Saifu Rating Review

Stable+

Investment Rating

Expire date: 30.07.2018


We assign the Saifu project a "Stable+" rating.

The Saifu project offers a financial platform that will support both fiat and cryptocurrency accounts, combining them in one client account offering the ability to exchange and deposit/withdraw both types of currency. Despite the fact that the Saifu project offers no revolutionary idea, some of its services could become new standards for the FinTech blockchain segment.

The Saifu project is an example of a balanced start-up. The project has no obvious weaknesses, but it is naturally subject to all the "classic" risks for start-ups. Therefore, an early stage of development and a closed MVP are not critical factors for making an investment decision.

Legal and security aspects are two of the main aspects of the service that the project team is betting on. Since regulation in the crypto market is still very raw, available licenses could quickly devalue due to changes in the market situation. Thus, we see the main development prospects to be more in the sphere of protecting client funds. The fact that Saifu is co-operating with the leading crypto security company Thales is a definite strength of the project.

The founders have assembled a professional team. The fact that Evgeny Vigovsky, former Global Head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection Business Unit is involved, is a strong positive. We also welcome the recruitment of Danil Perushev (founder of Sweatcoin) to the project.

We would also like to highlight the marketing and documentation design levels. Despite the fact that the project does not pretend to hype, promotion of the project looks consistent and balanced. The last edition of the white paper is in many respects exemplary, with all major sections and a fully disclosed financial model.

The basic driver of SFU token price growth will be the popularity of Saifu’s services which require using and accumulating tokens to pay platform commissions. If integration of a utility token into an ecosystem is standard practice, Saifu builds on this to include a program for burning a portion of collected coins and a loyalty system to stimulate token use.

Saifu is a project for creating a financial platform that would support both fiat and cryptocurrency accounts, combining them in one client account offering the ability to exchange and deposit/withdraw both types of currency.

The concept is not a new one; the architecture is centralized, the list of services is generally standard and similar to other major financial services, except for the cryptocurrency component. However, the key advantages, as the documentation points out, are security, simplicity and controllability.

To ensure security on the platform, the most effective technologies are used in conjunction with Thales which enables Saifu to claim bank-level security. At the same time, the interface and architectural logic will be maximally adapted for users unfamiliar with cryptocurrency and blockchain. Adjustability (i.e. another aspect of security) will be secured by obtaining financial licenses; a banking license in the future would enable Saifu to set a truly unique precedent in the market.

These advantages are strong ones compared to other interesting innovative solutions and decentralized architecture types (for example, full p2p or decentralized operations). If the concept of simplicity is often subjective, security and controllability are rare qualities for services and there are no complete equivalents for Saifu. Given an uncertain status for cryptocurrencies in many jurisdictions, the creation of a service that falls under the direct control of financial institutions whose activities are regulated by additional legal mechanisms has been long overdue and necessary for both consumers and the industry.

Saifu approaches its ICO with a limited MVP – a closed beta payment platform. Its current achievements also include a payment institution license from the Czech National Bank in May 2017, developed in partnership with Thales’ market-leading, bank-grade security for cryptocurrency and transactions. Currently, the platform has a connection to SWIFT, the possibility of using Visa or MasterCard, etc. From a legal point of view, the project is represented by Paymaster a.s. (Company No. 05690382), registered in Prague, Czech Republic.

ICO

Start: Feb 19, 2018

End: Apr 30, 2018   

Soft cap: $10,000,000

Hard cap: $49,000,000

Price: 1 SFU = 0.0001 BTC

Min investment: N/A

Token: SFU, standard ERC-20

Accepted currencies: BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, DOGE, and USD

Total emission: 200,000,000 SFU

On sale: 130,000,000 SFU

  • All tokens not sold or allocated will be burned. The team is planning to produce about 100 million SFU to reach the hard cap.
  • Founders and team members are required to hold their SFU tokens for a minimum period of six months following the end of the ICO.

The ICO does not provide bonuses. All bonuses were provided during the closed and open pre-sale which took place between December 2017 and February 2018.

