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Introducing Token Filings, a Transparency Directory for ICOs and Token Sales

Token Filings by William MougayarICOs and Token Sales present a new territory from an information disclosure point of view.

In traditional public markets, you can go to Bloomberg, Yahoo!Finance, Google Finance and check a plethora of profile and performance data on companies. Or you can get more in-depth company information by paying for services like FactSet, Capital IQ or Thomson Reuters. In the startup world, Crunchbase or Mattermark (I’m an investor) have that segment covered.

In the ICO/Blockchain world, a number of sites are covering ICOs from a research, promotional or token performance characteristics point of view (I enumerated most of them in a previous post, The Ultimate List of ICO Resources). However, there was no place where you can get a single holistic information view on these ICOs, had they been treated like public companies.

To help solve this gap, in the past few weeks, I’ve been working with my friend Bill Soitsmann on a project to develop such a database of ICO-related information, and pleased to open it today, in its beta stage.


About 200 companies are listed. For some of them, the data is complete, but for many others, it is not.

For each ICO, the data sections are:

  • Profile
  • Tokenonomics
  • Market
  • Docs
  • People
  • News
  In the process of finding the data for these companies, it was painstakingly obvious that the information was literally all over the place. The information is there, but it is difficult to find. The news section is particularly interesting if you like to follow this space. It is an aggregation of content from 250 sources. In addition to the main news on the home page, each ICO has its own news feed.

This isn’t an SEC/Edgar type of service, but it would be great if ICO companies would disclose this type of information clearly when they are communicating their token sale event and evolution. Regardless, you’ll be able to check Token Filings and get a picture.

Imagine the comparative data power we will have, once this data is complete.

If you are from an ICO that is not listed, or not completed, please email me (wmougayar@gmail.com) or use the contact info in the footer, and we will send you a link to an entry form that you can update.

I’m also looking for help, if you are a research oriented student and want to learn about his burgeoning field. Please contact me.

Help me making this resource a useful one for our ecosystem. I’d love to get most of these companies’ profiles completed in the next 3 weeks, despite the summer doldrums.


30 Blockchain Videos on a YouTube Channel

WIlliam Mougayar speakingI haven’t done a good job promoting some of my videos from recent talks, so I decided to place all of them in a dedicated YouTube channel. New ones will be added there, so if you subscribe to that channel, you will be notified. With that in mind, I’d like to highlight some of the most recent ones. Paris, ECE, May 2017   Epicenter Interview, June 2017  TedX Indianapolis, April 2017    Opening at the Token Summit, New York, May 2017 Feel free to check out the Channel. Here’s the link: William Mougayar and the Blockchain YouTube Channel]]>

The Crowd is Always Right: ICOs, Regulation and Crypto Wallets in Your App

PAFF_101116_WisdomofCrowds_newsfeature-300x250I’m taking a liking to Twitter surveys, and would like to highlight the past 3 that I recently conducted.

Following a cue from the first one that was prescient, I’m a believer in the wisdom of the crowd.

ICO or Token Sale?

In early 2017, some people started to dislike the term ICO. I’ll admit being torn between naming our conference ICO Summit or Token Summit (I had already privately registered the domain icosummit.com last year). Token Summit won, as it was the overarching theme. But the crowd was right that the term ICO had a lot of legs to it, and sure enough, we have seen the flurry of ICOs take off in the May/June timeframe.

Whither ICO Regulation?

To regulate or not regulate is not the question, but rather: to what degree, when, by whom, and for whom? In this survey, the time horizon is very important. The crowd doesn’t believe that regulation will come to ICOs within the next 90 days. This is a survey that is likely to be repeated.

Is That a Wallet in Your App?

Only a few decentralized apps have a built-in wallet that can hold your cryptocurrency tokens. Steemit is a well known example. If a token is part of your product or app, then the next logical functionality is to build a wallet to keep track of these tokens as you interact with the product or service. There is no doubt that more and more apps are going to include wallets inside of them.

While I can’t wait to see blockchain prediction markets like Gnosis and Augur take full shape at tackling the wisdom of the crowd on a larger scope, I think a few surveys can give a good picture.


A Token is Not a Short Term Carrot, Ceci N'est Pas Une Pipe

MagrittePipeConsider the much-discussed painting, The Treachery of Images (“Ceci n’est pas une pipe”; “This is not a pipe”), by the French surrealist painter, René Magritte (1898-1967).

Magritte highlights for our consideration the idea that an image of a pipe is not the same thing as the pipe itself. His statement is taken to mean that the painting itself is not a pipe; it is merely an image of a pipe. Hence, the description, “this is not a pipe”.

Conversely, a token is not a short term carrot, nor a stick for that matter. Just having a token doesn’t mean that you have a working business model attached with it.

