Akropolis Rating Review

Rating

Based on the issues identified during the analysis of the Akropolis project, we assign the project a “Stable+” rating. 

The Akropolis team has an ambitious and complex idea which does not currently exist on the market. The market which the project plans to enter is quite large in size but has rather conservative approach to things. There are no direct competitors in this blockchain area that develop similar solutions. However, the existing lack of transparency on the traditional pensions market, significant market growth rates and technological progress, contribute to the possible demand in blockchain pension solutions.

We would like to note that Akropolis has a strong project team. Most of the team members have extensive experience in each of their areas of responsibility. It is also worth noting that the advisory board includes very experienced professionals who could provide all the advice the project may need.

However, there are still a number of significant risks associated with this project and ICO:

Absence of MVP: At the time of analysis (May 2018) the team had not yet released an MVP, which is due to be released in Q2-Q3 2018 according to the project’s roadmap. The absence of an MVP seriously jeopardizes the ability to assess the team’s competencies, the capabilities of the suggested product, the level of product development and other crucial factors that investors in an ICO must consider before making any decision to invest. Once the MVP is released and the team’s progress is transparent, this level of risk may go down.

Legal/commercial risks: The pensions market is a highly regulated industry around the world and the legal frameworks vary significantly from country to country. The pensions industry is also a rather conservative industry, and there may be unforeseen difficulties with platform introduction to different markets, including difficulties with acceptance by society.

Draft whitepaper is incomprehensive: The draft of the whitepaper is missing many important sections and related discussions (see Investment Risk Analysis section of this report). Given that there is no MVP yet, the absence of some information significantly increases the potential risk for investors. However, the team is going to release a General Paper as well as an updated whitepaper before the ICO, which may answer some or all of the above questions.

Composition of team: The team has ambitious plans in terms of product complexity and deadlines – they plan to release the MVP in Q2-Q3 2018, and the beta product by the end of 2018. Without the MVP it is hard to assess if those deadlines are feasible given that there are only 4 developers.  In addition to that, several team members do not state Akropolis as their current employer which creates the risk of part-time involvement. However, once the ICO is finished all of the team may commit to working on the project full-time and focus on development, which would lower the level of risk for the project. Also, the Akropolis CEO stated in the official Telegram group that there are more team members to be included in the project closer to the ICO.

Development risks: The team is supposed to release the platform beta sometime by the end of 2018. As of April 2018, they do not yet have an MVP. Application, adoption and beta-testing/performance improvement of the product for enterprise use may require significant time and effort from the team.

Underestimation of expenses for marketing and legal sectors: The team estimates marketing expenses to be USD 2.5 million and legal/regulatory expenses to be USD 3.1 million. Both estimates assume that the hard cap of USD 25 million will be reached. However, the lack of exact marketing plans and the legal complexity of pensions systems in different countries may prove these expenses to be underestimated.

Based on the analysis performed and taking into consideration all risks associated with Akropolis project at the time of analysis (May2018) we assign the Akropolis project a “Stable +” rating. We would like to mention that once the major issues are resolved by the team (i.e. General Paper/Updated Whitepaper published; MVP released, etc.), the rating will need to be reviewed and reassessed.

 

General information about the Project and ICO

The Akropolis team is offering a decentralized blockchain platform with the aim to resolve the existing inefficiency and increase transparency in the existing pensions system using the advantages and features of blockchain. The platform will have two types of tokens associated with it – the Akropolis External Token (AKT) and the Akropolis Internal Token (AIT). The external system token (AKT) is a fixed supply token and will be used as a utility for several different purposes such as, onboarding and platform access, purchasing premium services on the platform, purchasing platform data and for the purposes of staking in various platform incentive mechanisms. AIT will be utilized as a stable coin within the system for the purposes of staking (to minimize volatility risks), accounting (to record cashflows of the instruments within the system) and as a bookkeeping tool. User’s funds within the system will be represented is AITs, not AKTs.

Website

Whitepaper

Twitter

Telegram

GitHub

LinkedIn

Medium

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the company does not have public accounts on Reddit and Bitcointalk (except for the bounty campaign), which is not crucial but nevertheless could advance the project feedback and discussion more.

 

Private sale/presale

ICO (public sale)

Start date

no data (Q3-Q4 2017)

TBA

End date

no data (Q3-Q4 2017)

TBA

Stage cap

no data (softcap reached)

no data

Token

AKT (ERC-20)

Token supply (for sale/total)

360,000,000 / 900,000,000

Soft cap

No data

Hard cap

USD 25,000,000

Token price

No data

USD 0.069

Bonus

No data

Not specified

Minimum investment

No data

Not specified

Maximum investment

No data

Not specified

Currencies accepted

ETH, others not specified

Restricted list

United States, China

The team has also launched a bounty campaign in which they are offering participants of the Akropolis Ambassador Campaign 1% of the tokens (up to USD 250,000) sold during the ICO. The Ambassador Campaign started on April 27th, 2018 and will last until the last day of the token sale. The pool allocation for the Ambassador Campaign is as follows:

Although bounty campaigns may have a negative impact on the short-term/mid-term token price, we believe that a 1% pool is not sufficient enough to endanger the token price significantly.