The Saifu platform offers a user the facility to purchase, store, spend and exchange fiat and cryptocurrency in a single account with the use of IBAN and debit cards.

For the end-user, Saifu offers desktop and mobile versions with user-friendly interfaces. Within the applications a user can see transaction history, balances on both fiat and crypto accounts and perform all necessary operations.

The service functionality and the combined crypto and fiat account are realized through a bundle of fiat currency in corresponding bank accounts and cryptocurrency in a secured hardware module. For the end user, a single KYC procedure will enable both types of account to be used within a single platform.

Currency can be transferred to or withdrawn from a Saifu account via IBAN, SEPA/SWIFT or Visa/Mastercard through any bank. Cryptocurrency can be transferred by standard transaction methods to a third-party wallet. At the same time, Mastercard debit cards can be linked to any account in any currency for use with the payment service. All payment transactions from the crypto account are implemented by automatic conversion to fiat.

The process of exchanging cryptocurrency is realized by means of existing software which is directly connected with the largest crypto exchanges. Saifu will open corporate crypto and fiat accounts on these exchanges, through which the exchange of cryptocurrency will be performed. In this way the fairest possible exchange rate will be achieved - as close as possible to the current stated exchange rate. The team state that two cryptocurrencies are currently supported - ETH and BTC.

Security

Platform security solutions are being developed in conjunction with Thales; there is no doubt that this company is reliable. Each account on the platform has an access key created and stored in the Thales Hardware Security Module. Even if Saifu’s systems are hacked the access key cannot be stolen, as it will also require hacking of Thales’ systems. The system also uses a series of 'Treasury vaults' and 'Operation vaults'. Implementation of operations on the platform is possible only if there are simultaneously two trusted members of the Saifu team in the smartcards Security Module.

Thales' solutions primarily concern cryptocurrency accounts, since regulatory and security opportunities for fiat accounts are much higher due to licensing and the centralized nature of the financial system.

Saifu also supports a multi-level security system: multifactor authentication, data encryption, web application firewall, anti-DDoS protection, intrusion detection and prevention system, etc.

Saifu clearly adheres to the principles of AML in its activities, as this is required for licensed activities and ensuring regulators are on side. Thus, the architecture of the blockchain account is centralized, which means that a user cannot make transactions from the crypto wallet outside of Saifu. Control over deposit and withdrawal flows is thus secured to ensure unquestionable/legal transactions.

According to the documentation, the platform being developed corresponds to European and international standards: EU E-Money Directive; 2009/110 / EC EU Payment Services Directive; 2007/64 / EC IFRS standards.

Saifu aims to make the global crypto market more reliable, more legal and more transparent. There are obviously many problems to be solved in this market, and many projects in one way or another are working towards overcoming them. It is a question of fundamental services for crypto assets such as exchanges, payment systems, wallets, etc.

With such a wide range of services announced in Saifu’s documentation, the opening potential of the market is very high; the official white paper states as much. For this purpose, a number of impressive figures drawn from the current state of the market are given.

Currently, capitalization of the crypto market is about $470 billion; daily trading volume is about $15-16 billion; number of coins is more than 1,500, all according to coinmarketcap.com at the time of writing. This is the size of the market for which crypto exchanges and other exchange services are competing.

Considering cryptocurrency as a means of payment, we need to consider the number of transactions in networks. Currently the leading cryptocurrencies cannot boast a high capacity. For example, the number of transactions on the Bitcoin network is only about 170,000 per day; competitors are not standing still and they are already showing better results.

The Ethereum network shows about 700,000 transactions per day, the Ripple network has about 650,000 transactions per day. It is a rather subjective question whether this is as big or as small a number as Visa reported 65,000 transactions per second in August 2016.

It is obvious that capacity is one of the main problems for cryptocurrency. Therefore, great efforts are being concentrated on overcoming current shortcomings in network capacity whilst maintaining the main advantages of decentralization. Projects for the development of Ethereum such as zk-SNARK, Plasma and Raiden Network are of prime interest.

