Alethena Rating Review
|Start ICO||06 Jun 2018|
|End ICO||27 Jun 2018|
We assign Alethena a “Risky” rating.
Alethena is a Swiss rating agency for ICO projects.
Alethena declares full transparency and independence of rating and plans to review the ratings of previously evaluated projects as long as the suggested adjustments were made. The Alethena platform has clear and pre-defined criteria according to which a rating is assigned to a particular project. Any ICO project that purchases a service on the platform does not know about its rating in advance. Another method of monetization will be a subscription service for ordinary users which will provide them with extended project information. The platform provided some prototype evaluations of projects before its ICO which allows us to have some idea of the future product.
Alethena is staging its ICO to finance the project by offering investors ATH security tokens which gives them the right to participate in the distribution of a part of the project's profit in the form of dividends and the right to vote at online meetings of the token holders.
The project has done a lot of work in the legal field. The project team looks balanced and capable of realizing the main idea of the project. However, none of the team members are well-known representatives of the crypto industry and the project itself is relatively unknown outside of Switzerland.
One of the major shortcomings of the project is its lack of significant competitive advantages. The criteria for evaluating ICO projects, is generally the same as the entire market, transparency and independence are declared by all rating agencies and the content of the MVP presented is not much different that of its counterparts. The project does not yet have a reputation or attendance of the resource. The sector in which Alethena is planning to work is extremely complex, there is a high dependence on business linkage, experience, quality of analytics, etc. The existing competitive environment and the decline in requests for independent analytical ratings complicate the task of occupying a significant market share.
We also note the lack of information related to the future cash flows of Alethena, the price of services and other financial information. Openness in this area is extremely necessary when the token has a security function. Currently, due to the lack of a business plan and other financial information, it will be impossible for investors to estimate the value of the purchased volume of tokens, since the return on future investments is not known.
The project states that it needs a Hard Cap of 30 million francs for product development but we did not see sufficient explanations for where these funds will go and why there is such a vast difference between it and the Soft Cap. In addition, the low level of marketing and their rush to stage the ICO may result in small amount of funds raised during the Token Sale, also the utility feature of the token could have potential risks if it is further listed.
Project and ICO description
The Alethena project developed by the Swiss company Equility AG. It provides users with a new service for the evaluation of ICO projects. In essence, the Alethena product is conceived as a rating agency that conducts a comprehensive evaluation of ICO projects and post-ICO monitoring. Alethena promises to present its own methodology for project analysis, distinguished by deep elaboration and structuring expressed both by the professionalism of analysts and specific fragmentation into separate analytical sections corresponding to various aspects of different ICO projects.
The Alethena project offers a solution to the well-known problem of the crypto market in connection with the recent growth of activity in this sector: the number of ICO projects has grown to such an extent that potential investors find it increasingly difficult to identify the most promising projects and invest in them. Furthermore, the knowledge, financial literacy and investment experience of investors are not always sufficient for carrying out a competent analysis and evaluation of projects, which also makes it difficult to choose between numerous ICOs.
Alethena is going to raise funds through the forthcoming ICO with the expectation that the Ethereum blockchain will provide a rational and qualitative solution to the problems encountered the project team. In this case, the rating system is planned to be built on fair and equally transparent assessment conditions which will allow the project to consolidate its reputation and gain market recognition.
Alethena seeks to interest investors who are interested in the development of blockchain technologies and investors who share the vision of the project and understand the importance of the solution offered.
The Alethena project will provide an up-to-date rating for planned ICO projects and continuous monitoring of their effectiveness after the ICO. Investors will have access to a personalized information portal for a paid subscription. They will be provided with detailed analytical information on the projects, the history of their investments in projects, information on their participation in tokenized voting within the system and targeted advertising.
The evaluation of ICO projects is divided into the following expert areas:
- Technical component of the project.
- Commercial component of the project.
- Legal component of the project.
- Management component of the project.
As a source of income, the project considers the following sources of funds:
- Payment for the rating.
- Quarterly fee for post-ICO listing of projects.
- Quarterly fee for access to detailed project information.
The issued token is a security token that does not carry a utility function and is used to raise capital for project development. The token allows participation in voting within the framework of the platform, otherwise it will perform a security function.