The fact that at the time of analysis (April 2018) the team did not have an MVP which is usually a red flag for potential investors. The project roadmap says that the MVP is to be released in Q2-Q3 2018. There is a certain degree of probability that the MVP will be released after the public sale, thus which would increase the risk for potential investors.

Also, there is only a limited amount of information available on the project’s official website. Exact start/end dates for the ICO, accepted currencies, applicable bonuses and other significant matters related to the ICO are not mentioned. However, the team has scheduled the ICO for Q2-Q3 2018, so they still have time to update this information before the ICO begins.

It is worth mentioning that Akropolis does not disclose the amount and the nature (equity/debt/tokens) of funding received from Angel Investors and tokens sold during resale round. In this regard we see the potential risk for investors as low.

Despite providing a link to GitHub, the team has not yet disclosed anything there. In an official Telegram group, the company’s representatives said that they are finalizing the audits and independent checks before openly publishing source code. Although it is acceptable that a company publishes its smart contract code not long before the ICO, the risk of unclear ICO terms and information can cause issues.

AKT will be supplied in the amount of 900,000,000 (nine hundred million) tokens, but the company intends to sell only 40% of that – 360,000,000 (three hundred sixty million) AKT tokens. The token distribution will be as follows:

The team specifies vesting terms for the team and its advisors, a vesting period of 18 months. We would like to note that the vesting terms for the team are not clear and no vesting terms are announced for reserve funds, partnerships, etc. (as of May 2018), which may be a potential red flag if the team does not update its terms of its ICO and smart contract before the start of the ICO.

The team and its advisors hold a reasonable stake with modest vesting, covering most of the milestones listed on the roadmap. The hard cap of USD 25,000,000 seems to be relatively modest for this project, especially given that its concept is so innovative and complex.

The team forecasts the future use of funds as follows:

The team’s intention to spend 50% of the funds on technology and talent seems fair due to the specifics of the pensions sector. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that the expected expenditures on marketing (USD 2.5 million) and legal/regulatory (USD 3.1 million) appear to be a bit underestimated. Assuming that the project’s target market is the whole world (or at least most of the developed countries), expenses related to promotion in each of these markets is more likely to be higher because a separate marketing campaign will probably need to be launched for each market. Legal and regulatory expenses also seem to be underestimated, in relation to the complexity of each country’s regulatory framework and the variety of pension plans, etc. However, the team may opt for gradual market exposure, e.g. start to focus on only one market at a time in order to address this risk.

 

Description of the Services and Scope of the Project

According to the description in the technical whitepaper, the platform will initially be built on Ethereum. The ultimate goal of the Akropolis project is to implement the technical solutions that use the most efficient and appropriate technologies to provide the necessary services and functions for the platform/ecosystem. The team does not rule out the possibility of applying solutions such as EOS, Cardano or Polkadot.

The main users of the platform will be private users (pension investors), pension funds, investment funds, asset tokenizers and external developers who will be rewarded for their contribution to the development of the platform. According to the project’s roadmap, the beta version of the Akropolis platform is planned to be launched in Q3-Q4 2018. The launch of a multi-currency wallet and basic services for smart contracts are also due at the same time.

The team specifies the following main agents of the platform in its whitepaper:

Individual User — The individual user represents a singular, non-institutional individual who uses the Akropolis platform for their pension savings.

Pension Funds (PFs) — Pension Funds are institutional entities that may (or may not) currently exist in the pension industry and who maintain their own platform and collection of users. These institutional funds will act similarly to individual users on the Akropolis platform.

Fund Managers (FMs) — Fund Managers are institutional entities charged with purchasing or acquiring assets on behalf of users and/or PFs. They must undergo stringent vetting processes to obtain access to the Akropolis platform and must regularly report on the assets under their management.

Asset Tokenizers — Assets procured on the Akropolis platform must be tokenized in order for the decentralized components of the system to function effectively. Asset Tokenizers hold assets, either directly or through verifiable third parties, whilst minting and distributing tokens which represent a share of the held asset. These are centralized entities that provide a source of truth to the blockchain layer (through the minting of tokens) and as such are key actors in the trust model of Akropolis.

Developers — Developers are community members who contribute to the Akropolis platform, building extended/advanced services for pension users.

The team intends to monetize the project through Premium Services Fees, Onboarding Fees, Enterprise License Fees and Performance Fees.