At one time, Vitalik Buterin, speaking at TechCrunch Disrupt 2017, spoke optimistically about the prospects for the Ethereum network:

“Bitcoin is processing a bit less than three transactions per second. Ethereum is doing five a second. Uber gives 12 rides a second. It will take a couple of years for the blockchain to replace Visa.”

In the Bitcoin network, classically, things are not going so fast but the introduction of SegWit has already ensured certain results. According to segwit.party the share of SegWit transactions for the last month doubled from 15% to 30% of the total number of transactions.

The Saifu project is actively promoting the increased security of its solutions in its marketing campaign. We find this a valid point, as wallets and exchanges are constantly exposed to hacker attacks. More recently, the Japanese exchange Coincheck was attacked, enabling a hacker to steal $500 million of client assets. In this light, it is extremely useful that the COO of the project, Evgeny Vigovsky, has worked for many years as the head of Kaspersky's DDoS Protection Business Unit. Experience in this position is priceless; there has been political pressure on Kaspersky Lab recently but this does not alter the fact that the company is one of the leaders in IT security.

As a follow-up to the issue of security, Saifu’s co-operation with Thales is very interesting. Other ICO projects have not been able to demonstrate any official partnerships with recognized experts in crypto security so far. Thales nShield HSMs hardware solution integrated with Saifu could significantly affect technical requirements for FinTech companies’ operations in the future. We find this cooperation ambitious and timely.

With all this, the project is entering an extremely competitive environment. It is impossible to develop basic infrastructure services aimed at the whole crypto market without fierce competition for customers.

We note that the team has done a good job in analyzing the competitive environment in the latest version of the white paper. The main competitors are Monaco, Bankera, Revolut and Cryptereum. Conditional comparisons with projects in the following categories are made: Legal, Security, Interface, Cards and ease of crypto use. According to the team, Saifu has strong positions in Legal, Security and ease of crypto use and medium positions for Interface and Cards due to its early stage of development.

The main competitor from this list is the Revolut project, since Saifu is similarly licensed and pays attention to security of its clients’ facilities. In Revolut, funds are stored in separate accounts with Lloyds.

We will not specifically conduct a detailed comparison of services here, nor examine submitted projects or other major market players. This is because we do not think that anyone is currently able to provide an all-in-one product that will lead in all categories of service offered. At the same time, we think that the most successful service implementation will be included in a set of best practices for the developing financial industry. Saifu’s security solutions could be breakthrough ones, and thus affect the spread of the platform most significantly.

We are not so optimistic regarding the other emphasised marketing point, which is the legal aspect. The fact is that regulatory conditions are still too vague in the "wild crypto west" and the rules of the game could drastically change at any time for all projects. A license from the Czech National Bank does not seem a big advantage; competitors could obtain this too if necessary. 

The founders were able to assemble an impressive team. The description shows that the team has strong education and most importantly relevant professional background. Available information about the team gives reason to hope that all of Saifu’s stated functionality will be implemented in the terms announced.

It should be noted that descriptions of the team members are detailed; involvement in specific projects and held positions are indicated. Many other ICO projects do not give these aspects due attention; they are often limited to general descriptions and links to LinkedIn profiles.

We highlight the fact that one co-founder has worked at Kaspersky Lab for a long period; such experience could be useful to the project. In addition, we welcome the fact that one of the team members, Danil Perushev, has a good reputation in the Russian start-up community.

The current team consists of more than 15 people. The structure includes two founders and five managers; other members are specialists in various areas. This is not our classification; we use information from the official website.

Below we give a brief description of the team members according to the documentation and the Saifu website:

Alexander Legoshin, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Co-Founder

Alexander has over 10 years experience in strategic marketing and a history of successful investment. In 2012 he turned his attention to the cryptocurrency market. Over the next few years, Alexander became a partner in several successful businesses in various sectors. At Saifu, he is responsible for strategic development, regulator relations and global business development.

More detail: LinkedIn

 

Evgeny Vigovsky, COO & CTO, Co-Founder

Evgeny is a senior executive with vast experience successfully creating and bringing high-tech products and services to the global market. Evgeny has been a blockchain enthusiast since 2013.

