Bitboost Rating Review
|Start ICO||09 Oct 2017|
|End ICO||08 Nov 2017|
We assign the BitBoost project a "Stable+" rating.
BitBoost is a project that combines a promising idea for the consumer and a competent implementation. The founders have developed a p2p marketplace, which operates on Ethereum, where the principles of anonymity and security are observed at low attendant costs. BitBoost and its platform The Block have assembled and implemented the most advanced and promising solutions that distinguish it among traditional online retailers and similar p2p marketplaces.
The main risks of the project lie in the quality of The Block platform and the possibility of suppressing illegal trade:
- While investors are not provided with an open MVP platform, it is hard to comment on its functionality and usability. Currently the idea is provided only by screenshots and video of the platform’s performance.
- Due to complete decentralization of the trading process on The Block platform, operations and goods cannot be taken under BitBoost control. This gives rise to a natural problem for online p2p trade of the emergence of Silk Road 2. With an unfavorable outcome, BitBoost can set up governments and a global community against itself, which will scare away trustworthy customers and create a bad reputation for the brand; there may also be a ban on activities in some countries. The Block has the tools to manage the process within the architecture of a desktop client, its own services and the connection of third parties, but anyway these only allow mitigation of negative features of the unregulated market. BitBoost has announced only one direct tool to manage this risk - filters. Their effectiveness is unclear; however, in the current p2p marketplace, illegal trade has not yet found popularity.
- Significant risks for decentralized marketplaces are associated with the development of the Bitcoin network, primarily with the introduction of the Lightning Network. The speed of execution and the reduction in the cost of transactions will be a significant advantage of the Bitcoin network. Projects for the development of e-commerce should become convenient and popular ecosystems since tokens have weak prospects as just another means of payment.
- Certain risks come from large centralized marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and others. The largest corporations can significantly improve their positions with the introduction of distributed registries.
At the same time, it should be noted that BitBoost is a promising project for creating C2C marketplace using the Ethereum blockchain system architecture. It has every chance of success due to the size of the e-сommerce market. Despite the fact that technological solutions have certain fundamental risks, they determine the high competitiveness of the project among e-commerce companies and similar C2C start-ups. The long-term attractiveness of the token is determined by its infrastructural importance, as well as the size and growth rate of the BitBoost business.
General information about the Project and ICO
BitBoost is a project to create a decentralized marketplace on its own platform, The Block, with the use of blockchain technologies. The idea is based on a plan to create the most secure and safest market with low transaction costs, where trade is implemented in peer-to-peer format. Such a market will be deprived of many disadvantages of traditional centralized e-commerce platforms, such as Ebay and Amazon, namely:
- availability of a centralized intermediary in the person of a market creator, who charges a commission.
- access to personal user data.
- the ability to regulate and manipulate the market, etc.
Initially, the BitBoost team worked on creating a similar service based on the NXT blockchain and even launched a functional application; however, «the limitations of the NXT blockchain for a marketplace quickly became apparent and the user base was limited from the outset. As a result, the team decided to move to the Ethereum blockchain. » Now BitBoost implements its ICO with an updated project, well-prepared documentation and an open MVP product.
ICO start: Oct 10th at 14:00 UTC
ICO completion: Nov 9th at 14:00 UTC
Hard cap: $28,123,076
Token: BBT, standard ERC-20
ICO price: 1 BBT = 0,46 USD
Accepted payment: ETH; BTC, WAVES, and Ethereum classic (ETC)
Total emission: 100,000,000 BBT
- 25% - Presale
- 41% - Public Sale
- 12% - Reserved for future contributors
- 10% - founding team and partners
- 5% - early angel token owners and advisors
- 2% - bounty
On sale: 61,137,122 BBT (including the unsold tokens from the pre-sale)
50% - operations
40% - marketing and promotion;
10% - legal contingency;
Major expenses include:
- Salaries for the BitBoost development team,
- Development outsourcing expenditure,
- Salaries for administration and other supporting staff,
- Cost of servers, office, tools, and software,
- Marketing and promotion expenditure,
- Fees for advisors related to the project, and
- Other overheads.
The pre-sale was completed on September 25. 4,862,878 BBT ($972,576) was attracted with a limit of 25,000,000 BBT.