The Akropolis platform is designed to help users transition from existing pension infrastructures to a more flexible, transparent and accountable system. As such, the platform adopts a freemium model, whereby users can join, and the base services are offered for free. In addition to the base-level services, there will be extended(premium) services available on the platform. The range of extended services is expected to expand as the platform develops. The whitepaper states the following examples of premium services:

  • Ability to add beneficiaries (family members, partners, friends, charities).
  • Creation of Will/Testament Smart Contract (automatically assign holdings to a beneficiary in case of death).
  • Add a controller/manager (implement a programmatic power of attorney, allowing users to appoint a person or a group of people to manage investments).
  • The platform will incorporate stress-testing features for users, providing analysis of sector allocations and probable portfolio responses to extreme market/sector movements. It is expected that the basic options will be available to all users (perhaps for a small fee) while more advanced stress-testing will be available as premium services.
  • Cross-border assistance for expatriates, including access to information regarding the pension system in new host countries and tools for navigating inter-jurisdictional transitions.

There are four primary areas where fees will be charged within the Akropolis platform.

Premium Service Fees — While Akropolis adopts a freemium model for basic services, Premium Services are offered at an additional cost. These fees vary depending on the service offered.

Onboarding Fees — FMs who wish to participate in the Akropolis ecosystem will need to be on-boarded and vetted in accordance with strict governance and regulatory guidelines. A flat fee is charged in this process to cover the platform’s cost in undertaking the vetting process.

Enterprise License Fees — In comparison to the public Akropolis platform, an enterprise solution shall exist for PFs to manage and track their investments across the Akropolis platform. This enterprise solution will allow FMs to interact with specific PFs who wish to use a private or permissioned blockchain implementation, mainly for data privacy reasons. In this instance a license fee to use and access the platform will be charged to FMs and PFs.

Performance Fees — Performance fees are key in the Akropolis model to ensure that FMs are motivated to provide the best possible investment services to the Akropolis community. These fees will be based on transparent templates that will be released to FMs according to the performance of the assets under their management. This element can be automated on-chain using smart contracts, where fee withdrawals will be permitted based on the agreed value of the effective returns compared to an FMs expected/promised returns.

It is important to note that the  project’s whitepaper is not detailed enough in some areas. We believe that the whitepaper has the following problems:

  • Lack of justification for the need of the AKT token.
  • Absence of market research/competitor analysis (since there are no direct competitors/key markets analysis with key indicators, etc.).
  • The Roadmap, ICO details, and team and advisor composition are only published on the website, the whitepaper does not contain these details.
  • Unclear token and project economics (e.g. fees are not specified, usability of AKT tokens is questionable, etc.).
  • Forecast marketing activities and plans for product promotion are not detailed enough to carry out a full analysis and make the relevant conclusions, which are important for market acquisition.

The above issues and the absence of the MVP make the assessment of the product’s services and ecosystem almost impossible and significantly increases the level of risk for potential investors.

 

Market Review

4.1 Market analysis

As mentioned in Willis Towers Watsons study on global pension assets, which covered 22 pension markets (P22), the cumulative pension assets of these markets amounted to USD 41.4 trillion and outside of these 22 markets there is an additional USD 3 to 4 trillion in pension assets around the world. The United States is the largest market having 61% of the P22 assets. P22 pension assets grew by 13.1% compared to 2016.

According to the OECD’s 2017 “Pension Markets in Focus” report, the amount of assets in pension plans provide a measure of the size of the private pension market.  Contributions from plan members and their employers, and returns generated in financial markets, determine the amount of assets earmarked for financing the benefit payments of plan members upon their retirement. The largest amounts of assets set aside for retirement are found in some of the more advanced economies. Figure 1 shows that pension assets exceeded USD 1 trillion in six OECD countries in 2016: Australia, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States (Panel A).

As stated in the OECD report, the size of assets in funded and private pension plans relative to the size of the economy (i.e. GDP) is uneven worldwide. The ratio of pension assets to GDP provides an indicator of the relative importance of funded and private pension arrangements in a country. Assets in such arrangements exceeded the total GDP in 8 out of the 81 reporting countries in 2016: Australia, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland and the United States (Panel B). The value of assets in occupational plans in the United Kingdom was below the GDP. However, Levy (2017) suggests that the overall amount of pension assets including personal pension contracts provided by insurance companies was over 100% of the GDP over the last few years. By contrast, the size of funded and private pension arrangements was still limited in 50 reporting countries (mostly in Europe, Asia and a selection of African countries) representing less than 20% of the GDP in 2016.

According to the OECD, private pensions have however expanded at different speeds worldwide. The largest increases in percentage points of GDP occurred in countries where pension assets already represented the highest share of GDP (Figure 2).

4.2 Competitive landscape.

As of May 2018, there is only one project which may be considered as a potential competitor in the pensions market for Akropolis and this project is Auctus. Below is a comparison table for both of these projects.

 

Akropolis

Auctus

Project type

Blockchain infrastructure platform

Blockchain asset management platform

Key functions

Infrastructure for a transparent decentralized pension system for the benefit of funds/fund managers and investors

Asset management, marketplace, robo/human advisory for the purposes of retirement plan investing

Key users

Fund managers, pension funds, investors

Private investors

Key products

Traditional private pension assets

Traditional pension assets / cryptocurrency assets

Development stage

No MVP yet

Alpha released

ICO status

Presale ended

ICO ended

Capitalization

(as of ICO date/hard cap)

Unknown / USD 25 million

6,656.2 ETH (USD 4.6 million) / 7,500 ETH (USD 5.1 million)

Product launch

2019

2019

At the time of writing (May 2018), the market for Akropolis was not very competitive. Both Akropolis and Auctus can coexist peacefully as these projects are solving different problems in the pension market and actually have different submarket focuses. Besides, the pension assets market is too big for just two competitors to fight over.