The project has announced an MVP, presented in the form of an account with access to the evaluated projects. The MVP gives a general impression of how the analysis of projects will be carried out and what result will be provided to the users of the service in the end.
The project team, as well as the main functions of the service, will be discussed in the following sections.
Pre-ICO start: 23.05.2018
Pre-ICO end: 30.05.2018
ICO start: 06.06.2018
ICO end: 27.06.2018
Token name: ATH
Soft cap: 3,000,000 CHF
Hard cap: 30,000,000 CHF
ICO price: 0.01 CHF/ATH
Accepted currencies: BTC, ETH
23.05. – 30.05
20% Bonus (120 ATH / CHF 1)
15% Bonus (115 ATH / CHF 1)
10% Bonus (110 ATH / CHF 1)
5% Bonus (105 ATH / CHF 1)
Standard Rate (100 ATH / CHF 1)
Project services and their scope
As already mentioned, Alethena is a new service for the examination and rating of ICO projects and post-ICO tracking of their indicators.
We will take a closer look at the implementation of analysis and evaluation of projects and present the main aspects of Alethena project’s methodology.
The projects pay a fixed sum, equal for everyone, to receive an evaluation report from the Alethena service. Projects will be assigned a rating in the range from 1 to 10, with the level of an attractive investment going from 7 and higher.
The Alethena service is building its rating system in 4 areas of project evaluation: technical, commercial, legal and management.
Technical analysis is aimed at assessing the extent to which the potential of the blockchain technology is implemented within the framework of a particular project, since this is the determining factor for the future success of a project. Most of the potential investors find it difficult to fully appreciate the use of blockchain technology which causes difficulties in choosing projects.
When evaluating the solution used in the project, Alethena will analyze the following two aspects:
- Technical flexibility, whether the approach to software development leaves room for the future adaptability of the project.
- The sustainability and independence of the network is determined by the choice of a consensus protocol and the nature of its use within the network.
The business analysis of a project involves studying the strategy of project monetization and the proposed set of measures for product implementation. From this point of view the following analyses will be conducted:
- Analysis of the market the project enters. To evaluate the project, the market, its specifics and scope, as well as study the competitive environment.
- Analysis of the product itself. Research of the main product and the degree of its maturity: the availability of a prototype, MVP or finished product. Evaluation of open source code, if any.
- Analysis of the principles of the business’s operating model. The monetization strategy of the project is evaluated in detail.
- Perspective analysis. In addition to the short-term prospects of the project solution, it also considers the future and potential of the product as such and against the backdrop of market trends.
The legal regulation of cryptocurrencies in different countries is organized in different ways which involves an analysis of how the project solves this issue and what risks can exist from an investment point of view.
Moreover, many projects stage an ICO without registering their own legal entity, which can also carry serious risks for investors. Therefore, legal issues need to be carefully assessed.
The issues of organization of activities also require careful consideration:
- The analysis of a project team (managers, developers, advisors) makes it possible to understand whether a project team is competent and that their experience and education meet the level of the declared project. The organizational structure and size of the team is also assessed.
- Openness of information about a project is one of the factors of trust in projects. Therefore, it is supposed to study all available information about a project: the team, the roadmap, open source code, business plans and financial models.
- The presentation of a project is evaluated in terms of success of the project in relation to promotion issues. This includes evaluating the effectiveness of marketing and PR, project promotion both on the Internet and via specialized forums and events, submission of material in the Whitepaper.
- Project linkages (strategic partners and networking) are also studied in the analysis, since they are an independent evaluation of a project by third parties.
A cutting from the MVP is presented below. The SwissRealCoin project was evaluated and rated in the framework of the MVP.
As we see, a score is given for each of the four criteria.
At the top there is general information about the project, scores for each of the sections and a diagram with the comparative characteristics of the project being evaluated and its analogues.
Unfortunately, the prices of subscriptions and listing on the platform are not known at this stage.
We note that the services offered by the project do not have the proper degree of uniqueness. Most rating agencies that evaluate ICO projects use a similar methodology. Either way, rating agencies assess the above criteria, competing in quality of analytics, reputation, presentation format, etc. The current project services do not have any profitable differences from what is currently offered on the market.