There is a bonus program, announced during the ICO. The amount of bonus depends on the time of participation:
- 80% of tokens received by the team, 60% of tokens received by the advisors and early angel token owners at the ICO will be frozen for 1 year.
- If part of these tokens is not sold during the main token sale, they will be used for future funding rounds and will be locked for a minimum period of one year.
- Compensation for future contributors to The Block from the 12 million tokens reserved for this purpose is at the sole discretion of the founding team. Such contributors may include partnerships, advisors, and providers of other services.
Project services and their usage
The BitBoost project is built on the basis of The Block platform, within which the C2C marketplace is formed. The Block combines the use of Ethereum smart contract technology and its own BitBoost architecture, and has the ability to integrate third-party services. Ultimately, The Block’s services enable the user to buy or sell product quickly, safely and cheaply.
The Block is a downloadable application (client) available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. There is also an offline mode, when transactions are not processed until a user connects to the network again. BitBoost is also developing a mobile version of The Block for iOS, Android and Status.im.
The basic functionality of The Block application (market operations and transactions with goods) is completely decentralized with the help of blockchain. Each product listed in The Block corresponds to an Ethereum smart contract. Placing the goods, the seller indicates product information (type, cost, delivery conditions, etc.) and pays a listing fee in BBT tokens. Photos of the products are downloaded for free through the integrated private image hosting service directly from The Block.
The process of product listing is technologically a process of creating a smart contract through the user interface of the platform in The Block. Operations with goods offered for purchase also occur in the framework of a decentralized network. Each purchase and sale is fixed on the blockchain, and the calculation is implemented using ETH cryptocurrency.
BitBoost does not participate in the process of placing goods in The Block, in any operations with them. It does not control transactions; only the external Ethereum network does such operations. So participants need to pay standard fees for working with Ethereum (gas costs). The Block is necessary for working with the network; it also performs a number of auxiliary functions and provides related services.
Since the functioning of the marketplace implies the transfer of real goods, participation of an intermediary is necessary in calculations between seller and buyer. In The Block, such a decentralized "intermediary" is the blockchain itself; security in the calculation is implemented by an Escrow mechanism of a smart contract and arbitration system.
Escrow is a popular mechanism for depositing funds through a smart contract. In the case of The Block, the funds (ETH) received in payment for the goods are blocked by a smart contract and sent to the seller upon successful execution of their part of the transaction (delivery of goods of appropriate quality). In the event of disagreement by one of the parties, the arbitration process is started with the participation of an independent arbitrator; deposited funds are placed at his disposal. The seller can determine the arbitrator for transactions listing the goods. The arbitrator charges a separate commission from the buyer, but only in case of a mutual dispute. The process of dispute involves the provision of supporting documents and analysis of the transaction, after which a decision is made.
In the white paper, BitBoost gives the following example of the work of the arbitration system:
- The seller places the goods on The Block and selects an arbitrator who charges a fee of $5 in ETH in case of his involvement in the dispute.
- The buyer acquires the goods directing money from the wallet to escrow contract.
- The seller delivers the goods and sends the data on the completion of his part of the transaction to escrow contract.
- The buyer receives the goods and decides whether to close the transaction or open a dispute.
- In the event of a dispute, the seller can accept the claims and return money to the buyer, or disagree, then an arbitrator will be involved, who will take $5 from the buyer's deposited funds for his services.
- The arbitrator receives control over the deposited funds and decides on their distribution in any proportions between the parties.
For all calculations between buyers and sellers within the platform, The Block uses its own internal wallet that supports ETH and BBT. The wallet management code is taken from myetherwallet source code: https://github.com/kvhnuke/etherwallet/blob/mercury/app/scripts/myetherwallet.js
Funds for the wallet can be transferred from other external wallets as well as through ShapeShift via internal interface of The Block. Currently ShapeShift supports a wide range of cryptocurrencies, and it is planned to integrate exchange operations with fiat currencies in the future. The withdrawal of funds is also possible for any external services; user wallet protection occurs through the generation of a passphrase by the user during the registration. Support for multiple wallets within the app is planned.