The main challenge for all projects like Akropolis and Auctus would be getting governments and society to accept blockchain-based platforms for retirement savings.

 

Team

The creation of the world’s first pensions blockchain platform requires significant effort and expertise from the team behind it. The Akropolis team seems to be qualified enough to deliver such project.

However, we must mention the fact that the capability of the team to deliver such a complex project will be easier to assess once the MVP is released. Without the MVP the risk of not meeting the roadmap milestones or even failing altogether, remain relatively significant.

It should be noted that a number of team members do not disclose their participation with the Akropolis project. Several team members hold positions in other companies/startups which may jeopardize their involvement in the Akropolis project. However, all of the team may work full-time on the project, once the public sale has ended and they are able to focus on development. Based on our discussion with the team in the official Telegram group, not all of the team members are listed on the official Akropolis site and not all of the team members have updated their profiles on LinkedIn or deem it important to do so either.

Anastasia Andrianova

Founder & CEO

Founder of Akropolis IO. Advisor to Dr Gavin Wood's Web3Foundation. An experienced private equity professional with strong interest in decentralization and blockchain. She has analyzed and transacted over USD 3.5bn and advised on over USD 300m of acquisitions. Board member of a regulated private equity fund. Always open to new board member or advisory opportunities. Member of the Blockchain Ecosystem Network. Anastasia worked for the Lehman Brothers, United Nations and Commerzbank. She graduated from the University of Oxford in 2007.

Sandra Wu

Senior Advisor to the CEO and General Counsel

Sandra has over 10 years of legal experience in M&A, corporate & securities law, and private equity fund formation. She was previously the Head of Legal and Chief Compliance Officer for a global asset management company managing more than USD 23bn under advisement in the Asia Pacific region. She has worked for the Mercer Fund Foundation and Weil Gotshal & Manges. She graduated from the University of Sydney.

Sandra does not disclose her advisory role at Akropolis on her LinkedIn page.

Peter Robertson

Pensions Lead

Peter has over 25 years of experience in asset management and life insurance in Europe, North America and Asia. His recent engagements cover ETFs, acting as an interim CEO, developing a new UK investment proposition, D2C distribution strategy, and the evolution of UK advice, auto-enrolment and platforms. He previously played an integral role in startups in UK, Germany, India and China. He is a former CEO of a listed company in Malaysia and has served on a number of Boards in the UK and Asia. He also worked for the Vanguard Group for more than 5 years. Peter has been involved in the pension industry in Europe, Asia, and the USA in various capacities, including designing innovative and low-cost solutions for UK DC pension investors, as an administrator of corporate and individual pension plans, and as a pension scheme trustee in the Eurozone and Asia. Peter graduated from King’s College, London.

Peter does not state his association with the Akropolis project on his LinkedIn profile, however he does state that he is now a consultant at his firm, P&S Robertson Ltd.

Aylon Morley

 Business Development

Aylon is an active member in the Blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem, having worked extensively with Fintech and Blockchain start-ups globally. For the last 11 years, he has served as the Tech Investment Director for Wentworth Hall, a London-based family office that specializes in private equity ventures and startup investing. With more than 16 years of experience in the capital markets, Aylon previously worked as a senior analyst for Reuters and as a Business Development Director for Granite Alphen Capital, an algorithmic hedge fund.

He graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Aylon does not mention his affiliation with the Akropolis project on his LinkedIn profile.

Abhimanyu Dayal

Head of Strategy

Abhimanyu is a Finance graduate who has been heavily involved in the bitcoin/blockchain space since 2013. He recently founded a blockchain and real estate research company Estatechain, which addressed the ongoing issue of liquidity in real estate investment markets. He has extensive experience in working with companies in the Blockchain sector. Abhimanyu has also been passionate about managing client investment portfolios and has served as an Investment Advisor for Interfacemax which is one of the largest crypto funds based out of India. In addition, he has worked with Bitnation as a Decentralized Application Fund manager and a crypto-economic advisor in creating a decentralized blockchain application governance protocol. Abhimanyu has previously held positions such as Director of European Operations for Bitcoin ATM machine company, Coinoutlet and a Product Designer for automated governance protocol in Bitnation. He graduated from the University of Leicester in 2016.

Chris McClure

 

 Head of Marketing

Chris has led marketing and communication teams across heavily regulated industries like healthcare. He worked as a marketing specialist at Svandis, Vice President of Global Sales at SidekickHealth, Chief Marketing Officer at Oxymap, Senior Director of Analytics at GetWellNetwork and Director of Research at the Health Management Academy. He also serves as an Advisor to Medilync and Íslandsstofa and he also a board member of the Icelandic Blockchain Foundation. He graduated from Yale University in 2011.

