Blockchain-oriented companies were first founded to solve enterprise-level and financial challenges and were adopted by enthusiasts, far from the public eye. According to Mangrove VC, large-scale ICOs have been dominated by projects delivering services for either the blockchain economy or financial services. Only a fifth of the large-scale ICOs are in the leisure market, and a smaller fraction are in the field of commerce.
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But as the blockchain industry is becoming democratized and more accessible to everyone, consumer-oriented products are joining the pool of ICOs and enjoying a larger community of blockchain investors and customers. As the blockchain economy grows, touching larger portions of the overall economy, it reaches more aspects of people’s lives and facilitates daily tasks.
In this article, we picked five notable consumer-oriented ICOs to notice that we think have great potential to change the economy around communities or the way we consume goods, such as phones or cars, and the way we share them:
SIRIN LABS — have both a smartphone and a secure crypto-wallet combined on the same device
Sirin Labs, developer of the ultra-secure $14,000 mobile phone Solarin, has pivoted from luxury to mass market devices, and is now conducting a crowdsale to support its latest development: a $999 smartphone with a built-in secured crypto-wallet inside, and a similar $799 PC.
It makes a lot of sense for blockchain users to have a crypto-based phone with a built-in wallet that allows them to safely transfer tokens from one device to another and pay for a selection of services built around the phone’s ecosystem. Before Sirin Labs, people used to separately buy a crypto-wallet, a hardware device that can cost up to hundreds of dollars from brands such as Trezor, Keepkey, and Ledger.
Sirin Labs’ smartphone, called Finney, is the crypto-related reincarnation of Solarin: it has state-of-the-art hardware and software security features such as a secured OS called Shield OS, behavior-based intrusion prevention system, IP address hiding and MAC address randomization mechanisms, secured P2P resource sharing between devices, ASIC-resistant blockchain ledger, a hardware secure element that stores encryption keys and biometric templates, and a cold-storage crypto wallet protected by a physical switch.
The $999 phone will feature a 5.2-inch QHD display, 256GB of internal memory storage, 8GB RAM, a 16MP main camera and a 12MP wide-angle selfie camera. The $799 PC will include a 24-inch 2K display and biometric security sensors.
Although the device is a mobile fortress, the company wishes to build an ecosystem around its API and around its blockchain token, SRN. Sirin Labs encourages developers to create fee-less and decentralized micropayment applications and services for sharing resources such as connectivity, or data such as weather or traffic updates, using Finney’s secure P2P resource sharing.
Read CryptoRated’s review of Sirin Labs on cryptorated.com
Risks: Sirin Labs’ risks disclosure statement is very detailed. The document mentions its dependency on Bancor’s
infrastructure and talent. Bancor is to date one of the biggest ICOs, raising $153 million for a decentralized liquidity network that allows users to hold any Ethereum token and convert it to any other token in the network.
The Takeaway: Finney can attract users that are looking for a blockchain-based secured smartphone and a wallet with a price no higher than that of the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy devices.
ICO date: to be announced
Colu — Creating a local bank-less community
Colu is building local communities of small businesses and customers around decentralized tokens with no corporations or banks in the middle. It aims to cut the middlemen from afar, boosting local economies and making mutual responsibility play a critical role in neighborhoods, cities, or countries.
In its basic form, Colu is an open source platform that will allow any local authority to create a localized currency token. In addition to technology that lets people and businesses accept tokens, it also allows exchanging and trading tokens for fiat currency (i.e. US Dollars or Euro).
But Colu also helps small businesses and customers cut the cords with the bank, encouraging everyone to be stakeholders in small businesses, and be rewarded with local tokens that can increase in value as the local economy evolves. Blockchain can achieve this because it allows users to swiftly buy and sell shares from any entity, rewarding the early buyers, and allowing conversions into fiat currency.
Colu is one of a few startups that have managed to raise funds from VCs before turning to ICO, and recently was joined by advisors such as economist Dan Ariely and Bradley Tusk, a former Uber exec. Now the company is hoping to raise $50 million in an ICO during the first quarter of 2018.