In addition to basic functionality, BitBoost is planning to implement a number of auxiliary services designed to increase the security and user convenience: Reputation system, Filters, Instant search and chats. It will also be possible to provide services from third party service providers; they will have their own commissions.
The reputation system performs the function of preventive protection against fraud and classification of users, depending on their reliability. Each buyer and seller will have their own reputation rating, which is formed through an assessment of their behavior and quality of reliability during and after each transaction. BitBoost indicates that this service is in the process of development; hence it is too early to talk about its operation scheme. However, in our opinion, the most important is the nature of the Reputation system - centralized or decentralized. In the first case, the rating system is unlikely to differ from traditional online retailer services; it will be vulnerable both in terms of vote falsification and in terms of a centralized database. If the ratings are implemented with the involvement of the blockchain, it can become a most secure and protected service, and therefore also an objective one.
The filter system on The Block platform is designed to increase user convenience and protection against access to undesirable or illegal content. Due to the lack of ability to control the listing of items, anything can be sold within the platform. The Block will contain primarily the basic filters developed by the BitBoost team which will be enabled by default. The filters will differ depending on the chosen jurisdiction, where certain goods can be banned for sale. Users will also be able to subscribe to filters provided by third parties.
However, the user himself will choose whether to use the filters. In our opinion, voluntarily exposed filters is a very controversial tool in the sense of controlling the listing, because it does not protect the user from trading illegal goods without intent. Therefore the filter service increases the functionality of the platform more than providing safe trade.
It is planned to implement a functional search engine within The Block, as is done on large e-commerce platforms. Buyers will be able to perform searches without registration or logging in; updating of the list of products will occur in real time as you type.
Also, The Block will support a chat function with the seller; access to the chat will be available after initial registration without the need to log in. All chat messages will be encrypted during the transaction; encrypted messages can also be included in the transaction (additional delivery conditions, buyer address etc.) In fact, the encrypted chat will function due to the offchain architecture of the platform.
The cornerstone of The Block’s functioning is the security and user and transaction information protection. In this case, the blockchain component itself meets these criteria; BitBoost’s task is only to ensure the security of users’ personal data.
From the security point of view, The Block will use offchain encryption technologies; such data will be private. The Block uses the elliptic curve Curve25519 for private-public keypair generation. On a high-level summary, each Curve25519 user has a 32- byte secret key and a 32-byte public key. Each set of two Curve25519 users has a 32-byte shared secret used to authenticate and encrypt messages between the two users. During the purchase one-time private keys are created that allow providing data to third parties (arbitrators) without providing private keys.
The process of creating The Block account is declared as a simple and free process without additional procedures. The Block does not require any information that could be used to identify buyers and sellers; the same applies to e-mail addresses.
BitBoost is also planning to integrate the software to establish an anonymous connection - TOR. Together with the simple registration process (in fact, without KYS / AML procedures), ultimately the user can obtain almost absolute anonymity. In a general context this means The Block’s attractiveness to sellers and buyers, but gives rise to the risk of illegal transactions.
Development strategy and Roadmap
The decentralized BitBoost project has been in development since the first quarter of 2017. Despite the fact that currently only a beta version will be presented, the team is going to actively work and present all declared functionality by the end of 2018.
The white paper publishes a fairly detailed roadmap with a quarterly breakdown of plans. In the framework of this review, we will not give it in full, only pointing out the key milestones from our point of view.
Private alpha testing begins
Escrow and arbitration smart contracts completed
Desktop app for macOS, Windows, and Linux
Private beta testing begins
Public beta testing begins
BBT main sale
App for escrow and arbitration providers in beta testing
Reputation system in development
Live desktop app released
Live app for escrow and arbitration providers released
Live Status.im app released
Live web version released
Reputation system completed
Mobile apps for iOS and Android completed
Shipping provider integration completed
PassLfix integration completed
Storefront system completed
Bulk inventory upload completed
Tor user privacy completed
Fiat payment system in development
From the above it can be seen that the main results of the developers' work can be expected only in Q3 2018, since without a functioning reputation system and shipping it is hard to imagine a full-fledged functioning e-commerce platform.
The emphasis of the platform will be on users of cryptocurrency as the most loyal audience to cryptopayments. The initial markets which BitBoost will aim to enter will be Western Europe, Japan, South Korea, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and the UAE.