Chris does not disclose his participation in the Akropolis project on his LinkedIn profile.

Adrian Manning

Head of Blockchain R&D

Adrian completed his PhD in theoretical particle physics at the University of Sydney, where he leveraged his long-term interests in applied mathematics, computer science and artificial intelligence to analyze and solve complex problems. Specializing in blockchain technologies, cryptography and information security, Adrian's expertise in physics and mathematics now supports his work at Sigma Prime.

Adrian does not include his participation in the Akropolis project in his LinkedIn profile.

Paul Hauner

Smart Contract Development and Audit

Paul is a multi-disciplined software engineer with extensive experience as a lead developer for critical systems in the corporate, military and health sectors. As a freelance software developer and technology consultant, Paul implemented systems for a diverse range of institutions, including major banks and a government cybersecurity operations center. Paul was an early adopter of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies and has experience in all phases of blockchain service implementation. Possessing particular expertise on the Ethereum network, Paul is experienced in smart contract development, testing and implementation.

Paul has no LinkedIn profile available for review and his association with Akropolis cannot be confirmed. However, his GitHub profile is available and his expertise in blockchain and Ethereum are illustrated and supported there.

Mehdi Zerouali

Cybersecurity Lead

During his time as a penetration tester at Ernst & Young's advisory department, he performed hundreds of penetration tests on corporate networks and applications across a range of industries including financial services, telecommunications, and the public sector. Mehdi's professionalism and expertise resulted in his rapid rise to management in EY's Advanced Security Centre where he nurtured the firm's next generation of ethical hackers. Since joining Sigma Prime, Mehdi’s focus has changed to blockchain technology, especially the Ethereum platform. He graduated from Institut National des Sciences Appliquees de Lyon in 2011.

Mehdi does not post his connection to the Akropolis project on his LinkedIn profile.

Jay Mehta

Content and Community Management

Jay served as Media Marketing Manager at Blackmoon Financial Group and Community Manager at Polybius. He graduated from the University of Wolverhampton in 2013.

Victor Wiebe

Blockchain Developer

Victor has built apps for Intel and ESPN. He worked at Trimble Inc, where he created emergency response software that kept lone workers, north of the arctic circle, safe over satellite. We would like to note that Victor does not have significant exposure to blockchain development. He graduated from the University of Calgary.

Key project advisors

Ian Grigg

 

Blockchain / Technical Advisor

Ian is a noted financial cryptographer, having entered the space in 1995. He invented the Ricardian Contract as a process to capture all of the prose in a legal contract of issuance and permit unique identification among many competing issues without the need for a centralized registry. Ian has worked for R3, a $100m+ blockchain consortium of the largest financial services firms and technology companies in the world. Leading investors included SBI Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC, Intel and Temasek. At R3, Ian developed early architecture, he continues to consult with leading firms in the blockchain sphere and he is currently a partner at a USD 200m post-ICO venture, Block One (EOS).

Kate Kurbanova

Advisor

Kate is Head of Analytics at Cindicator. Together with her team, she is reinventing the approach to financial analysis, creating the world’s first ecosystem run by Hybrid Intelligence. Kate knows that crypto traders, investors and analysts today face an unprecedented challenge in researching and processing the vast range of information sources that inhabit the crypto space. She was one of the main drivers of the Cindicator token sale in September 2017 and she continues to be a deep analyst of current token sales’ changes as her team analyses all ICOs worth noticing every day. She is also a Product Advisor at Svandis.

Bokky Poobah

Security Advisor

Bokky is a world-renowned blockchain and smart contract security expert, who rescues trapped ETH on a regular basis. He is also an active Ethereum community leader. Bokky has been working on the ETH Blockchain since it's platform launch in 2015. The prospect of transacting monetary value over a trusted Ethereum platform by means of smart a contract is what excites him the most. Bokky is also a respect smart contract security auditor, having developed and audited smart contracts for over 20 companies, including Status, Cindicator, Stox and many more. Bokky is an Actuary and Quantitative Software Developer with over 28 years of industry experience with expertise in fixed interest & derivatives in risk management and trading systems, and other blockchain technologies. He is working to bring decentralized trustless exchanges and traditional fiat financial instruments to the Ethereum platform and is currently editing "Mastering Ethereum" with Andreas M. Antonopolous and Gavin Wood.

Bokky does not have a LinkedIn profile and his participation in Akropolis project cannot be confirmed.

Ros Altman

Pensions Advisor

Former UK Minister of State for Pensions 2015-16, currently Expert on Pensions to the House of Lords, Baroness Altmann is an experienced Investment Professional and Economist, driven by the desire to improve policy for ordinary people and ensuring good value for customers. Ros started her career as an academic at University College London, London School of Economics and at Harvard University, researching and publishing on UK pension policy, occupational pensions and retirement. After this, Ros managed institutional investment portfolios for 15 years, including pension funds, insurance funds and mutual funds, as well as advising central banks and private client fund managers. She was Head of International Equities at Chase Manhattan’s International Investment Operation in London, and a Director at Rothschild Asset Management and at NatWest Investment Management.