Alethena is entering the market of rating agencies in the field of ICO projects. This market is largely related to the market of cryptocurrency in general and the market of ICO projects in particular. This is due to the fact that the interest in rating agencies depends directly on the expectations of users based on activity in the crypto market. Therefore, speaking about the market environment, we will be guided by the state of the crypto market and ICO projects.
The situation of the crypto market can hardly be estimated unambiguously, much less predicted. Against the backdrop of peak market capitalization at the turn of 2017-2018, the current market situation stabilized and fluctuates in value customary for cryptocurrencies.
At the time of writing, the volume of the entire Crypto market had reached almost $380 billion according to CoinMarketCap.com. Nevertheless, the total market capitalization has ranged from $240 billion to $470 billion over the past 3 months, which makes it difficult to judge the volumes of the market in question.
In addition to the general situation in the crypto market, the situation with the ICO market and the use of the ICO as a mechanism for attracting investments is somewhat different. Staging an ICO to raise funds for the development of a project gradually replaces the habitual seeding and venture financing and becomes the main way of raising funds.
In Q1 2018, $3.3 billion was attracted by ICO staging - almost half of the total attraction for the whole of last year. However, the market is becoming more complicated:
- The average amount of funding fell by twice as much in March when compared with January and February.
- Most projects collected less than half a million dollars during their ICOs in Q1 2018, which accelerates the trend for the 4th quarter of 2017. The number of such projects amounted to more than 50% of all ICO campaigns in the 1st quarter of 2018.
- 83% of tokens traded below the ICO price.
The number of quality ICOs is declining, so is the return on ICO investment. Undoubtedly, the general volatility of this market will affect demand for the described product due to the changing expectations of participants, legal regulation issues and market news.
Alethena stages its ICO to raise funds for development and issue the ATH token. Nevertheless, there is no reason to believe that the tokenized nature of the project distinguishes it from its market counterparts.
In this sense, we consider all websites offering similar services as competitors of the project. There are both services that attracted funding in the framework of ICO funding, as well as services that are financed by the funds of the founders.
Competition in the ICO analytics market is high. Much here depends not only on the quality of the platform itself but also on brand recognition, reputation, quality of expertise and distinctive features that prevent the project from merging with other projects in the eyes of consumers.
Guided by the attendance data of various rating services, as well as the popularity among users and the activity of discussion on the Web, the following popular and credible services can be considered:
A rating service, evaluating ICO projects including such indicators as hype, risk and profit potential. The website provides a brief explanation of the rating and the main aspects of project evaluation.
A social platform for rating ICO projects. The main value of the resource is that the website collects a large number of expert ICO assessments approved by the ICObench project. In addition to a brief description of the essence of projects and ICO details, ICObench offers an average rating of projects based on a variety of expert assessments (including the site's own bot). Despite the fact that ICObench has developed a methodology for evaluating projects, which should be followed by experts on the website, the final result is often chaotic and uninformative.
An agency involved in the multifaceted evaluation of ICO projects. The result of the service, in addition to the rating, is an analytical review devoted to a detailed analysis of the project. The target audience of the project is, in many respects, professional ICO investors. The Agency has its own methodology for evaluating projects and it is guided by similar principles of aspect analysis, which is subsequently combined into a single rating evaluation.
The website is dedicated to analytics in the field of cryptocurrency. The rating of ICO projects takes one of the sections of the website. The rating of projects is not displayed but there is a conclusion and a review on the projects. The evaluation of projects by this service is more analytical and interesting in the long term.
A rating agency that also puts a rating together with indicators such as boom rate and risk rate and gives brief information about the project.
A service for rating ICO projects. The evaluation is partially done in an automated mode and partially by the project experts.
In addition to the above examples of rating services, there are similar resources in the market that allow investors to get an impression of the ICO being staged.
Essentially, in addition to direct competition with its counterparts, the Alethena project will inevitably face numerous sources of indirect competition. These sources include ICO listing resources (which allows them to have more coverage), as well as popular media devoted to this sector. The media, in which analytical information and news about emerging projects is published, often enjoy the same trust of visitors.
We did not find a unique trade proposition, which Alethena should have in order to face this highly competitive market. The fact that the project is located in Switzerland and has a security function token does not yet indicate the success of the business idea and economic effectiveness of future activities.
The struggle for the audience and the promotion of its product in this highly competitive market can be a critical challenge for the project in the future.