According to the founders, the next phase of development will be an entry into the C2C segment of emerging markets. This is not surprising, because China alone now accounts for about 42% of the e-commerce market. India also has a huge potential for growth in this segment.
It should also be noted that by 2019, the BitBoost project will be open source, which will positively affect its popularity. Currently, this is not the case due to the risk of competitors and re-use of the code as stated in the latest version of the white paper.
The BitBoost project was created in order to improve the e-commerce market. At the same time, efforts are aimed at making it more convenient for sellers and customers to work via The Block platform. Despite huge competition, the BitBoost project has every chance of success due to the size of the e-commerce market. According to statista.com, at the end of 2017, the market size will reach $1.5 trillion. The revenue structure and growth forecast until 2022 is presented in the following diagram:
At the same time, the market continues to grow at a very impressive rate; CAGR is more than 20%. This is not surprising; more and more trade is being transferred to the internet, given that global retail trade is valued at more than $22 trillion, the e-commerce segment still has much growth potential.
The online trading market is big, but rather heterogeneous. There are a number of reasons for this, but primarily the reason lies with the geographical division of global markets. For example, in 2017, the Chinese segment of e-commerce has outperformed the US; in general, geographical distribution has the following form:
It is clear from the diagram that the American and Chinese segments are the largest. At the same time, the structure of the largest markets by sales leaders is fundamentally different. In the USA at the end of 2016, top-selling revenues from e-commerce retailers were Amazon, Apple and Wal-Mart Stores; they have accounted for more than 80% of the market. In China, the structure of a similar segment looks quite different:
Such different distributions indicate significant competition in the global market and suggest that society is open to new services. For example, marketplaces based on blockchain already exist and only increase their popularity. Low commission and the ability to save private user data attract more and more customers. The main thing is that such a large market capacity allows developing all-new businesses in the e-commerce segment.
The BitBoost team consists of 9 people; three of them are founders. In general, the team does not have experience of implementing fintech startups or extensive experience in the field of e-commerce. Nevertheless, their CVs confirm high qualifications. In addition, two advisors with extensive experience of working with cryptocurrencies and fintech projects were involved:
Yessin Schiegg - Financial, Legal and Regulatory Expert - well-known figure among the crypto community. CFO Alpha Associates, former member of the advisory Board for Ethereum. Has experience in the largest companies in the financial sector such as Black Rock, Swiss Re, PwC.
Tommaso Bonanata - Financial Market Expert - Head of investment Management Base58 Capital. Previously worked in GAM Investment Management, Bank Julius Baer. We did not find any negative information connected with the team or unconfirmed work experience.
Paul Mahone - Founder, Lead Dev Front-End LinkedIn
Paul has been involved in various electronic marketplaces since 1992. He is one of the developers of the NXT FreeMarket, a decentralized marketplace built on the NXT blockchain. During the 1990s, Paul served as CEO of Molecular Robotics, the first nanotechnology company to be listed on the NASDAQ. He is one of the developers of the NXT FreeMarket, and has been an entrepreneur since founding a micro machine company in Los Angeles in the 1990s.
Andrew Lekar - Founder, Lead Dev Back-End LinkedIn
Andrew has been a blockchain developer for a long time, involved with NXT since the very beginning.
Samuele Maran - Founder, Project & Marketing LinkedIn
Samuele is a blockchain crypto enthusiast, visionary, and entrepreneur. He spent the last three years investigating the potential applications of new technologies related to crypto-currencies. Previously worked in Italian companies SARMA, R&M, Belvedere.
Tori Arcuri - Director of Operations LinkedIn
Tori has more than 20 years of experience in consulting in the field of business development, branding and logistics. At BitBoost, she will work to ensure operations efficiency and effectiveness, putting into practice our mission to redefine e-commence.
Álvaro Rodriguez - Director of marketing LinkedIn
A native of Spain and based in Switzerland, Álvaro holds a Ph.D from University of Santiago di Compostela and an MBA from ESIC. Worked mainly in Spanish companies in digital marketing.
