Week in Ethereum News
September 11, 2016

Quick Hits




Dates of note
  • September “16” – SingularDTV crowdsale may open (unclear)
  • 9/19 – 9/21 – DevCon2  (!!!)
  • 9/26 – eSports First Blood crowdsale begins
  • 9/28 – Hong (similar to The DAO) closes.
  • September TBA – Golem crowdsale begins
  • 9/29 – Iconomi closes
  • 9/30 – Coinbase to release ETC, presumably meaning many DAO investors will sell their ETC for ETH.
Decentralize Facebook/Reddit etc?

The players in “decentralized content” space in crypto so far seem to be Steemit, Akasha, Synero, and Decent.  Only Akasha is on Ethereum.  These are my notes so far:

Steemit launched a few months ago.  Steemit is something like “blockchain Medium/Reddit” where you can make money for posting and voting.  Before it launched, I read the paper and felt like it was way too top-heavy.  It’s already seen a hype cycle come and go [its market cap went from months of $10-20m to $400m and is now back to $90m], but it actually has decent traction within the crypto community.  That’s a small community, but it’s also the low hanging fruit.  Other platforms won’t necessarily find it as easy to pick up their first users.  The product is good about abstracting away the fact that it’s built on a blockchain.

Akasha will be on Ethereum (the others have their own blockchains), but will require both an Ethereum and an IPFS node for users.  That puts a very low ceiling on Akasha’s possible user base.  However, presumably it should get much of the Ethereum community.  It seems like they’re trying to do “blockchain Facebook” but they’re still at least a few months away from launching a product.

Synereo has the biggest tech vision.  They have some serious technologists on Synereo who are working on Casper.  Yet, they’re launching their own social network as the first app to utilize their blockchain. The upside is that it seems to build in some of Steemit’s “you get paid,” which can be a good hook to get users.   Downside: the crowdsale is complicated.  It’s also not clear that a product like a social media is the logical first product for a blockchain: social media tends to be binary (success or failure).

Decent has a crowdsale about to launch (has probably launched by the time you read this). I’ve read the Decent white paper and perused their site.  It took awhile for me to realize that this is decentralized iTunes. Maybe that speaks to me, maybe it speaks to poor marketing on their part.  They also botched their first crowdsale attempt – not a good sign.  In general, decentralized iTunes seems hard to me.  Apple could build a two-sided marketplace because it had the users/buyers from the iPod.  They also had the ability to cut deals with content providers (record labels). Decent has neither.

Overall: thinking about these projects has made me feel like their commercial viability is not close. That fits my investing thesis. However, Steemit’s relative success despite being so top-heavy might point to the fact that a good “hook” to get users onto the site can get the network effects necessary to make one of these projects take off.

Bonus Content – My Current Framework Analyzing ICOs

LAST CHANCE: I wrote a framework of how I analyze Ethereum ICOs, including a checklist of questions I ask myself.  It’s two pages, so too long to put in this email.  

Please share this issue on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or any other social site and email me and mention where you shared it.  You’ll get an email with the framework within the next few days.

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