We assign the BankEx project a "Stable+" rating. Since it is impossible to predict the ratio of infrastructure demand to supply for BKX tokens, we cannot assign an investment attractiveness rating to the project tokens. Nevertheless, we can recommend the purchase of BKX tokens as part of a long-term diversified portfolio of crypto assets, as one of the most sophisticated and well-designed projects of the fall of 2017.
BankEx is an independent fintech lab founded in January 2016. The team is staging an ICO to build a platform for the tokenization of real assets. The goals of the ICO are ambitious and can potentially make BankEx one of the largest blockchain projects.
It is important to note that the project team is very strong and has a number of successful projects. It is this, in our view, that has led to a resounding success in the pre-ICO stage.
The documentation of the project contains a sufficiently detailed and qualitative description of both the problem and its solutions developed by the BankEx team. At the same time, there is no separate information section on the ICO on the company's website. Perhaps this can be attributed to the desire to protect themselves from retail to the fullest possible extent and to attract institutional investors in private placement mode. However, the lack of information about the upcoming ICO prevents us from assigning the project a higher rating.
There is not enough information about the economy of the platform. This is not an economic risk for the business, but it makes it difficult to assess the investment attractiveness of the BKX token.
The tokens issued during the ICO are utility tokens that will be used in a Proof-of-Asset Protocol ecosystem as payment for services when creating Smart Assets of different classes. BKX Tokens are required to maintain Smart Assets turnover in the system.
General information about the Project and ICO
BankEx is a cryptocurrency-based financial services platform aimed at the tokenization and trading of tangible and financial (traditional) assets.
The project’s authors describe its purpose as "creating liquidity for tangible assets". In fact, the project provides an original mechanism for solving two global token problems: the problem of security on the one hand and the possibility of rapid conversion on the other. Security in this case comes from assets of the tangible market, and the conversion issue from the internal token of the platfrom, which is expected to be accepted by classical financial market institutions.
On the other hand, Bankex solves some classical problems within the financial market. Let's imagine a company that deals with the production of an item and lacks the means to develop/launch the product. The company, on its own behalf, issues tokens secured by its assets to the crypto market. At the same time, the second company, which has excess financial resources for which tokens were actually issued, buys them. This is the way in which capital is redistributed between enterprises and branches of the economy.
Bankex ensures that sellers and buyers are linked up, creating a meeting place for the parties concerned, and providing them with internal guarantees in the form of their own internal tokens. At the same time, BankEx provides a concentration of liquid money, providing investors with a wide range of investment choices, resulting in the accumulation of a liquid mass of investment funds. Finally, Bankex performs a distribution function, which has already been mentioned above. The funds are distributed among different spheres of the economy.
It may seem as if BankEx is in fact another exchange. Indeed, an exchange is an organized market for trade in standardized goods or financial instruments created by professional trade or financial intermediaries for mutual wholesale operations. It is a highly skilled market that is created to purchase/sell very liquid products by the largest, trusted and financially sustainable intermediaries.
The classical features of an exchange are:
- A centralized market with a fixed place of trade (a commercial site.)
- The existence of a highly efficient procedure for the selection of standard (mass, homogeneous) goods of a certain quality with the expressed price elasticities, including seasonal prices, the possibility of supply guarantees, etc.
- The selection of highly qualified market operators
- Availability of provisional rules and standard trade procedures.
- Centralized registration, processing, and settlement of transactions.
- Supervision of the activities of members of the exchange.
- Regular establishment of official quotations.
If we look through the white paper of Bankex we find all of these except for the mechanism and the regulation of quotation. However, given the background of the project’s authors, these questions are unlikely to fall into the "long box".
However, Bankex is a platform for ICOs in a new form — ISAO. The authors intentionally replace the concepts by citing security as a key difference of C (coin) from SA (smart assets). In other words, SA is an improved coin or coin of a new generation.
From the point of view of classical tools, ISAO is closest to calculated futures if it is necessarily based on futures delivered with an infinite expiry date.