Ros does not list her involvement in the Akropolis project on her LinkedIn profile.

Marcus Killick

Legal Advisor

Marcus is an English Barrister, a member of the New York State Bar, a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments, a member of the Chartered Management Institute (Diploma in Management and Leadership), and a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute. Marcus was awarded an OBE in the 2014 New Year’s Honors List. Marcus was also Chairman of the Gibraltar Investors Compensation Scheme, the Gibraltar Deposit Guarantee Board and the Group of International Insurance Centre Supervisors. Marcus is also a director of Kalphe Advisory Ltd, Kalphe Properties Ltd and Callaghan Insurance Brokers Ltd. Prior roles include Deputy Chief Executive of the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission, Head of Banking and Investments at the Cayman Island Monetary Authority and Director of KPMG’s Financial International Regulatory Services Team. Marcus was one of the founding directors of the United Kingdom Association of Compliance Officers (subsequently renamed the Compliance Institute). He was also principle author of two Transparency International’s reports on Money Laundering.

Marcus does not acknowledge his advisory role in the Akropolis project on his LinkedIn profile.

Saber Aria

Advisor

Saber is the founder of a prominent digital marketing agency and an advertising software company, each with a diverse portfolio of clients including several fortune 500 companies. He is the co-founder of Beyond Blocks, a global conference for blockchain enthusiasts, investors, and developers.

Saber does not disclose his participation in the Akropolis project on his LinkedIn page.

Roderic van der Graaf

Fintech / VC Advisor

Roderik has been involved in the crypto assets market since 2014, both as an investor and advisor. He has advised Beetoken, DML, NapoleonX, and Svandis. He also advises pioneering Korean blockchain company Blocko and is a member of the Argo Foundation council (which oversees Blocko’s Argo protocol). At the end of 2017 he founded Lemniscap, an advisory/investment firm in the blockchain space.

Roderic does not include his association with the project as an Advisor in his LinkedIn profile. In fact, he actually only lists just one of his advisory roles, his advisory role at Blocko, in his LinkedIn profile. He does not mention any of his other advisory roles, past or present.

Prabhakar Reddy

VC and Crypto Advisor

Prabhakar is a Seed/Early stage investor at Accel. Prabhakar has been a Serial Entrepreneur all his professional life, with over 9 years of experience running successful digital-media and online video platforms. He sold his first startup in 2008 while still an Undergrad and scaled his second start up to the Top 100 websites in the world, having bootstrapped it into a USD 5m ARR venture in under 3 years. More recently, Prabhakar co-founded Dramatize, a Bollywood content streaming platform, which he left to BookMyShow – India’s largest ticket booking platform. Prabhakar has an MBA from Harvard Business School, and also holds a Bachelors of Engineering degree in Electronics & Instrumentation. At the age of 20, he won the “Dubai Software Development Trade Show 2008” in Dubai.

Prabhakar does not mention his position as Advisor to Akropolis on his LinkedIn profile.

Steven Reynolds

Partnerships

Steven brings his extensive leadership experience from the military and financial services sectors to the unique challenges surrounding the digital asset space. Steve has extensive experience in business development, communications, public relations, and crisis management. His steady hand helped to guide Binance through a period of explosive growth and uncertainty all while managing their customer facing communications and media channels. His online presence during US hours facilitated Binance’s rapid rise to the #1 exchange in the world.

Steve’s LinkedIn profile states that he is currently Head of Operations at Akropolis.

The experience and expertise off the project is diversified, extensive and covers all major areas where advice may be needed. Advisors include several notable names like Steven C. Reynolds (Binance), Ian Grigg (EOS) and Bokky Poobah.

ISOLAS, PwC Hong Kong, King & Wood Mallesons are all advising Akropolis on legal, tax, and token sale matters. Kenetic Capital and PrimeBlockCapital are early backers, and Kenetic Capital are also advisors too.

 

Token Analysis

There are two types of tokens within the Akropolis platform. The Akropolis external Token (AKT), which primarily facilitates the actions of external users participating in the system, and the Akropolis Internal Token (AIT), which abstractly represents a stable coin and is also a bookkeeping mechanism used to track and record capital flows in the system.

The Akropolis External Token (AKT) is a fixed-supply token which will be traded on exchanges. AKTs can be used for:

  • Onboarding and platform access.
  • Purchasing premium services on the platform.
  • Purchasing platform data.
  • Staking various platform incentive mechanisms.