Risks: Colu dedicated a white paper to risks disclosure. Among them, the company’s inability to promise any anticipated reward in the future, and the fact that the funds raised in tokens are exposed to theft or a regulation against blockchain based loans. We will add that Cou will have to keep “buying” customers by offering rewards or discounts in order to convince them to move from fiat currency into blockchain
The Takeaway: Encouraging blockchain local community can be a promising way to spread the blockchain everywhere and show common people its basic advantages.
Tend — own a fraction of a Ferrari for a fraction of time
Tend is using blockchain to break property ownership into fractions, and smart contracts to regulate its usage. With tend, users will be able to own fractions of a Porsche car, Swiss luxury watch, exclusive French vineyard or a Steinway piano, using Ethereum blockchain as digital tokens.
A smart contract will define your time slots for using these luxurious objects, for instance — once a week or a week every month. In addition, the smart contracts are offering perks in addition to the desired object. Piano owners will get concert tickets, for example.
Tend will manage the entire inventory of goods, including maintenance and insurance, and will allow co-owners to communicate over a chat platform. In addition, co-owners would be able to sell their ownership swiftly with using blockchain, or put new objects up for sale (after being vetted).
Risks: The company hasn’t published a whitepaper yet. Also, the ability of owners to change the terms of their service is limited. Co-owners can take over an asset and have it for themselves, but it depends on their popularity and Tend’s inventory.
The Takeaway: Tend will make you feel rich for a couple of hours with an idea that came out of socialist regimes: share stuff and use it from time to time. With the arrival of autonomous cars, Tend would be a great platform upon which people would be able to co-own a car, thus fulfilling the vision of cutting full ownership of cars.
ICO : To be announced
Pally — Let Locals Organise Your Next Trip with a Decentralized Coin
Tourists on their way to Europe can now renounce Lonely Planet or TripAdvisor guides when they make plans for the trip. Pally, a new iPhone app now in Alpha mode, connects travelers with local guides, who can either help plan a tour or lead it. Payment on the platform is available only with PallyCoins, an Ethereum based coin, and smart contracts will enable several methods of business such as payment per tour, payment per planning, payment per popularity, or payment per introducing a new user (‘mining’). According to the company, fees are lower than other guide-hailing services, such as Airbnb’s local guide service, Neighborhood.
Risks: The whitepaper does not include future risks, but mentions a dispute resolution mechanism that can hit users that are being reported with punishments such as lifetime bans.
The Takeaway: It’s the best way to meet crypto-lovers all around the world and have a beer with them. Also, it seems like it is the best application for distributing crypto-currency around the world and using it for touristic purposes. In the future, Pally might be used for other local community related purposes, and compete with Colu’s local cryptocurrency.
ICO ends November, 17th
SMSchain — Will Make Google and Facebook Pay Phone Owners for their Unused SMS Bundles — with Blockchain
Phone owners have abandoned SMS for good, in favor of apps such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, or WeChat.
Corporations, however, are increasing their presence in the SMS text messaging platform, sending notifications, alerts, and reminders to authenticate their customer’s identity, share access codes and confirm transactions or bookings.
SMS chain, a blockchain-based service wants to allow phone users to earn an average of hundreds of dollars monthly in blockchain tokens by reselling their unused SMS bundles to tech giants such as Google, Facebook or Uber.
With this arrangement, the company says, corporations can save a whole deal of money on SMS aggregators spendings — digital farms of multiple SIM cards that usually have geographical limitations as well as high maintenance costs. The users then bid in auctions according to the volume of SMS traffic offered, price or destination and will be able to approve text messages before sending them from their account. Registration is possible only with SMSchain’s token called SMSTO.
Risks: SMSchain acknowledges significant risks in its whitepaper such as a possible violation of consumers’ wireless contracts with their mobile operators or exposure to phishing or fraudulent messages sent from their accounts.
The Takeaway: SMSchain harnesses the power of blockchain and decentralized networks and reduces costs inherent in SMS aggregating, while enabling private users to earn money.
ICO ends November 20th
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