Maksim Sergeev - Application developer LinkedIn
Alessandro Tozzi - Start-up advisor and community manager LinkedIn
Alessandro is Technology Transfer Director for the Boston Entrepreneurship Center (BEC) and oversees projects technology transfer and implementation of several young startups, including spinoffs of the engineering department of BEC. Alessandro is also a project manager, entrepreneur and blockchain enthusiast. He has served as advisor and staff member in successful blockchain projects.
Riccardo Scanavacca - iOS Dev LinkedIn
Riccardo is a mobile developer based in London. A self-taught programmer and keen technologist, he strongly believes the future will rely on distributed ledger technology and its various applications. When he is not developing new ideas and opportunities, he works on internal iOS apps for the BBC.
Eva Fernández Arias - Social Media Manager
Eva has worked as a Social Media Manager and Content Creator for more than 5 years as part of various agencies and media.
The BitBoost project is conducting a moderate marketing campaign. Regarding crypto-media, the project does not have a very wide presence. Only a few announcements can be found on the network, while they are not presented in top publications. There are also various ICO-analytical notes and summaries on specialized websites.
The project is not broadly presented on social networks; despite the fact that the website has links to the main social networks, the number of subscribers is not yet high. Here are some numbers that are accurate at the time of writing this review:
- Facebook – 603
- Twitter – 1349
- Telegram – 300
For some reason, the list did not include the popular Slack; apparently the team decided to concentrate on other channels of communication. For example, the BitBoost project has an impressive branch on bitcointalk.org, which has more than 60 pages. In addition to classic bounty hunting questions about the essence of the project can be found among the talking points, to which the team tried to respond quickly. The beta version and the organization of transaction security are among the most essential topics for questions. Here is an example of one productive discussion, taken from p.62 of the forum:
Discussions on bitcointalk are still considered a good practice rule for ICO projects, although more and more teams have recently neglected this classic communication tool.
Competitive Advantages of the Project
The BitBoost project, as a decentralized e-commerce marketplace, has a large number of competitors. This is understandable, since the first cryptocurrencies had to become a reliable means of payment. The concept of almost anonymous trade without censorship was and remains very attractive. For this reason, a fairly large number of decentralized trade protocols have been developed in recent years; one of the most famous ones is OpenBazaar, which implements the trade protocol via bitcoin.
The possibilities of smart contracts allowed developers to lay down more complex logic in the blockchain system; current startups, such as BitBoost, are developing higher-level marketplaces. The founders made quite an interesting comparison with competing platforms. Here is a comparison chart taken from the white paper:
Looking at the table, we can conclude that in fact the projects are not so different. All of them are decentralized and allow trading. How many platforms are charged, what crypto assets are allowed to pay – these are details. But these details will become the keystone of victory in the competitive struggle.
The first thing that BitBoost definitely allocates is a low fixed commission for listing, only $1(in BitBoost tokens). We will not say here how much commission is charged on eBay. Low commission is important for sellers and will be treated as a major advantage.
Buyers come to decentralized marketplaces for privacy. Many of them want the parameters of their transactions to remain protected from outsiders, including collateral correspondence. BitBoost team promises to implement "Absolute Privacy", namely:
"Although transactions will be on the blockchain, The Block is fully encrypted. The messages between buyer and seller are encrypted, and personal information (such as shipping address) is also encrypted by default. Your information is protected from any kind of leak or attack. "
In fact, the price and privacy features will be the key to BitBoost’s competitive success. All other features will not be accepted if two main services are not implemented at a high level. But everything, as always, is in the founders’ hands.
Risks of the Project
The BitBoost project has many risks. Some are related to competitors, some to internal factors. The main risk will always be human psychology. People do not always choose the most advanced service; more often they choose the most famous and the most convenient. Therefore, marketing and the quality of internal services will be a decisive factor, particularly for an e-commerce marketplace.
Regarding the competitors, the threat may come from the centralized giants of the industry, in the person of Amazon, eBay or Alibaba. Any of their developments on the basis of the blockchain will be perceived by the market extremely positively and could prevent the transition of customers to decentralized marketplaces.