With regard to commodity exchanges, historically trade in exchange turnover is limited to a small number of items, as not every commodity is suitable for stock trade. Each exchange independently establishes the composition of the goods to be tendered. Stock items change over the years, but all goods sold through an exchange are subjected to the requirements of exchange trading practices to determine whether they are suitable for a stock exchange.
As stock trade is largely carried out in the absence of goods per se, the highest standardization is achieved on all exchanges, primarily in terms of quality, quantity, storage conditions, etc.
As we know, product quality is a collection of product properties that make it fit to meet certain needs. The quality of the stock is subject to special requirements, so in futures exchanges and exchanges of real goods, i.e. on Bankex, regulations establish the basic quality of goods, which usually corresponds with the most common variety or Item. All other brands are graded by the degree of their beneficial effect. The basis grade and its characteristics are a stock-market sample that does not need to be presented directly. The price of the basis grade serves as the key for the price expression of the others. Price factors for different grades allow for economic expression of the differences in the large masses of goods that differ in their natural characteristics. If the goods are of a different quality from the standard (base), then the so-called product differentiation rule is applied according to the quality level with the corresponding additional payments or price discounts.
Exchanges also focus on information about the quality of goods. The most complete and reliable information contains standards for the type of technical conditions that make it much easier to prepare for exchange trade. An exchange is responsible not for information about the goods, but for the goods themselves. A product view and an independent quality assessment of the item is presented on a certificate. Any exchange is interested in the sale of certified products because this is an additional guarantee for successful use of the purchased goods. International exchanges tend to try to establish the maximum favourable treatment for certified products, and some offer certification of goods for trading as a service.
Only well-developed quantitative and qualitative standardization ensures goods movement on exchanges. Obviously, this is an issue of great importance to the BankEx team, which indicates that a great deal of legal and regulative work has been done. However, given the magnitude of the documentation required, and historical examples of the emergence of exchange goods, this will be a compromise when BankEx gives a description and a system of control over goods (much more expert and similar in regulation to the activities of CPO), but global regulatory issues are left out. This might bee seen as akin to a bank issuing bonds under English law, without English law. In this case, under which local law BankEx will be launched and what will be its shell are as yet unknown to investors.
It is clear that the above requirements are primarily for commodities and mass goods. The BankEx project, hinting at what it will trade with SA, leaves room for the trade of service startups tokens. The founders clearly do not restrict themselves.
It is worth noting that BankEx is not just an exchange, but an investment bank or bank of banks, investors and funds; a syndicate that provides tokens to investor pools for internal currency.
BankEx is a project with a deep philosophy and a developed mission. The BankEx project aims high, and this usually attracts investors. One can familiarize oneself with reasons for transition to a digital smart economy, game theory, exchange theory, collective market wisdom, adaptation and forming of an API usage system.
"Software as a service", "infrastructure as a service" and "Platform as service" models of work are gaining popularity, and in these models the supplier both develops, produces, and manages the product by providing customers access to a product over the internet to the amount they require. The growing demand for such models allows for the emergence of "banking as a service" (BaaS) solutions in the near future or "banking as a platform" (BaaP).
There are a number of trends in the market pushing banks to use the BaaS model:
- alliances with financial and technological companies to promote innovation
- the need to develop more flexible strategies for bringing products to the market
- generation of an open banking standard based on the use of API
- introduction of platforms for open banking
- a customer-oriented approach and conscious demand for products
- significant changes in the architecture of banking business
- change of regulation regarding accelerated industrialization.
At the same time, the most advanced banking organizations have already begun to establish partnerships with finance and technology companies, and BankEx wants to be one of them.
Let's have a subtotal. Bankex is developing a platform, legal frameworks and technical solutions for the tokenization of assets to work with their investors to increase the level of liquidity in various sectors of the economy. BankEx uses the ICO mechanism (since there is no ISAO yet) to fill the market with the liquidity that it creates. The Bankex token will also potentially generate revenue, which will be generated from 30% of the share in the profits of partner decisions on the Bankex platform, smart contract commissions, and commissions for the release of crypto assets. The dividend payment mechanism and formula are not given. On the other hand, the Bankex token can also be considered as a speculative instrument in the hope for increasing demand for such liquidity.
