have attempted to ask these questions in their telegram chat and their admins have completely ignored our questions while responding quickly to other questions on ICO details.
When we ask the CEO to clarify which market they were going after they responded that they were going for a global market. But naturally one has to start somewhere. We then asked him to clarify which market they will start with and they confirmed it would not be China but maybe the US or perhaps even Singapore since that is where their foundation is based. This wasn’t the answer we were expecting.
The Verdict on Qlink ICO
We like projects that are focused on the foundational layers of the blockchain ecosystem. Building blockchain for the telecom industry could be a good investment from the project’s perspective.
We think the exciting pieces of their project may be a long and arduous journey requiring heavy lobbying of the major telecom players. It’s a bit of a long shot in our opinion.
However, the most redeeming element of Qlink’s plan might actually be the part that is least exciting. The peer-to-peer wifi sharing market is a proven multibillion dollar market with a proven business model. If they can provide a more efficient, secure and rewarding experience for all parties involved by leveraging blockchain technologies then they have a good shot at dominating this market.
If Qlink can establish a strong foothold in the peer-to-peer wifi sharing market then other possibilities become less of a pipedream.
They plan to release their MVP in mid-December. We’d like to check out the MVP before making a decision on whether or not to contribute to their ICO.
If the MVP checks out we will likely make a small bet on the Qlink ICO.
Learn more about the Qlink ICO from our Telegram Community by clicking here.
Todays Date: 12/8/17
Project name: Qlink ICO
Token symbol: QLC
White paper: https://www.qlink.mobi/qlink2/res/WhitePaper.pdf
Crowdsale Hard Cap: US$2.5 to 3 million (US$12.9 million already raised in presale)
Total Supply: 600,000,000 QLC
Token Distribution: 40% to pre/crowd sale, 20% to team/advisors, 40% held for reserve
Price per token: 1 QLC = 0.0025 NEO
Maximum market cap (at crowdsale price): ~ US$52.5 million (based on NEO price at US$35)
Bonus structure: Presale had 10-30% bonus
Presale Terms: “Strategic Investor” had 30% bonus with 1 month lockup, “Presale Bonus” had 10% bonus no lockup
Important dates: Presale ended, Whitelist started, Crowdsale date TBA
Expected Token Release: TBA
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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.