Before launching Saifu, Evgeny worked for over 12 years at Kaspersky Lab. Starting as a product line manager, he left the company as the Global Head of Kaspersky’s DDoS Protection Business Unit.

Evgeny is skilled in global business development, information security and technology, FinTech, blockchain, product and services management, and marketing. At Saifu, he is in charge of the operational side of the business, new product development for corporate and private clients, as well as technological development and security.

More detail: LinkedIn

 

Zach Murray, Head of Communications

Zach has 10 years’ experience in management, finance and communications, with an MBA from Cass Business School in London. He started his own fund in 2011, which focused primarily on currency trading. He has worked for top global financial institutions in New York, London and Moscow, and is well connected in the global world of finance. At Saifu, Zach runs communications for ICO participants, businesses and users.

More detail: LinkedIn

Danil Perushev, Director of Business Development

Danil is a Serial tech entrepreneur with over 10 years’ experience. He specializes in B2C products in the early stages of development. His most recent project is Sweatcoin. At Saifu Danil helps the company to grow at the strategic level.

More detail: LinkedIn

Eizens Slava, Head of Back Office

Eizens started his career in the banking industry back in 1993 at the Latvian Parex Bank. Holding senior positions, he developed loans and leasing business for the bank in local and international markets. For over two years, he was the Head of Key Accounts Department, Vice President of the Latvijas Krājbanka (Latvian Savings Bank). In 2011 Eizens left the banking industry to become CEO and then Chairman of the Board of the payday loans company VIA SMS Group, operating in six European markets. Before joining Saifu where he is the Head of Back Office, he was engaged in loans and mortgage brokerage.

More detail: LinkedIn

Victoria Kolosova, Head of Legal

Victoria has a strong background in the banking and finance industry. She started her career in 2004 in Russia’s largest bank Sberbank working with credit cards. After moving to the Latvian Expobank in 2008, she held various positions in the client services, business development and compliance. In 2015, she became the Corporate Business Development manager in the bank’s office in Hong Kong. Her last job was in business consultancy for a payment facilitator in the Czech Republic. For Saifu, Victoria is supervising customer service operations.

More detail: LinkedIn

Leonid Kondratiev, Head of Marketing

Leonid has a strong background in IT, design and programming, which he first put to work in digital marketing campaigns at Philips in 2013. Since then he has developed his marketing skills at top IT companies. At Saifu, Leonid manages marketing efforts which focus on digital marketing campaigns.

More detail: LinkedIn

 

Team

Denis Katkov

LinkedIn

Project manager

Maxim Prishchepo

LinkedIn

Blockchain developer

Anatoliy Sokolnikov

LinkedIn  

Blockchain developer

Dmitry Glukhodedov

LinkedIn

Treasury specialist

 

Advisory board

Timothy Enneking

LinkedIn

Tim a leading global crypto investor, successful senior executive, and the founder and primary principal of Crypto Asset Management

Ben Banerjee

LinkedIn

Ben is a co-founder and board member at Swiss Impact Investment Association

Aleksandr Minakov

LinkedIn

Aleksandr is Head of Investor Relations at ICOBox and a blockchain visionary and enthusiast

Johnson Chng

LinkedIn

Founding partner of Silkroad Finance Corp, a merchant bank headquartered in HK. Over 25 years of management consulting experience

working with clients in North America, Europe and more than 10 countries in Asia

Vaclav Bedrich

LinkedIn

Vaclav is a co-founder of the most prominent tech magazine based in the Czech Republic and has ties to leading media in Central and Eastern Europe for all marketing-related activities

 

SFU tokens issued during the ICO perform standard utility functions within financial services. Commission for operations on the platform will be calculated in fiat currency, but paid in SFU. These operations include:

  • Fiat/crypto exchange and vice versa
  • Payments in fiat
  • Conversion operations for fiat
  • Debit card issue
  • Conversion operations on cards during payment (including fiat/crypto exchange)
  • Access to trade bots

It is worth noting that information about commissions in the documentation is not exhaustive: firstly, there is no understanding of their size - this is one of the decisive factors for the payment system; there is no final structure for commissions either. In particular, the commissions for exchanging cryptocurrencies will include both exchange rates and transaction fees.

