What‘s The Value Of A CrowdstartCoin?

We started distributing CrowdstartCoins during the Gdansk IOTA hackathon in November this year. Each member of the three winning groups received their XSC, as CrowdstartCoins are abbreviated.

Since then we have been asked what the value of a CrowdstartCoin is. As of this writing, the value of 1 CrowdstartCoin is 0. XSC is listed on EtherDelta, a decentralized cryptoexchange, and it has been traded once – but that was a test trade in order to check whether everything is working fine.

348 Developers Rewarded With CrowdstartCoins

During the first weeks of distributing CrowdstartCoins, we have focused on rewarding developers who have added valuable code to the blockchain ecosystem. We have started to send XSC to IOTA and Ethereum developers. Other blockchain technologies will follow. As of this writing, 348 developers have received their CrowdstartCoins. Considering the very reason why we created Crowdstart Capital – namely to incentivize the future development of the blockchain ecosustem at-large, and to grow the number of developers committing code – 348 developers is quite a big number.

In the first phase, the distribution of CrowdstartCoins will be at the discretion of the Crowdstart team. In the second phase, we will set up a smart-contract-based system that will pay out CrowdstartCoins according to the accepted commits. We will programmatically monitor the git repos of major projects. In the third phase, members of the blockchain community will be able to suggest projects to be included in the incentive scheme, a model known as liquid feedback. Token-based ballots will be used to enable community voting and determine which blockchain projects should be included.

CrowdstartCoin might be worth $1-$10

Now you might ask, why do we put all this energy into CrowdstartCoins when they have 0 value? The answer is simple: We expect CrowdstartCoin’s value to rise as soon as a certain threshold of coin holders has been reached and somebody starts trading her CrowdstartCoins. We haven’t communicated our expectations regarding the value of CrowdstartCoins, yet. However, when deciding upon the number of distributed CrowdstartCoins relative to the code committed to the blockchain ecosystem, we expect a CrowdstartCoin rise in value to anywhere between $1-$10, probably within the next 12 months.

Not being in possession of the crystal ball, we could be dead wrong. Since there is no reliable method of forecasting the value of a new currency, and especially one that is not backed by any kind of asset, such as gold, the US-Dollar, etc., we base our assumption on the combined anticipated circulation supply and the expectations of blockchain developers regarding their fair remuneration when committing blockchain code.

The essence of CrowdstartCoin is to reward developers for their work. In the good tradition of Jean-Baptiste Say, we think developers will figure out the right price of a CrowdstartCoin themselves, trading the coins. Despite having some flaws, over the long run Say’s law is largely true.

We certainly don’t expect CrowdstartCoin to repeat Bitcoin’s history. But, 10,000 Bitcoins buying 2 pizzas in 2010 is a story too good not to recall!

Blockchains And Cryptocurrencies – A Disconnect In Cryptoland

Coming from blockchain technology and its use cases in various industries as diverse as manufacturing, energy, automotive, healthcare and finance, looking at the cryptocurrency market is quite interesting. 

Whilst blockchain plays the role of a foundational technology when using it to simplify legacy database infrastructures and adding a lean ‘singleton-ish’ transactional layer to formerly stale and complex technology stacks, most participants in cryptocurrencies don’t seem to be interested at all in the technology behind the tokens. Here, the token’s currency aspects dominate, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but…

A brief look at the market shows a huge money influx especially in the last 6 months. About 830 different tokens represent a total market capitalization of just under $90B with the Top 10 currencies representing around 90%, or more than $80B, as of this writing. Six months ago, the total market value was about $15B.

In order to get a better understanding of this phenomenon, we started listening to crypto market’s participants. Since Twitter and Reddit are two major channels of choice, it’s quite easy to get a feeling for the market in a short time. Here is what we have learned so far:

Learnings

  • If you come from the technology side of blockchain, you should put your expertise aside, unless you don’t want to go mad: in cryptocurrencies, blockchain does not matter at all – it’s the currency, stupid!
  • This aspect alone makes you think again: Bitcoin’s CPU-based PoW vs Ethereum’s RAM PoW? Who cares? Single-currency-purpose Monero vs financial settlement network Ripple? Cryptocurrencies, application-specific tokens or meta-protocols, mostly based on Bitcoin? Nothing’s easier than comparing “valuations” of contenders representing totally different asset categories or applications.
  • Then: valuations. What, exactly, does it mean when Ethereum “is worth” $19B?  In its 2014 launch, the Ethereum foundation issued 72m ETH – after three years of mining there’s a total ETH supply of 92m, as of this writing. Mining means, there is a certain inflation built in the currency’s protocol. Is it priced in?
  • Ok, there are certain tokens, especially the application-specific ones, that could be modeled as economic entities rather than currencies. This allows us to use some of the valuation methods we apply to securities, such as well-established economic and cash-flow models used in equity research. However, investors should be aware that the market price of tokens can differ significantly from the underlying valuation models: a large component of price is speculative in nature and will probably decrease with time, as the ecosystem matures.
  • Next, there is a strikingly outspoken communications behavior in cryptoland. Many self-appointed crypto investors, crypto traders or, more generically, crypto experts (!), seem to possess some finite knowledge about individual tokens, the crypto market in general, and – which is no differentiator versus the stock markets – they know the future. In other words: the cryptocurrency market is dominated by the same group of traders and investors as any other financial market in its espective infancy. And, as a side note, some occasional Nonviolent Communication training for market participants wouldn’t do any harm.

Disconnect between asset and its value

Our most relevant learning? Blockchain lies at the heart of crypto tokens, but the cryptocurrency market is dominated by people and their strategies without any connection to blockchain technology. Cryptocurrencies are treated as random assets. From the financial market’s perspective, this should not be much of a surprise. However, this disconnect between the value of an asset and its application could lead to major distortions in the future. The very first of these, the fact that blockchain transactions become more expensive the more the asset price increases, are already visible and have significant impacts on the respective blockchains.

In Germany, there existed a segment of the stock market called ‘Neuer Markt‘. From 1997 to 2003, the Neuer Markt created many success stories and many more bankruptcies. The originally 30, later 50, listed companies represented a total market capitalization of more than 200B EUR. And, today exactly, we saw  the impact of a 1.6 minute sarcastic video presented by Monero developer Riccardo Spagni during the Monero meetup prior to Token Summit.

Evil to him who evil thinks.