As an avid cryptocurrency investor, I’ve been through countless ICO processes. However, aligning with investor interests, every company tries to ensure their process addresses 2 key criteria:
(1) Fairness; and
Additionally, the companies have their own interests in mind. They need to since token lockup periods tend to be about 18-24 months on average. Therefore, they must ensure that sufficient levels of hype and interest in the project are maintained in the short term (so that the launch is quickly deemed a success).
But simultaneously, they also want to ensure that the product performs well in the long term. This is ultimately done by creating a large community on social media (e.g. Telegram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and then keeping this community engaged. Investors are always on the lookout for big, game-changing deals, it helps when they follow your announcement channel. This is important! If they fail here, then the team are likely to be left with worthless / severely undervalued pay-outs. Therefore, during ICO processes (particularly in the build up to the token sale) companies undergo relatively immense periods of growth.
Sparkster have completely revamped this process like I’ve never seen any other company do. But first, if you don’t know anything about them you should! As a brief overview, they are a company that essentially seeks to make Blockchain technology accessible to the masses through a plug and play style interface. Their platform presupposes zero current coding ability and requires no future coding ability – whilst, still allowing users to make full use of the benefits afforded by Blockchain technology. This is to be coupled with the fact that Sparkster has overcome the biggest issue in the industry (i.e. transaction speed) without compromising on vital aspects like security. Their use case allows them to shard their distributed Hash Tables in tandem with their decentralised cloud – this has them operating at 50,000+ transactions per second and aiming for 10,000,000+ transactions per second in the near future.
I have provided some useful links and resources relating to Sparkster at the bottom of the article. Please feel free to also take a look at my review of their ICO itself here:
Many companies have addressed the issues of fairness, transparency, hype and marketability via a plethora of ways. However it’s extremely difficult to balance them all. For example:
1) A pure lottery approach
The issue with this approach is that early contributors who were there when the company was extremely new and had no traction, may miss out. This is especially true when they don’t have the necessary capital or risk appetite to facilitate the kind of buy-ins required to partake in a private sale. Though this approach usually maintains short term hype, it lacks fairness and long term marketability.
2) A randomly generated queue
Though a different style, it again, fundamentally creates the same issue as the above. But this system usually ends up favouring people in a specific time zone as some cannot wait up until 5am if they have work in the morning and / or new-born’s waking up in the night – story of my life.
3) Gas war / First come first serve
Again, this fails to reward early contributors and ends up being a more expensive lottery. Who is willing to blindly pay more to hopefully get in first? The bigger issue is that many will pay material amounts, only for their ETH to be returned.
4) QKC’s elaborate approach
This approach was much fairer than most, through a point system that awarded for marketing and community contribution levels, product knowledge and how early you joined their telegram community. However, the biggest issue with this was what happened after 3x the optimal number of people got past the threshold. Rather than weighting the contribution amounts by score across the board, there was a lottery that meant even if you were the first person in the community with one of the top 6 scores, you had 50% of still missing out. The biggest issue here was that everyone vests a lot more time and effort, only to potentially be told “no” at the final hurdle. So this failed to capture fairness though it garnered a lot of short term hype. We are still yet to see the long term effects.
5) Marketing in exchange for allocation
Some companies have engaged in doing this, often limited to YouTube / blog content. This approach often discriminates against those with small followings on the social network.
Sparkster have sought to engage in a Proof of Love. This is unique because they’ve essentially blended together the concept of bounty campaigns with an individual’s guaranteed, allocated investment amount. This means that a person who invests time in marketing Sparkster (hence proving their love), they simultaneously get awarded tokens and given the right to invest a given amount.
Though some have also attempted to do something like this in the past to a degree, Sparkster’s also been extremely generous have distributed $300,000 to the bounty campaign alone.
However, these bounty and guaranteed allocations are only available to the top 5,000 contributors. Thereafter, for anyone who has not been able to partake or get sufficient points, they can still apply for the lottery which is meant to provide a glimmer of hope for others. The amount is low so that many individuals can hopefully partake, but 25% of the total allocation is set apart of the lottery, and 75% for the proof of love.
My thoughts are many, but to summarise them:
1) I am a fan of this Proof of Love approach, and hopefully, it achieves a good level of fairness, with the most knowledgeable and helpful participants excelling to the top.
2) I personally, still think a lottery can prove to be a bit harsh. That said. I anticipate that there is a strong correlation between high contributions and early support – and that a good thing.
3) The allocation to the lottery is not 100% as with most, so they’ve done well to not make it completely contingent on “chance”.
4) Between the tasks; the explanation of the expected rewards; the leaderboard and the ability to view your actual rewards - I can wholeheartedly say they’ve been transparent. The level of transparency Sparkster have displayed in my opinion is completely unparalleled.
5) With a whole community of 60k people (as of today!!!) marketing the product, Sparkster’s reputation is going through the roof. Irrespective of FUD and future mishaps, Sparkster’s future is bright. More people having tested this pre-crowdsale – via 6 well implemented walkthroughs – than most would have tested on other platforms post-crowdsale.
As per usual, this is not financial advice, and you should consult a financial advisor before investing. That said, in my personal opinion Sparkster’s process will both garner a lot of hype in both the short and long term – which is befitting for such a well-designed platform. Thanks for reading!
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