The main purpose of the AKT is to serve as an onboarding utility token that allows participants to access the platform. However, the team specifies that the platform will operate on a freemium model by default, meaning that individual users are able to use the system without AKT tokens. All expenses relating to the basic operations in the freemium model will be paid for by the Akropolis Foundation. This model is introduced in order to make sure that all individuals that wish to do so, can access the platform. Individual users will also have access to a number of extended services offered on the platform which will require AKTs. The team notes that a mechanism is required to decouple the price of the volatile AKT to the fixed stable cost of services on the platform. In the initial implementation, a price oracle will perform this task.

The team expects that as the platform matures, the amount of users’ data will increase both on and off chain. This data will be valuable to a variety of external agencies and options will be available to monetize the data (i.e., receive rewards for delivering data access), for the users’ benefit. Users that opt-in to share selected parts of their data will be rewarded with AKTs.

AKT can be used as a staking token, however, this exposes its users to an unnecessary volatility risk. A mechanism that punishes good performers is unlikely to prove successful, as the users will be risk-averse. Therefore, the team believes that there is a need for a stable token which is immune to volatility.

The Akropolis Internal Token (AIT) is an independent token which abstractly represents an arbitrary stable coin. This token is supposed to give participants a volatile-free option when engaging with staking incentive mechanisms. AITs will also serve as a bookkeeping tool within the system. User’s funds are represented digitally by AITs (i.e., users acquire AITs after depositing funds into the system) which can be converted to other tokens that represent ownership in different asset classes. AITs will be able to be exchanged for both cryptocurrency and fiat deposits and will fundamentally act as an internal accounting tool whose audit trail lies on the public blockchain. The AITs will be entirely independent from the AKTs.

The three main incentive mechanisms that will be initially deployed are:

Onboarding/Vetting: Pension products demand a certain type and caliber of institutional fund management (FM). Therefore, it is vital that the Akropolis onboarding and compliance processes, which dictate who is allowed to manage and advise users’ funds on the Akropolis platform, are not only thorough but also in line with the pension-based regulatory frameworks for the relevant jurisdictions. Akropolis proposes an onboarding/vetting system that requires candidate FMs to stake either AIT or AKT. The staked tokens will be held for the duration of the FMs engagement with the Akropolis system. To be commercially viable, it is envisioned that this stake should be proportional to the traditional cost funds must pay to adhere to the standard compliance and regulatory demands during their partnerships with clients.

The overall goals of this staking mechanism are:

  • To provide a barrier of entry for funds applying to participate in the system, to avoid excess costs in vetting un-suitable fund applicants.
  • To enforce reputable behavior once acting within the platform.

However, at the time of writing (May 2018), it is unclear why fund managers would opt for AKT instead of AIT because AKT is obviously volatile whereas AIT is stable.

Asset Reporting: As with traditional systems, fund managers will be required to regularly report on the state of their asset portfolio. The Akropolis platform will incorporate protocols to incentivize accountable reporting by FMs. FMs will be able to stake tokens as part of the reporting process, with the stake serving as a bounty for individuals/entities able to demonstrate inaccuracies within the report. Similar to the onboarding stake, the amount staked by FMs during reporting may be optional but will serve to represent the FMs confidence in, and commitment to, the validity of their report.

Ranking and Reputation: Any user who is managing funds/assets on the Akropolis platform must be extensively reviewed to comply with both internal platform standards and all relevant laws and regulations. In addition to ensuring platform users that all FMs engaged with the platform are regulatory compliant, Akropolis also provides a ranking system for FMs on the system. Expected performance, actual performance relative to expected performance and other measures allow for the construction of a single, overall ranking of all FMs on the platform.

Asset Tokenization: The team expects that users will acquire AITs after depositing funds into the system. These AITs will be used to acquire tokens representing various pension products provided by pension funds. Token ownership entitles users to the underlying assets but also gives them access to services, features and products offered by funds. Regulatory and practical requirements will require different degrees of monitoring over the diverse range of asset classes.

The application of the AKT token seems reasonable, users will have to have this token if they want to benefit from the Akropolis platform. In theory, it may be replaced by, for example, Ethereum, but the project having its own internal currency in the platform is reasonable.

We identified the following key factors that may affect the token price:

Factor

Description

Price effect

Development and release of new products according to the roadmap

The Akropolis ICO is expected to take place in Q2-Q3 2018 and the MVP may be released shortly after that. The B2C Beta and B2B pilot project are expected to be released by the end of 2018. Whether or not the team meets these milestones and the level of product development at each stage will either drive the token price up or down.

Demand for the platform

Currently it is hard to predict the demand for the platform once it is released in 2019. The main concern is that pensions is a highly regulated industry around the world and the regulatory frameworks change from country to country, meaning the Akropolis platform will have to comply with all of these regulations.  However, the company has no direct competitors at the moment.

Sales of tokens by the team, advisors and partners

50% of the tokens are reserved for early backers and advisors (10%), the team (20%), reserve fund and partners (20%). A vesting period is set for the team only, so potential sales from advisors/partners/reserve fund and, eventually, the team may lead the token price down.

Vesting conditions for reserves, advisors, partners are not specified

An absence of vesting conditions for partners, advisors, and reserve funds may result in the spontaneous sale of tokens once the project is listed on an exchange which may cause prices to drop significantly, for (hopefully) a short period of time.

