Blockchain Misguided Adoption

 

 

 Blockchain - Fundamental Mistakes

 

The old saying that the chain is as strong as its weakest link applies to blockchain technology projects today. After analyzing over 2,700 blockchain projects, we found their weakest link. Majority of projects we looked at have no practical business focus and have made no contacts with target users.  They are simply engaged in another experimental blockchain project.

Blockchain vertical analysis – Many blockchain experts promote blockchain as the disruptive technology that will revolutionize how commerce is conducted in the future. Financial systems are targeted as the first to be impacted by blockchain solutions. With this in mind, BenchMrkPro chose to focus on finding blockchain projects that are actually developing a solution that will revolutionize the financial sector. We selected payment systems technology vertical as our target.

In our analysis we looked at 2,790 blockcain companies made up of a mix of companies that have completed their ICO’s (Initial Coin Offering), companies that had an active ICO and companies that had an upcoming ICO. This mix represented today’s blockchain technology landscape.

For our selected vertical, our objective was to find which and how many  blockchain projects were developing blockchain based payment solutions that promised to modernize or replace today’s fiat based payment systems.

Critical weaknesses – Out of 2,790 active blockchain projects, we found 50 projects that were developing something or promised to deliver a blockchain solution that will enable merchants and consumers to make payments using digital currency.  Of the 50 projects that came close to doing something in this business vertical, only few (Bitcoinus and Stellar) shared a vision and plan to engage today’s fiat based companies and systems to create an adoption path for blockchain technology solutions by classic businesses.

The balance of blockchain projects operate in a silo mode. Most lack clear business focus, have no engagements or contacts with classic businesses and lack a go to market plan for introducing their solutions to today’s classic businesses. It almost felt like they were following an old and filed strategy, “build it and they will come”. This is a major weakness that will likely derail many of the blockchain companies and their projects. Unless these projects embrace the fundamental need to engage target customers and users early in their projects, blockchain adoption will be long and difficult.

What needs to change – If blockchain technology is to revolutionize how commerce is conducted, today’s classic businesses will need to adopt blockchain through mass adoption. However, this is not going to happen if blockchain companies work in silos. Blockchain companies must engage their target customers early in their projects. No successful company has ever developed a practical solution without first understanding their customers business and their needs. To understand target customers needs, it has to start with a conversation that follows with active engaments. Threatening the classic businesses like banks and others that blockchain will somehow replace them is not the answer.

In our analysis we find that majority of the core leadership teams of the blockchain startups hold strong experience and passion in developing new technology. These young technology developers are driven to develop the next generation platform or system. What is missing in most of the core teams is strong business experience. This is like having a great soccer team without strong forwards or football team without a strong quarterback. It’s this critical balance that must be present to drive these companies to create a mass adoption of blockchain technologies in today’s classic business. It won’t happen by just developing new blockchain technology. You can build but they won’t come.

Recommendations – For blockchain companies to become successful businesses, they will need to sell and earn revenue. To sell blockchain solutions to classis businesses, these solutions must enable target customers to transition from where they are today to blockchain. And they will need help.

With over 2,700 blockchain projects in the works today, finding practical business solutions is impossible. Almost all of the published white papers focus on two main areas. They describe in often great detail the technology being built and the justification for the company’s ICO. Very little to no mention is made about target customers, businesses, users and how the company will generate revenue. What this means is that each of these companies have no plan on what to do when they complete their project.  Even in live conversations with many CEO’s the idea of addressing this critical segment is brushed off as insignificant. We will leave this point here for your own conclusion. To help classic businesses mass adopt blockchain technology, blockchain companies must expand their focus to include:

  • Engage customers now – We strongly recommend that every blockchain startup that has no clear go to market plan start working on it now and not when their projects complete. Engage your target customers now and start learning how to transition businesses onto blockchain.
  • Become unique – Building another and better blockchain platform is not unique. In fact it’s confusing to potential customers. Think about how your solution will differentiate from the other 2,700 solutions being developed. Describe how your solution will help your target customers and why they should consider it
  • Create a revenue plan – To be successful, every company needs to be delivering value to its customers, value they will pay for and help your company generate revenue. It’s not sufficient to state that your company will charge lower transaction, have a distributed ledger, and eliminate banks, middleman and so on. Be specific who your solution is for and explain in a language that your target customers can understand and are keen to have a conversation with you.
  • Create a sales strategy – No even when you do build it, they won’t come. This old failed strategy hasn’t worked during the dot-com and it won’t work now. Your company will need to sell your solution for you to generate revenue. Hiring marketing and sales people alone is not a sales strategy. They will need to understand; your value proposition, how to sell, who to sell it to and where to market your solutions.
  • Build believable roadmap – A dead end solution won’t sell. All of the roadmaps we analyzed state high level milestones that have no clear deliverables or strategy behind it. Customers buying new solutions want to ensure that the vendors will be around in the next several years and that the solution will evolve. No one wants to buy a dead end solution. Create a thought through solution roadmap that is backed by the company’s business strategy.
  • Create strategic marketing – Every new company faces the same two key challenges in sales, they are not known in the market and they don’t have customers. Select your target customers and market to them. Advertising on typical blockchain media channels is not enough to reach your target customers. Yes you will reach other blockchain companies and enthusiasts but not necessarily your customers. Learn about your target customers and understand where in they look for information and communicate your marketing strategy there. Know Your Customer (KYC) is more than knowing your ICO investors, it’s knowing customers who will pay for your solution.