BankEx completed its pre-ICO having issued 6 million PBKX tokens on the Waves platform and Ethereum. Of these, 500,000 tokens were sold for US$0.20 each, 500,000 tokens for US$0.25 each, 1 million tokens for US$0.30 each and 1 million tokens for US$0.33 each; the price for the other 3 million tokens is not known. Some 10 million US dollars have been raised. In the future BankEx ICO the current PBKX tokens in the hands of buyers will automatically be converted to public tokens of BKX at the 1:1 rate.
Within the scope of the BankEx ICO, it is planned to sell 30-100 million tokens in the amount of 10 to 50 million dollars, mainly to institutional buyers. According to the organizers, arrangements have already been made to participate in the future placement of ICO with US investors. In the United States, the Bankex token will have the status of a security, and it will be distributed only among professional participants.
There is no separate information section on the ICO on the company's website. Perhaps this can be attributed to the desire to protect themselves from retail to the fullest possible extent and to attract institutional investors in private placement mode. On the other hand, it is likely to be in regard to the legal development of SEC documents (the United States Securities and crypto-market regulator).
ICO Start: November 28
ICO End: December 28
Hard cap: $60,000,000 (taking into account SCO in 2019, $372 000 000)
Soft Cap: US$18,000,000
Token: BKX, ERC-20 standard
ICO Price: 1 BKX = 0.002 ETH
Accepted currencies: ETH, BTC
Total emission: 400,000,000 BKX
- 6,000,000 - ICO pre-sale
- 30,000,000 – 100,000,000 - ICO
- 100,000,000 – SCO (2019)
- The remainder — no data
For sale: 220,000,000 (55 %)
Allocation of funds:
- US$20 million for creating an IT company (about 7 million dollars) per year),
- US$100 million for investing in the decentralized financial platform:
- 10% – licenses and legal work
- 20% — BKX Fund and liquidity
- 20% — market entry, absorption and strategic Investment funds
- 5% — founders
- 30% — R&D and software
- 15% – B2B evolution and promotion
Minimum contribution: there is no detailed information.
Tokens purchased by institutional investors will be frozen for resale for a year.
The goals of the ICO are ambitious and can potentially make BankEx one of the largest blockchain projects.
Description of the services and scope of the project
BankEx is an independent fintech lab founded in January 2016. Two team's projects are currently running: Findostavka (in partnership with Dostavista and 10 commercial banks) and a credit exchange (in partnership with the Moscow Exchange).
Findostavka — an operational logistics platform for remote KYC identification. Findostavka is a service for delivering documents between different financial companies: banks, microfinance organizations, insurance, etc. The business is large enough to be able to build a big portfolio of projects, from the issuance of plastic cards with remote identification to the remote opening of accounts for legal entities.
The credit claims operator (OKZ) is a platform where a bank can sell a pool of rejected applications for credit from small and medium business, to other banks. This model is now integrated with blockchain. OKZ is not yet fully operational, but the first deals have already been announced. Within OKZ there are internal tokens for which financial institutions buy/sell requisition pools
In addition, it should be noted that Bankex is working on a trading investment fund (similar to ETF) for the digital asset market.
The scope of BANKEX’s projects is due to its founder, Igor Khmel, former head of the fintech lab at Sberbank.
As is traditional for this section we will return to the description of the services of the project staging an ICO, its scope and technological features. Two in particular:
- Proof-of-Asset Protocol – IT know-how
- ISAO – a placement algorithm based on the Proof-of-Asset Protocol.
Thus the Proof-of-asset Protocol includes a smart asset exchange and a liquidity support center.
Proof-of-Asset is based on Ethereum blockchain and can be replicated on any platform that uses the ERC20 standard.
The liquidity Support Center, in turn, is based on the assumption of one of the U.S. largest Blockstone equity funds in the chain of liquidity of traditional assets, and has tokens in second place after exchange "blue chips".
