The Age of the Initial Trust Offering (ITO) — ICO is ITO
There's a great irony at play in our world of digital currencies, blockchain and initial coin offerings. Trust is at the centre of this irony.
When Satoshi Nakamoto released his whitepaper calling for a new currency it was a signal. Nakamoto did not seek to profit from the new order, he was simply tired of the defunct, broken one.
Like many of us he felt betrayed. Many people had already been growing tired of the old order of power-yielding middlemen. The financial crisis was simply the straw that broke that camel’s back.
The 2008 crisis signalled a collapse of trust.
Looking Back to Look Forward
If you were to fast forward through the timeline of how we got to where we are today, you would see roughly the following:
- Rudimentary forms of money recognised in shells, Rai stones and metals
- Roman Soldiers paid in salt (which is where the word sal-ary comes from)
- The world less local and increasingly global, especially after the Internet and digitisation
- An increasing need for a middleman, intermediary or trust broker to validate that a transaction took place and that there are enough funds in the buyer’s account to pay the seller
- The intermediary or middleman, growing in power and increasingly looking for a bigger slice of the pie, in many cases several slices of the same pie
- The middlemen oblivious to clear signals that there was a burgeoning financial crisis powered by subprime mortgages and reckless lending
- Middlemen (aided and abetted by governments) kicking the problematic can down the road and selectively ignoring the elephant in the room
- Middlemen bailed out when the 2008 crisis hit
- The public footing the financial bill for the mismanagement of our TRUST
- The public taking on a monumental burden, ultimately crushing spirits, marriages, relationships, jobs, businesses, and dreams.
Satoshi Nakamoto vowed that this should never happen again, but rather than moan about it and write a manifesto, he/she/they decided to take action.
Nakamoto created Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, the world’s answer to the collapse of trust in the financial system which betrayed us all.
The Rise and Fall (and Rise again) of Crypto-Trust
Initial Coin Offerings are a fantastic way to raise capital and return high margins to those who invested in a company.
However, what we are really doing is repaying people for their trust rather than just their investment. They have put their trust in us, we respect that trust, and will gladly return it with interest.
Like any successful nascent industry which promises strong returns, the early adopters win big. Unfortunately with the hype surrounding Bitcoin and its meteoric rise, came an influx of distrust. The industry attracted a slew of scam artists, hackers, and Ponzi schemes.
This negative press, much of which is legitimate, meant that the system which was born out of a requirement for trust, now lacked trust itself. There is poison in the well and many companies with good intentions have been tarred with the same brush as the bad actors.
I once read that “trust is a gift that can only be shared once.” This always stuck with me. It is one of the reasons I was attracted to this space, to be a part of the Satoshi Nakamoto vision, to transform the world, while transforming our lives in the meantime.
Initial Trust Offering – ITO
An ICO is really an ITO—an Initial Trust Offering. Talk is cheap unfortunately, especially when we live in a world of fake news, where we don’t know who to believe. I do hope the following will help those who are reading and wondering if they should join in this life-changing opportunity. I do hope this will help you, whether you are part of the Digitex journey or not.
Here is my 10 (crypto) cents on what to look for in a crypto company.
- The Founder – Is she or he credible? Do they have scar tissue in an industry in which they are trying to change?
- The Investment – Have they poured themselves into their business? Have they burned the boats and gone all in? Do they live, breathe and will the business to success?
- Do they have an experienced development team? If yes, are the development team believers? Do the dev team have experience in a relevant field?
- Are they in it for the long haul? Have they committed lock, stock and barrel?
- Finally, are they shipping a product or just talking about it? When do they intend to launch? Do they stick to their deadlines? Yes, I get it, there will be delays, hell, we will suffer delays, but do they share the failures as much as the successes? Are they authentic?
I leave you with one of my favourite quotes on Trust:
“Trust is like blood pressure. It’s silent, vital to good health, and if abused it can be deadly.”
— Frank Sonnenberg