Speaking about the team involved in the development of the product, it is worth noting that the project involves many specialists of various fields and competencies. The project participants include not only key team members such as software developers and finance and marketing specialists, but also product promotion specialists, designers and PR specialists.
Almost all of the team have good educational and academic backgrounds. It plays a positive role in the overall assessment of the team, as these qualities determine directly the depth and elaboration of the analytical aspects of the product, which is extremely important in this case.
On the other hand, the youth and relative inexperience the team can be seen as a disadvantage. The team has almost no participants who have significant influence in the crypto environment or who can be considered as successful entrepreneurs in this industry. The team is not known and has no reputation in the crypto environment.
Nevertheless, we think that the team is balanced and moderately competent. The team is largely united by a common background and is able to work as a whole. The development of various aspects of the project at this stage demonstrates a high level of the ICO preparation.
We have analyzed the experience, competencies and various roles of the team. Below we have presented our analysis for some of the key members of the project.
PASCAL MARCO CAVERSACCIO
Co-Founder & CEO
Blockchain enthusiast. He has extensive experience in conducting research, studying financial markets and consulting.
He has worked as Senior Strategy Consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers
(PwC) in Switzerland from 2015 to 2017, where he was engaged in the maintenance of clients of financial services in the areas of strategic development and regulation.
Co-Founder & President
Entrepreneur and blockchain enthusiast. He has experience in the financial services industry, banking, consulting and asset management.
He has worked as Management Consulting Analyst at Accenture in Switzerland from 2015 to 2017.
Co-Founder & COO
He has extensive experience in banking, asset management and start-up development.
Until recently, he worked as Research and Investment Analyst at ZZ Vermögensberatung AG.
He also worked at Credit Suisse in Zurich and BlueOrchard Finance SA.
Co-Founder & CFO
He has experience in auditing and banking.
He worked in Asset Management at ZZ Vermogensberatung AG. He also worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in
Switzerland, where he conducted audits and evaluated companies working in the field of trade, production and technology. He was an intern in Credit Suisse, where he was engaged in risk management, corporate finance and analytics.
Chief Scientific Officer
Experienced specialist in pure and applied mathematics and computer science.
Worked as Technology Consulting Analyst at Accenture.
Chief Marketing Officer
Experienced specialist in such areas as management consulting, financial services, asset management and IT projects development. He has extensive experience in advising and developing e-commerce models and promoting start-ups.
Worked as Management Consultant at Accenture.
Only the key participants of the project team are listed above. In fact, the project will involve more specialists in other fields.
A number of advisors who have a deep knowledge of finance and project management will also participate in the project. Let us consider some of them:
An experienced teacher in the field of finance economics at several European universities. Specialist in areas of the economy such as behavioral and evolutionary finance.
He has experience advising projects in asset management and private banking from the positions of behavioral and evolutionary finance.
Founding partner of Behavioral Finance Solutions at the University of Zurich. Consultant to the investment committee of the Zurich pension fund. The president of the investment committee at Vita pension foundation.
He has extensive experience in the academic environment in various universities in Europe.
Currently he is a strategic advisor to the Thrive project, which deals with resource allocation, valuation and analysis, venture finance and business planning.
Specialist in computer science, economist and expert on crypto assets.
Co-Founder and President of Bitcoin Association Switzerland. Member of the Board of Bitcoin Suisse. Works in the areas of financial brokerage and asset management in the field of cryptocurrency. He is the author of numerous publications on cryptocurrency topics. He has entrepreneurial experience.
ISRAEL SERRANO ORTIZ
He is involved in the support of companies for automation and digitalization with an emphasis on the introduction of blockchain technology in industries such as financial services, health care, public sector and others.
He led a group of blockchain specialists at Accenture.
He has extensive experience in recruiting CEOs, managing partners and top managers for large organizations and corporations.
He worked in companies such as Dr. Bjørn Johansson Associates, Forster Reichstein Associates and Kienbaum.
Co-founder of a number of commercial and non-commercial organizations, including World.Minds Foundation, the XU Exponential University,
and Crypto Finance Conference AG.
He was a member of the Vita Sammelstiftung investment committee and is currently a Board Member of Crypto Finance AG. He invests in various startups in the fields of blockchain, retail and education.
More details about the team members and advisors can be found on the website.