Does it sound overwhelming, it doesn’t have? If it does, this means you have not completed your company’s plan to create a successful and sustainable business. You need to take action now to position your company and your business for success. If you need help, let’s have a conversation.

Published by:

Jerry Witkowicz

jerry@bmpro.io

 

 

 

 

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Over 800 crypto coins are worthless now

Dead coins

Today there are over 1,600 post ICO (Initial Coin Offering) blockchain startups with over 300 more either live or planned. Not all blockchain startups are poised to succeed.

According to this website, https://deadcoins.com/?pagenum=1 , as of the date this article was written, 864 blockchain startups had already failed and the three key reasons cited are; Scam, Parody and Deceased. In the screen shot sample below are examples of these dead coins and the startup companies that were behind them.

Dead coin list

Today in the 1,600 startups along with the 300 new companies that are about to enter the market, over 90% of these blockchain startups are not positioned for success. BenchMrkPro analyzed 100’s of blockchain startups that are in post and pre ICO stages and we discovered that at least 93% of the startups have no business plan on how they will earn revenue. What this means is that when and if their technology projects complete, they will need to find buyers who will see value in their solutions and who are willing to pay for it.

This has to change or the list of dead coins will continue to grow. Just imagine how many investors who purchased tokens that are on the list of dead coins have lost their total investments? This is said but it is avoidable. Investors need to do a greater due diligence to learn about the blockchain startups before making an investment decision. Here are some tips to follow.

Common sense – There is a lot of truth in the saying that if it doesn’t make sense it’s probably wrong. As an investor, you don’t have to be a blockchain expert to understand the company and their solution. The onus is on the startup company to clearly describe their business and solution so that non technical investors will understand. If you find the company whitepaper confusing and not making sense, this suggests that the company has not communicated their value proposition clearly. And if the investor cannot understand, neither will their potential paying customers.

The core team – No sports coach ever won a game singlehandedly without a strong core team. In business it’s no different. When analyzing the ICO whitepaper, look at the core team. You should expect to see strong and experienced business leaders who have managed successful business and have a good track record. Check them out in Linkedin and the companies they worked before. If you find that the core team is primarily technical people and particularly in blockchain technology, that’s a red flag. Remember, blockchain technology is still in its infancy and very few blockchain solutions have been adopted widely in the industry. The experience level in this industry is still very young. Selling blockchin solutions is difficult and the new startups will need a strong and experienced business team to execute on their plan.  Above all, make sure that the team is truly a team that is associated with the ICO startup. Here is an example of an ICO that just completed and whose team has not been verified and in fact, the team members shown on the company website are different than the ones shown on https://icoholder.com. Several team members shown on the company website denied any association with the company and one even filed police case in his location against the company for using his Linkedin profile without consent. Would you invest in a company whose team is falsified? Many have and they are now at risk of losing their investment.

Unverified team

 

Unverified team 2

Business model – For any business regardless of technology to become profitable, it must have a believable business model. Building a piece of technology regardless of how innovative the technology is not be enough. There has to be a business model that clearly answers in the whitepaper; What business problems are being solved, Who needs this solution and will eventually pay for it, How will the company sell and deliver their solution and Where are the users and where the company plans to promote and sell their solution. These 4 elements MUST be present in the whitepaper or the company has no business model and is simply building a piece of technology

Stay informed – Even after you analyzed the startup and their whitepaper, stay informed about the company. Blockchain technology is an extremely fluid vertical. Many startups are simply unprepared for real successful business. Many are caught up in the blockchain hype and promise more than they can deliver. Often significant changes in the company direction, team structure and even the company sustainability are forced upon the company. Just look at the list of the 864 dead coins and the companies behind the coins. Don’t ever rush into investing. Remember, it takes a lot of effort and hard work to earn your money and it should also take time and effort to part with it when investing.

Decide wisely – When you do reach a decision point, summarize the key reasons why you believe that the startup will be a good investment. Don’t ever rely on free and unverified advice such as the one below. Always ask for clarification.