We also see the risks from the introduction of the lightning network to the bitcoin network. Bitcoin is the most popular digital asset, and in the near future its position is unlikely to change. Improving the scalability of the network and increasing the speed of execution of transactions will be a long-awaited plus for the network and the popularity of digital gold will rise even higher. For many users, the blockchain system is bitcoin, and if it is possible to quickly and easily buy goods with it, there may be no smart contracts.
And finally - trading on the DarkNet. Of course, this issue is not about BitBoost, but there could be certain analogies. After all, privacy in the network is often needed to implement illegal operations. The latest version of the white paper even has a special section entitled "NOT ANOTHER DARKNET MARKET", which explains why BitBoost is not Silk Road, what DarkNet is and how Tor works.
With all of the above, we must remember that the e-commerce market is so large that there is enough space for all projects; how large a space will depend on the business model and the talent of the team of the particular project.
Economy of the Project
On The Block platform, sellers and buyers make payments for goods in ETH. In addition to payments for goods, both parties pay Ethereum transaction fees (gas fees), which are not dependent on BitBoost and are defined inside the blockchain network. The seller additionally pays a listing fee as a fixed amount - 1 $ nominated in BBT tokens for the placement of goods in The Block. The volume of BBT tokens is constantly adjusted based on market value in order to maintain a fixed value in dollars. Received BBT tokens in payment for listing fees will be sold by BitBoost on the open market (on cryptocurrency exchanges or inside the platform, forming a counter offer for platform users), so they will be returned to circulation.
In addition to commission payments, the platform keeps third party service provider fees from the participants of the transaction; BitBoost receives a portion of these payments (15%). The costs of arbitration are taken into account in the event of a dispute between the parties in the transaction process. The size of the arbitration commission and the arbitrator are determined when listing the goods. The commission of the arbitrator is paid only from the buyer's funds after the arbitration has been effected from the amount of funds deposited in the smart contract.
Thus, we have a fairly simple economy: there is a fixed fee in BBT tokens for the placement of goods and commissions to third-party services, from the proceeds of which BitBoost operations as well as transaction and arbitration costs will be financed. The team does not justify the decision to fix the listing fee in fiat, but it plays in its favor in terms of protecting against currency risks, since transaction costs will also be denominated in fiat currency.
Investment highlights of the token
BBT tokens are infrastructurally significant for The Block platform – the listing fee when the goods are placed by the seller is charged in BBT tokens. Tokens do not offer any other preferences to holders. Thus, the demand for BBT tokens on the market will be determined by the scale of BitBoost’s business - this is the basis of the fundamental investment attractiveness of tokens.
At pre-sale and the ICO, as stated by BitBoost tokens are sold at a discount to their value after the launch of the platform; however, since the financial model is not represented by the team, it is difficult to predict their price in the medium term. If the team implements plans for occupying a niche market, and the platform is popular with consumers, the potential for growth in the value of BBT tokens will be limited only by the capacity of the C2C e-commerce segment.
It is also worth noting that the BitBoost business model is free of currency risk, since the listing fee is fixed in fiat. This can be a plus for investors and for the project, because such risk is typical for many ICOs. However, commission for the listing is fixed regardless of the cost and quantity of the goods, which means the scalability of the business due to the expansion of the product line or the number of sellers. This decision plays in favor of large sellers, but makes the commission high to accommodate small amounts or cheap goods. In addition, the correlation of BitBoost revenue and the size of the marketplace will not be absolute. As a result, BitBoost’s decision to fix the listing fee makes the business model of the project simultaneously reliable, but not flexible in relation to the status of consumers.
Additional triggers for the speculative attractiveness of the BBT token are not available so it will be important to demonstrate the team's work on the project and the demand for The Block product on the market after the ICO. In addition, the token price can be influenced by external factors due to the fact that The Block is based on Ethereum - for example, the release of updates (Casper, Raiden).
In conclusion, we can say that BitBoost is a promising project for creating C2C marketplace using Ethereum blockchain architecture. Despite the fact that technological solutions cause certain fundamental risks, they determine the high competitiveness of the project among e-commerce companies and similar C2C start-ups. The long-term attractiveness of the token is determined by its infrastructural importance, as well as the size and growth rate of BitBoost business. There are fewer drivers for the growth of speculative interest in BBT; anyway they depend on the degree of success in launching The Block platform as well as general market sentiment.