According to this assumption, Proof-of-Asset provides an infrastructural solution for the creation of a closed system that includes a mechanism for the entry of assets into the ISAO market, its collateral, a platform, a pool of investors, a secondary market, professional intermediaries and even (in the future) a derivatives market for blockchain.
Diagram of the platform's work on the Proof-of-Asset protocol.
For a comprehensive understanding of the product described in the previous section, it is also necessary to present the ISAO schema.
Thus, from the technological and functional points of view, the Bankex project is certainly interesting and will be in demand. The market for the creation of financial products and solutions to attract capital based on blockchain technology is developing rapidly, and Bankex has the know-how to take on a substantial share. However, despite its strong background and a number of already-running services, Bankex is still selling an idea because the finished software product is not yet available. However, funds raised during the pre-ICO are already sufficient to begin its development.
At the beginning of this section, we wish to note the lack of elaboration or detailed analysis of quantitative indicators of the market for application of the product by the BankEx team. Market information is provided only occasionally and in a general manner in the project documents.
In terms of an external analysis, a current review has been performed by the Sbertech team. So, in their opinion, the size of the target market for the ISAO exceeds 10 trillion US dollars. This can be divided into 5 segments:
- Precious metals. A reduction in the market calculation from 2-3 days to instantaneous calculation will open the platform to the gold market at 5 trillion US dollars.
- Loans. The unmet need for credit capital (SME) is estimated at 2.1-2.6 trillion US dollars.
- OTC derivatives. 20.7 trillion US dollars in 2016
- National currencies. The World Economic Forum estimates that 10 percent of world GDP will be stored on blockchain by 2025.
- Small banks. Addressing the issues of attracting capital.
Like all other projects dealing with global problems of the crypto market, BankEx will certainly face a business-scale problem. Therefore, speaking on the behalf of the analytic community, we will try to provide our own analysis of market capacity for the Bankex product.
Let's start with a quantitative evaluation of the current state of the exchange trade of crypto assets. So, according to Coinmarketcap, an aggregator of trade information from cryptocurrency exchanges, capitalization of the digital currency market as of 03 November 2017 is US$198 billion. https://coinmarketcap.com/ — up-to-date information.
The monthly turnover of trade in key coins is presented in the table:
For more information about the competitive advantages of BankEx over other platforms see the appropriate section. In the Market Review section we will restrict ourselves to noting its availability and its capacity.
The second segment of the BankEx market that we would like to note is the ICO market
According to the Wall Street Journal, and data from the crypto asset research company Smith & Crown, in 2017 companies have raised more than US$1 billion through ICOs, which is ten times more than in 2016.
As a result, we estimate that the potential volume of the BankEx technology market now stands at about US$1 billion, with the possibility of expansion to US$198 billion by switching to a new type of asset. Thus, the potential results of marketing of the project are undeniable.
The BankEx lab team consists of top experts in the crypto market who have earned their reputations as well as investors' trust. https://bankex.com/ru/team
Igor Khmel - CEO
- Stanford GSB MBA, degrees in Physics and Economics
- Management consulting (corporate finance) at McKinsey & Deloitte and investment & trading at Citadel hedge fund
- Founder of the fintech lab at Sberbank
- Founder of a number of startups in California
Denis Khoruzhiy - CTO
- 10+ years experience as a technical director
- PhD in Physics and Mathematics, experience in Machine Learning and natural language processing
Dmitry Dolgov - Operations Lead
- E-commerce entrepreneur
- 3 successful e-com startups
Stanislav Sushko — Legal Counsel
- Member of the Board, Deputy Chair, VP: Uniastrum Bank (Bank of Cyprus) and TRUST Bank
- Head of Legal: Avangard Bank, Moscow Industrial Bank, Troika Dialog Investment Company
Nauris Dauksta — Global Community Management
- Founder and CEO at Token.Coach
- Community Management for Sellfy.com
- Management consultant at Accenture with extensive corporate background
Maria Mikhailenko — Director of Risks & Analytics
- 8 years of experience in risk management
- Founder of SmartAn, a risk-management start-up
Peter Korolev — BANKEX Foundation* CEO
- 10+ years experience in software development (Evernote, Intel, Mail.Ru Group)
Vitaly Dubinin — BANKEX Lab CEO
- Founder at iD EAST (one of the leading fintech software developers in Eastern Europe. 9 years in business, over 100 apps released for tens millions of customers)
- 10 years experience in banking legal practice (structured finance, M&A at Baker & McKenzie, Chadbourne & Parke, Deloitte, BHF Bank)
In addition to the core team, the project has a powerful product and technology team of IT engineers. Prominent representatives of the investor community serve as project advisors. Once again, it is the existence of a strong team and the background of successful projects that, in our view, led to unconditional success in the pre-ICO stage.