Speaking about the specialists involved in the development of the service, it is worth mentioning that the project has many partners, including Wenger & Vieli, Papers.ch, Swisscom, Overnice, Bitcoin Association Switzerland, Cryptovalley Labs, Clarity and others. Some of the team members that are involved in the development of the product are also working in partnership with Clarity, Papers.ch and Overnice. These include PR and marketing specialists, as well as software development. However, we did not see what utility function is implemented by these partnerships. With such a large number of partnerships, the project probably would have had a large number of media mentions, developed marketing and reliable anchor investors, however, this does not appear so.
As already mentioned, from our point of view the team has certain competencies and the potential to realize the promises of the project but it is limited by their lack of experience and participation in projects in the crypto market.
Alethena will issue ATH tokens in order to finance the project and its development. The issue of the tokens is made on behalf of Equility AG, a Swiss legal entity registered in Zug. Tokens will a have security function and their owners will have the right to part of the profits in the form of dividends, as well as the right to vote. Equility AG, in turn, will receive funds equivalent to the tokens emitted.
The acquisition of this token will virtually be participation in the share capital of the company. Swiss law regulates the zones of responsibility and rights of both tokens holders and governing bodies of a legal entity. The Board of Directors has basic rights that cannot be transferred to the token holders. In turn, the managing body does not have the right to limit the token holders in matters of profit distribution.
The general meeting of shareholders may limit the amount of profit that is to be distributed to the token holders in the form of dividends.
If the general meeting of Equility AG distributes profits to the token holders, the board of directors will initiate a meeting to vote on the issue of its distribution. Voting can be conducted online, which simplifies the procedure and allows any interested person to participate. The board of directors of Equility AG will propose to distribute profit between the token holders in proportion to the number of ATH tokens that they have at the time of online voting.
The voting procedure has a number of features for token holders:
- Each ATH token in circulation has one vote.
- Each token holder, who has at least 10% of all ATH tokens in circulation, can make a specific offer, for which token holders will also be able to vote.
- Before voting, financial statements must be published, including the applied ETH / CHF rate for fixing dividends to ETH for subsequent referral to the token holders.
- Online voting lasts two weeks and it must be held no later than 6 months after the Equility AG general meeting.
- Introduced proposals and decisions on the distribution of profits will be considered accepted by the majority of the votes.
- Equility AG withholds income tax and pays dividends to each token holder in ETH at the exchange rate set by Equility AG within 90 business days after completion of the online vote of the token holders.
All the procedural issues the team described in the Whitepaper were assessed, including the transparency of the legal information, which is described in the documentation. We also welcome the development and application of the security function of token and online voting procedure. In our opinion, this will increase transparency and make the ICO market more structured, since most tokens, do not perform a security function, and therefore, are completely unnecessary in the ecosystem. However, we also note that in this case the token economy will be inevitably linked with the economy of the project itself. The security token gives the team additional responsibility for the future of the project in relation to the token holders. The fact that there are mechanisms to limit profits through the general meeting adds uncertainty, and there is also a lack of legal practice of this format of interaction with investors.
Analysis of factors affecting future value of token
In the process of analyzing the factors affecting value of the token, it is worth noting that the project implements a rather complex mechanism of interaction with investors, a security token in the legal field. This makes value of the token dependent on the financial success of the project. Therefore, a large number of domestic economic factors will affect the token price.
The key factor that will influence the token price is the economic efficiency of the project. The generated cash flow, profit and other operational indicators will strongly influence the pricing of the token. Since the project involves the use of a dividend security token, its future value is a derivative of its dividend yield. Accordingly, the amount of profit Alethena generates will greatly influence its rate, as well as the expectation of the successful implementation of project services. Economic efficiency will strongly depend on the prices of Alethena’s services and the success of marketing activities in attracting an audience. The estimation of possible future dividends and their possible increase will be of great importance.
The following factors are also important:
- Regular reporting on the results of product development, as well as audited financial statements.
The first financial reports of the project will be the most important. These indicators will affect the amount of projected dividends and, consequently, the rate of the token on the reporting date.
- Strategic partnerships and marketing activities.
The success of the project in establishing links and increasing the recognition of the project can affect token demand. Mentions in the media and active marketing activities can cause an increase in demand for tokens and positively affect its rate in the short and medium-term.