Limited token supply

Assuming that the company develops the platform as intended, many pension products will be listed on the platform, market penetration is high enough and the demand for the solution is sufficient but a, limited token supply will result in a long-term deflation of the token price.

 

Volatility of crypto market

Although the token does not have speculative purposes, the high volatility of crypto markets may cause traders and speculative investors to trade AKT which may lead to fluctuations in the price of AKT or even speculative activities (pump & dump, etc.).

 

Risks

Based on our analysis we identified the following risks for the project:

Risk

Description

Level

Absence of MVP

At the time of analysis (May 2018), the team has not yet released an MVP, which is expected to be released in Q2-Q3 2018, according to the project’s roadmap. The absence of the MVP seriously jeopardizes the ability to assess the team’s competencies, the capabilities of the product, the level of product development and other crucial factors that investors in an ICO must consider before making an investment decision. Once the MVP is released, and the team’s progress is transparent, the level of risk of the project may go down

High

Legal / commercial risks

 

Pensions is a highly regulated industry in all countries around the world and the legal frameworks vary significantly from country to country. In addition to that, pensions is a rather conservative industry, and there may be yet unforeseen difficulties with the introduction of the platform in different markets, including difficulties with acceptance by society.

High

Unclear ICO details, terms and conditions. Smart contract code on GitHub not available.

 

The team is not transparent on its website and some keys terms and information are not clear in the whitepaper too. E.g., start and end dates are not specified and bonuses (if any) are not mentioned. The terms of the presale stage were not specified, either. Also, the smart contract code on GitHub is not available for public review. The team says that the smart contract code  will be available soon on GitHub. At the time of analysis, we assessed this risk as Medium, although if the team discloses the respective contract code and updates its website regarding the key ICO terms before the launch of the public sale, these risks may have decreased at that point.

Medium

Incomprehensive whitepaper

  • Lack of justification of the need for the AKT token.
  • Absence of market/competitor analysis (since there are no direct competitors, or key geographical market analysis with key indicators, etc.).
  • The Roadmap, team and advisor composition, and ICO details are published on the website only, the whitepaper does not contain these details.
  • Unclear token and project economics (e.g. fees are not specified, usability of AKT tokens, etc.).
  • The forecast of marketing activities and plans for product promotion are not detailed enough to carry out an analysis and make the relevant conclusions, which is important for market acquisition.

Given that there is no MVP yet, all of the above significantly increase risks for investors. However, the team is going to release a General Paper as well as an updated whitepaper before the ICO is launched, which may answer some or all of the above questions.

Medium

Team composition/ competency

 

The team has ambitious plans in terms of the complexity and deadlines of the project. They plan to release the MVP in Q2-Q3 2018 and the beta product by the end of 2018. Without the MVP it is hard to assess if those deadlines are feasible given that there are only 4 developers. In addition to that, several team members do not state the Akropolis project as their current employer which creates risks associated with part-time involvement. But when the ICO is finished the team may commit to full-time work and focus on development, which might cause the risk level to decrease. The Akropolis CEO stated in its official Telegram group that there are more team members still to be included in the development closer to the ICO.

Medium

Development risks

The team is supposed to release the platform beta sometime by the end of 2018. As of April 2018, they do not yet have an MVP. Application, adoption and beta-testing/performance improvement of the product may require significant time and effort from the team.

Medium

Forecast expenses may be understated

The team estimates its marketing expenses in the amount of USD 2.5 million and legal/regulatory expenses in the amount of USD 3.1 million – both estimates assume that the hard cap of USD 25 million is reached. However, the absence of exact marketing plans and the legal complexity of pensions systems in different countries may prove these expenses to be underestimated.

Medium

Token price decrease

There are no fundamental factors that indicate that token price will face significant pressure. However, failure to meet deadlines in the roadmap or difficulties/delays in product launch in different countries may lead to a decrease in token price.

Low

Risk of new entrants into the market from pension funds/asset managers

There is some risk that key pension fund managers and/or asset managers will begin development of their own pension blockchain solution, once governments begin to accept the use of blockchain solutions, and if they have the resources to do that. If by that time Akropolis is not yet developed/implemented, the potential market for Akropolis becomes congested with possible new competitors.

Low

Vesting conditions for advisors and partners are not specified

The Akropolis project has a vastly experienced and knowledgeable advisors and partners. Their long-term advice would be very helpful for the Akropolis team to succeed, and their long-term involvement is usually guaranteed by the respective vesting conditions for advisors.

Low

 

 

The information contained in the document is for informational purposes only. The views expressed in this document are solely personal stance of the ICOrating Team, based on data from open access and information that developers provided to the team through Skype, email or other means of communication.

Our goal is to increase the transparency and reliability of the young ICO market and to minimize the risk of fraud.

We appreciate feedback with constructive comments, suggestions and ideas on how to make the analysis more comprehensive and informative.