Development strategy and roadmap
The project’s roadmap is presented on the site.
Attention is drawn to the fact that the team plans to complete the roadmap and the line up of the technology tools after the completion of the ICO, which will happen in the first half of 2018. Services will be launched step by step between the second half of 2018 and 2020.
Traditional venture investments could obviously only be gradually attracted by BankEx as they implement their roadmap. In this sense, an ICO for the team is much more attractive because it potentially allows them to obtain the full amount of investment required at once. Investors can only hope that the team will spend the money in accordance with the stated plans. The probability of a different scenario is not high considering the team's reputation.
BankEx is well covered by social media and other channels. The project is named in a number of rankings among the most interesting ICOs of 2017.
Communication with potential investors is carried out through Telegram (1429 members and 373 in the Russian community), Facebook (8358 participants) and Twitter (1160 followers). The team has a channel on YouTube and blogs on Github, Slack and Steemit. There is an official branch on Bitcointalk, whose activity allows the project to be taken very seriously from a marketing viewpoint (19651 views).
However, the project does not provide any detailed description of their marketing in public access. An estimate of US$15 million is given as the sum necessary to advance the project, but this figure will become relevant after the ICO. Given the B2B nature of the business of Bankex, as well as its orientation towards interaction with institutional clients and large private investors, some closedness can be understood. This will no doubt make Bankex less popular among retail investors; the same goes for the lack of a bounty campaign.
Remembering Apple, it was the retail that made this company the leader of the market in capitalization and attracting capital. On the other hand, the establishment of a project fund speaks in favor of the investment attractiveness of the Bankex project; the fund will receive the following:
- 20% of capital, if the amount of funds raised during the ICO exceeds US$30 mln
- 25% of capital in liquid cryptocurrencies to support the platform, market-maker, etc.
- up to 75% in the form of BKX tokens (at pre-ICO discount).
However, the fund does not intend to make fixed income payments to stockholders.
At the pre-sale stage, activity in the community was extremely high, which could have a positive impact on the achievement of the ICO hard cap. The Bankex project is undeniably ambitious, but, like all ambitious projects, it is not without obvious flaws, one of which is the ambiguous and opaque marketing strategy of the product.
Competitors and competitive advantages of the project
In this section, we return to discussing the potential market and the place that the BankEx platform can potentially occupy along with its strengths and weaknesses.
As we have already noted, Bankex is far from the first project to tokenize real assets. BankEx’s competitors are producing digital assets that give the mass investor wide access to traditional instruments. If you examine the selection of so-called asseters, not only objects such as real estate or precious metals are tokenized, but also shares, oil and other assets. Let us consider the major ones.
The startup LAToken developed its own protocol for tokenization of assets. According to the project team, you can use the LAT Protocol to tokenize anything — from bonds and stocks to art objects. The project raised $18 million. And given the increase in the value of the token, capitalization of LAToken is estimated at 390 million US dollars. A platform for bidding on blue chips, gold and oil is now in operation. The LAToken team are experts from McKinsey, UBS and Lehman Brothers.
Another project is Smartlands, a platform for the tokenization of agricultural assets. Smartlands will be integrated into the Stellar Network, an open-source protocol that is designed to conduct real-time currency transactions. On November 2, 2017, the Smartlands ICO commenced.