- Listing on major exchanges and liquidity of the token.
Listing and market pricing is extremely important for the security token, as it reflects the participants' assessment of the success of the project and creates liquidity for the ability to buy or sell tokens. Listing on major exchanges also causes an increase in the level of confidence in the project, which results in an increase in the token rate in the short and medium-term. We note that there may be problems with listing on major exchanges due to concerns regarding security tokens.
- Lack of strong sales by the founders.
20% of the total issue is allocated to the team which is average for the size of the market. However, unlike most projects this share has a vesting period of 5 years. This will not allow for the creation of a significant overhang between the demand and supply of tokens. However, given the security nature of the token, it is not so important, since in this case pricing will largely depend on financial results and the dividend yield.
- Cryptocurrency dynamics and the number of ICO projects.
This project not only will have a customary correlation between tokens and major cryptocurrencies but also a "business dependence", since if there is no positive or neutral dynamics, the number of ICO projects will decrease, and the influence of positive ratings on the amount of funds raised will decrease, which will cause a temporary decrease in the demand for the project services in the market. On the other hand, the growth of the crypto market and the increase in the projects conducting crowdsales can increase the financial indicators of the project and positively affect the token rate.
Investment risks analysis
As in any ICO project, investment carries a significant number of risks. It is worth noting that the project itself has identified and described a number of them, that we highly appreciated. But besides the traditional risks for any investment described by the project, we feel that the following risks are also worth mentioning:
- Business risks of unclaimed product.
Currently, the project does not have uniqueness or strong competitive advantages, which would allow it to enter the market quickly and gain a foothold in it. The project does not yet have a reputation or the attendance of the resource. The sector in which Alethena is planning to work is extremely complex, there is a high dependence on business linkage, experience, quality of analytics, etc. The existing competitive environment and the declining request for independent analytical ratings complicate the task of occupying a significant market share.
- High economic risks.
Investors in the project’s tokens actually become shareholders and participate in the distribution of profits, however, not 100% of the profit is distributed between the token holders but a share for which the board of directors will vote. In any case, the token holders are interested in the financially successful operation of the project. However, the fact that the project has not yet decided on the prices and listing conditions, as well as the fact that there will be a period when services will be provided for free, suggests that the financial model a) has not been fully worked out, and b) the project will not be able to generate a profit at first.
Since the token has an "equity" function only, in case of an exhaustion of the amount that the project has raised and the insufficiency of the services sold, Alethena will operate at a loss, which may result in a significant increase in the risk of completion of the project. The absence of an open business plan and the inability to assess future financial performance strongly affect the economic risks of Alethena.
- Risk of low amount of funds raised on the ICO and overvaluation of Hard Cap.
The project does not demonstrate high marketing activity and does not have a lot of media publications, which can significantly affect the amount of funds raised. We see a high risk in the inability to implement several milestones from the roadmap if the project does not secure significant funding (2-3 Soft caps), as well as the inability to maintain long-term operations without new investments and revenue growth.
The project assumes Hard Cap of 30 million francs and a Soft Cap of 3 million francs. Such a large difference between the maximum and minimum sums of funding indicates unprocessed budgeting and a high risk of not collecting the amount expected, as investors in security tokens want to see the effectiveness of their investments first.
- Legal risks.
Despite the fact that the token of the project is a security token and Switzerland is one of the most loyal regions regarding cryptocurrency, this format of interaction with investors is new and it is difficult to assess the full implications of its application. The security token in the legal field is a very time consuming and liable format for interaction with investors. We see a number of difficulties at a legislative level, as well as in the system of adopting various internal documents during the voting process. Transparency in the security format is extremely important. However, there is not enough legal practice to achieve it, which contributes to legal risks. In addition, many exchanges still deny the listing of security tokens which will also provoke a liquidity risk.
- Strong dependence on the dynamics of the crypto market and the number of ICOs.
We see a high correlation between the dynamics of the crypto market and the number of ICO projects, as well as the success of the ICO funding of these projects. This market depends heavily on how much Bitcoin or Ethereum costs, and what trends are prevailing. A sharp or steady decline in the main cryptocurrency will be followed by a strong decline in the demand for the product, Alethena's revenue will fall and this can cause a risk for the continued existence of the project.