In the framework of targeting customers including people who are not involved in the crypto industry, commission can be paid through momentary conversion of funds; however, Saifu provides a program to stimulate the purchase of SFU to pay commissions - a loyalty scheme. The main parameters of the loyalty program are given in the white paper; they could be changed at the company’s discretion:

There are two types of bonus: Tokens back, by analogy with fiat cashback, and discount, i.e. a discount on payments. We see that even without accumulating tokens and paying commission with their own tokens, users get 5% of tokens back. Thus, a user is incentivised to hold onto received tokens in the future. The user receives the largest number of tokens back and discount amount if saving 50,000 SFU over 3 months and making payments in SFU.

Saifu also has the ability to limit and reduce the number of tokens in circulation. The team provides for burning 70% of tokens used for transactions (commissions), except for the volume of tokens back. Although such a program is interesting for the market, we doubt that a figure of 70% is achievable, since burning would put serious pressure on the project’s operating break-even.

It should be noted that Saifu provides several strong parameters for affecting the price of the token when constructing the ecosystem and token. This is a positive moment, primarily from the point of view of token holders, both consumers and investors.

Regarding further circulation of SFU tokens, the team states that after the ICO they will be listed on at least 3 large exchanges. Target participants are HitBTC and OKEX; negotiations are also being conducted with Mercatox, Ether Delta, Yobit, Livecoin and Coinrail.

The basic driver of SFU token price growth is popularity of Saifu’s services through use and accumulation of the token to pay platform commissions. Moreover, burning a portion of collected coins and offering loyalty system to stimulate the use of the token, for Saifu, augment the standard practice of constructing a utility token by integrating it into an ecosystem.

From the point of view of long-term investment, the influence of the number of users and their activity is therefore the determining factor; additional factors are the Saifu policy for burning collected tokens and loyalty program options.

We do not see short-term factors affecting the price of the token, since the intensity of marketing activity prevents any accusation for Saifu of being a hype ICO. ICO token market trends don’t allow any growth assumption in the short term without the fundamental potential appearing at the end of 2018 when the platform is operational (release is scheduled for the second half of 2018). The token looks attractive in the medium-term, especially considering the significant advances in development and the proximity of the release date.

The documentation offers the company's consolidated business plan for the next three years, as well as a forecast for operating indicators for eight quarters. In the business plan, the average revenue per visitor is $160-250 for an individual and $60,000 for businesses.

In a conservative scenario, by the third year of operation the platform will generate 4.2 million Euros in revenue and profits of 1.8 million Euros, before burned tokens are deducted.

The team primarily calculates using current indicators for applications for closed beta testing, as well as its own forecasts based on marketing policy.

Below we depict growth rate dynamics for users, separately for individuals and businesses, according to the data given in the white paper for the next 8 quarters. The team also explains that in the first year of operation, monthly growth rate will be 25% for individuals and 20% for businesses (judging by the calculations, Q1 already includes 6 months of operation in the first year). The figures do not seem overly optimistic; however, how significant the influence of client base growth on market demand will be also depends on the rate for burning tokens and the portion of commissions paid in SFU.

Expected growth rate for number of Saifu users:

The Saifu project is an example of a balanced start-up. In fact, the project has no obvious weaknesses but naturally it is subject to all the "classic" risks for a start-up. Therefore, the early stage of development and a closed MVP are not surprises or critical factors in making an investment decision.

The scope of Saifu is extensive and competitive. The entire infrastructure is fighting for clients; Bitfinex and Coinbase are competitors in a certain sense. The services that Saifu provides should be so good that customers will want to migrate to this platform, and so convenient that customers will not want to leave the platform if competitors offer similar conditions.

The next risk, in our opinion, lies with the basic innovation of the project – its co-operation with Thales and integration of Thales’ nShield HSMs solution. Many investors are very optimistic about this decision, therefore any information discrediting the security of the platform will be perceived as painfully as possible. Pitching itself as a service with commercial bank levels of security, Saifu will have to maintain this image otherwise its reputation will drastically suffer.

 

 

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.