In addition, there are cryptocurrencies insured with gold. Behind each OneGram token there is one gram of gold stored in the duty-free zone of Dubai airport. ZenGold tokens are issued upon the purchase of real gold and confirm possession of physical gold that is stored on the Shanghai exchange.
Giants such as Visa and MasterCard have already been included in the tokenization project race.
Despite the full potential of the market, competition is very high. It is worth noting that the market is based on the trust of investors and financial institutions. Whoever is the first to earn this will become the leader in the tokenization market. Trust is primarily related to issues of legal drafting and document guarantees. In this case, direct access to the Russian regulator and the largest financial institutions is an obvious advantage of the BankEx platform. Another is the implementation of BaaS (Bank-As-a-Service), or smart banking.
At the same time, in such a broad market, everyone will find their segment in the case of successful implementation. The main battle will take place in 2018-2019, when the market will be faced with a huge amount of M&A consolidation activity. Here, the richest and most agile will win.
Economy of the project
In the documents, the team does not directly mention the sources of Bankex income. There is no information about service or potential expenses.
We do not see a risk in this, as it is more logical and correct in this case to develop pricing policy once the platform is technically ready. Apparently, this issue will be resolved between 2018 and 2019.
Thus, the economic risk in the project is entirely the risk in launching the project: Whether the product will be developed in a timely manner, whether it is competitive and whether it will be able to take a sufficient share of the market.
The main risk of the project is indicated above: Whether the product will be developed in a timely manner, whether it is competitive and whether it will be able to take a sufficient share of the market.
The idea of asset tokenization is not new, although it is considered a trendy and promising direction. One way or another, many projects have already staged ICOs with an attempt to sell the future tokenization of certain industries (real estate, investment, etc.). However, this is objectively ahead of its time.
In addition, we note the narrowness of the target audience – the banking industry. So, it is not clear what the reasoning is behind choosing ICO as the means of attracting investment. Will banks use the services of BankEx or will they develop their own solutions? It is known that banks with global names are actively investing in blockchain technology. There are plenty of examples — at the start of the year, JP Morgan announced its plans to invest US$9 million in blockchain. However, this risk brings us back to the previous paragraph — if the BankEx service is competitive, it will take its niche.
There are also risks associated with the roadmap: The BankEx hard cap is rather high, and the platform will only commence operation in 2019. However, this risk is present for almost all ICOs.
Thus it can be stated that we have not identified any specific risks for the BankEx project. This is a complex technical project, the success of which will depend on the success of the technical implementation of its plans.
Token investment attractiveness
The BKX token is a utility token that is used in a Proof-of-Asset Protocol ecosystem as a payment for services when Smart Assets of different classes are created. BKX Tokens are required to maintain Smart Assets turnover in the system.
It is often possible to talk about the problem of utility tokens related to the lack of a legal basis for legal entities' operations with cryptocurrencies. Since the target audience for BankEx are the banks (i.e. legal entities), this is clearly an important matter. However, given the mission of Bankex — the tokenization of real assets — this matter can be overlooked, since the idea of the project does not in principle imply a legal prohibition of tokenization and consequently, of turnover of tokens between legal entities.
Note that the project documentation describes the ICO and everything related to the tokens very briefly. It is not currently possible to estimate the supply/demand ratio of BKX tokens. While it might be possible to estimate potential demand, BankEx’s expenses are completely unclear.
The issue of mining BKX tokens remains unclear to us as well. In the FAQ, the team answers the question "Can I mine BKX tokens?" as "Yes. You can mine BKS tokens when deals between smart assets proceed”. However, more detailed information is not available.
Nevertheless, despite the lack of information, the ICO could well be successful: the team has stated that investment agreements have been reached with large institutional investors, including ones from the United States.
Since it is impossible to predict the ratio of infrastructure demand to supply for BKX tokens, we do not assign an investment attractiveness rating to the project’s tokens. Nevertheless, we can recommend the purchase of BKX tokens for long-term diversified portfolios of crypto assets as one of the most complex and well-designed projects of the fall of 2017.
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.