Amidst the flurry of ICOs we are seeing, a trend is emerging in token distribution practices: reserving tokens to incentivize users to participate or take action.

There are different ways this type of incentive is being thought of, one of which resembles getting a free drink coupon. So, you enter the bar because you were given a free drink ticket. You order the drink and mingle as expected, giving the illusion you are hooked and will stay, but do you actually stay and spend more? You could leave for a variety of reasons, but the ticket alone wasn’t the clinching factor in keeping you there. It was only good enough to get you there to try it.

Just as companies need a strong value proposition [read], the token being part of your product, also needs to have a strong value proposition:


Acquiring users & getting the token to work right with said users is a dual challenge. Doing both doubles the difficulty factor: 1) gaining a critical mass of engaged users (or developers) for your product, and 2) finding a sustainable utility factor the token together.

This brings us to the topic of Token Utility Fit (TUF). It is analogous to product-to-market fit (PMF) in startup-speak. For a refresher, please read Product/Market Fit is a Continuum.

Just like PMF, until the token fit is evident (via metrics), you are still at the hypothesis level.

Looking at the market, I’m seeing two types of startups and companies who are contemplating, or implementing ICOs, and I’ll admit being in the enviable position of interacting with several of them, each week.

One type is the new startup that aims to design the token as part of a new product. They are typically targeting an existing market, but with the token as the novelty. Example: Blocktix, for event promotion and ticketing, or AdEx, who wants to create an decentralized Ad exchange. [Disclaimer: I don’t have any affiliation with these 2 examples, nor am I recommending them. They are just examples.]

Another type is the existing startup or company who wants to apply the token to their already-running model, with the variation being on how to accommodate such tokens. Kik is one example that has been publicized already [I did a fireside chat with Kik’s CEO Ted Livingston at the Token Summit in New York last May]. There are many other examples being planned, as my Inbox is filled with some of them. The scenario goes like this: Company X has an existing product. They want to add a token. I immediately ask them to focus on token functionality and refer them to my post on Tokenomics that outlines the various utility scenarios.

In either cases, the working token is a hypothesis waiting to be proven. Initially, you assume that user behavior will be aided by the token. In practice, only real traction metrics tell you if you were right, wrong or need to iterate.

To further complicate matters, there is a difference between a token that is designed for a decentralized protocol versus a token that is part of an application. The key difference is that developers are the primary targets for a protocol, therefore the token utility is oriented towards them via utility use cases of technical nature, e.g. gas for running smart contracts, voting rights, mining, or security deposits. And with an App token, the usage is more related to actions that end-users will take, e.g. posting content, engaging with a service, creating a new service, or buying/selling something.

Ideally, your product functionality works in lock-step with the token, while the token is transparent and in the background. A good example is Steemit where users focus on their natural engagement with content, and their wallets are automatically credited or debited, depending on the actions being taken.

The novelty with App tokens is what they enable, namely a transactional mini-economy that results in buying/selling or earning/spending activities within itself,- a circular economy of sorts. But a circular economy doesn’t mean a circular (read Ponzi) token. Real work must be done, and real value must be created, as a result of user actions. If your user base engagement is fledgeling, a token may not be the panacea, unless it is properly threaded into the product, and user behavior is accompanying the token utility.

The token itself is not your new business model. What the token enables for you and for your users is the key part to focus on.


My Opening Token Summit Talk (video) and Updating the Cryptoassets Reality Quadricle

First, here’s the final video from the Token Summit. It is my opening talk (7.5 minutes) in 2 parts that were chained together by post-video editing.

In the first part, I set the stage for the conference (followed by my partner Nick Tomaino’s introductory remarks), and this is when I reminded the audience that we were here to discuss token business models, not the price of tokens.

In the second part, I introduced the Tokens Reality Quadricle, a take on Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, but applied to token-based companies. Since this talk, I have updated the Quadricle twice, and here is the latest rendition (version 1.3). I added new companies, moved some from Darkness to Transition, and others from Transition to Reality. That slide will be continuously updated on the Slideshare link, so feel free to follow my account to be notified when I upload a new file.

I’ll admit that I’m not entirely happy with the label “Darkness’. I originally chose it to emphasize the fact that several projects were not doing a good enough job with regular market updates about their rate of progress. Self-reporting is a hard thing, especially if you are not doing as well as anticipated. So, I’m thinking about splitting the Darkness segment into two categories, and removing the Launch sector, because it only indicated that the ICO had taken place, which isn’t a big deal.

Later in the video, I outlined a high level view of how I’m seeing the various segments of the tokens/ICO ecosystem develop. This is a works-in-progress depiction, and I’ll have an upcoming post on this topic in the next few weeks.

Endnote: All videos from the Token Summit are now available on the Token Summit YouTube channel.


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