Advice

In the above example, this promoter did not respond to our question. We are not surprised. This is someone who is likely being compensated for luring uninformed investors to buy into the new ICO. Always do your own verification before investing. If its sounds too good to be true, guaranteed that it is. Decide based on your facts and you will decide wisely.

To avoid being part of the dead coin graveyard, follow these simple tips. If you are unsure about how to analyze a potential company, send us a note. We don’t offer investment advice but will be happy to answer questions about the company you may be looking at.

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WHY IS DELIVERING A SIMPLE MESSAGE SO DIFFICULT?

After looking at 100’s of white papers and their company websites, it has become quite evident that there is a major problem within the blockchain industry; founders are not able to clearly communicate their vision. Blockchain confusion

What does come out is a fragmented story that can’t be understood by potential investors, clients, and partners. Many block chain startups are clearly coming up with innovative solutions to problems that exist within the block new chain industry. These solutions may eventually turn into real world use cases that may change the world and peoples lives within it.

Clearly the vision that company founders are pursuing today involve some life changing ideals, but when it comes to the founders providing a gateway for seekers of information there is a disconnect. Major gaps exist:

  1. The company website lacks a clear and simple message on why the solution is needed, who needs it, what is the value proposition and how the company intends to offer their solution.
  2. The company marketing channels present fragmented and incomplete story. Reddit community will give you one side of the story, Bitcointalk.org will give you another, Forums, Slack, Telegram, Discord, YouTube, and Twitter will give you another story.

This is why BenchMrkPro is helping blockchain startups develop a clear message which describes to investors, users and potential customers; What the solution is, Who specifically is for, How the company will deliver it and Where  they should market their solution.

The nature of Block chain technology and where we currently are in the infrastructure building phase is a legitimate reason as to why most of these startups are technology focused solutions. That being said this is not a reason to fail. These startups are all considered businesses by one standard or another; they raise millions of dollars and have a responsibility to their stakeholders. Technology focused or not they must have a strong business team to execute their plan.

One key point BenchMrkPro observed is that unknowingly most of these startups are becoming competitors to each other and their technology solutions are overlapping each other’s potential target markets. Eventually, they will target the same users, same clients, same partners, business & consumer.

In our analysis, one key question remains unanswered. What are the key differentiators between these blockchain solutions? These technology focused companies are confusing their audiences. Reading the company’s white papers, it’s extremely difficult to understand what the company key value proposition is and how it differs from the many blockchain solutions that are being planned or built.

As we speak to many blockchain startup CEO’s, we are gaining insights into the gaps that separate the CEO’s vision and their business direction. Most of the CEO’s we speak to, are accepting the fact that they have a serious issue when it comes to delivering their company messages and the impact this has on their future revenue and business. None of them want to fail. There is a solution and it starts with CEO’s commitment to solve it the problem. They recognize that they do need a go-to-market plan to help them monetize their products. They also recognize that they do need a business focused and skilled team to execute on this plan.

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Xsearch ICO, is it real or scam?

In our effort to contact a live ICO based company Xsearch https://xsearch.io/ we stumbled on some facts that raise the question if this ICO company is real or a scam. We found number of conflicting facts that suggest that this new blockchain company is not being truthful to its investors and potential customers. We found that number company team members are not associated with the new company. Here is what we found:

On the official company website https://xsearch.io/, two of the company team members denied having being associated with Xsearch.

Xsearch P1

ICO HOLDER site https://icoholder.com/en/xsearch-20509#! Rates this ICO as 4.06 and gives the company team 3.95 and yet these are different team members than those posted on the company official site. Also, one of these team members also denied having anything to do with Xsearch. She stated “They are using my information without my permission”. This site actually states “Attention. There is a risk that unverified members are not actually members of the team”. See screenshots below.

Xsearch P3

Xsearch P2

 

BenchMrkPro has reached out to the two stated founders to seek clarification and as of June 28, 2018, none have replied.

There are still 11 days remaining in this CIO and if you are an investor and planning to buy this company’s tokens, you should verify this company. These facts suggest extreme caution when considering investing in https://xsearch.io/. You may be at risk of losing your money.

In all investment considerations, when planning to buy tokens of any blockchain ICO, educate yourself with facts. Check out the company team members and their white paper. Startup companies which want to become successful will not hide their identity. They will want their investors and future customers to know them and their company. When something like this is present, red flags should be raised and caution exercised.

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Difference between Venture Capital & ICO Funding

VC vs ICOThe new ICO (Initial Coin Offering) has the potential to change how startup companies raise money. By expanding access to investors around the world, the ICO process opens opportunities for investors around the world to participate in an ICO. However, there are major differences to overcome. Read our blog post  VC vs ICO Funding

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