I’m somewhat skeptical that Unikrn can reach its cap of $100 million (which they placed because they anticipated going over that), but I’m confident in the fundamentals overall. The eSports market is on schedule to near $700 million this year and grow to $1.5 billion by 2020. The eSports wagering market is projected to hit $23.5 billion by 2020. Unikrn is a small fish right now, but they’ve been trying to stay lean, which means their growth isn’t as fast as it could be (which is a good thing—manageable growth). But this is even better for anyone investing in UnikoinGold (UKG), because it means their major growth potential is down the road. I believe the company’s value will appreciate (driving up the value of UKG), and the value of the coin will increase with the increase in demand it’s likely to see. I would confidently invest.
First let me un-bias you. I think I whined about this last time too, but bear with me. Lately all I can find about ICOs are people posting about them, like “here’s what they want to do, here’s the problem they identify, here’s how they plan to fix it.” That’s a place to start, but it isn’t analytical. It’s easier to post a review of the whitepaper than a dive into the fundamentals and hype of a company. What you’ve probably read so far is just a review of the whitepaper, which makes the company seem pretty good. This time, I agree. But be very conscious of the fact that a positively-worded whitepaper-review can be very deceptive. At the same time, these reviews can very helpful. For example, here’s a good overview about how the Unikrn system works. Here’s one that has token sale data (% to investors, % sold, etc). This is information I tend not to include because, if you’ve heard of the coin, you’ve probably read something like this review. (Sometimes it is relevant, like with Kik’s ICO KIN, where they issued 10 trillion tokens. Don’t worry, I don’t actually skip over data, I just choose not to include it because it’s not necessary for you to know every data point.) I’m here to provide you with data that’s harder to find, or that’s otherwise spread out (and needs to be gathered together for comparison’s sake). So go read them, but also, don’t take them too seriously.
Also, ignore what you’ve read about Mark Cuban “contradicting” himself about Bitcoin being a bubble. Mark Cuban invested a few million into Unikrn (as venture capital) because he believes in the business. When asked if he’s going to participate in the ICO, he said yes. If you thought Bitcoin was overvalued but wanted to invest in a company that was going public on the crypto-market (and not the NYSE), wouldn’t you buy some coins too? And besides, just because BTC might be a bubble doesn’t mean UKG is. This is just a stupid commentary factoid from short-sighted “gotcha” neckbeards that you can discard. (Actually, it’s not so much neckbeards now as 10 year olds calling me “faggot” on xbox live.)
Another thing you can discard: people claiming Mark Cuban is investing in UKG because it’s a bubble. That’s what other celebrities are doing, like Floyd Mayweather. Let’s look at that now.
CELEBRITY ICOS ARE (GENERALLY) STUPID
Here’s what happened with the first ICO Mayweather supported, Stox (STX):
Stox is a collection of prediction markets (like Augur). This ICO was not promoted with advertisements by Mayweather. In fact, his social media posts about it (what few there are) seem to be organic. His second ICO collaboration, with Hubii Network, was brokered by the Crypto Media Group (CMG), which existed for exactly five days before Mayweather started posting. Likely Mayweather played a significant role in this company’s creation, and it exists as a way for Mayweather et al to be the “celebrity face” of future ICOs. (He also started calling himself “Floyd Crypto Mayweather”, so.) For Hubii, CMG received no fiat payment. Their compensation is entirely in Hubii tokens. CEO Schauer intended this so that their marketing is their investment.
This is an amazing tax avoidance and income generation scheme. CMG gets tax-free coins in exchange for marketing services. Mayweather probably gets a profit (coin) share from CMG (if he’s behind it). Celebrity ABC (whoever) gets coins/fiat for being the “face” of XYZ ICO. XYZ gets money via ICO. The product doesn’t even need to be that good if crypto is sufficiently mainstream. Rinse and repeat. Blow another bubble.
But coins aren’t as mainstream as Mayweather/CMG thought. Stox got $30 million, but Hubii only got $6.7 million. People probably saw that the product being promoted wasn’t worth the hype and didn’t buy in. Mayweather was brought aboard as the “brand ambassador” for Centra Tech’s ICO CTR, which went live earlier today (September 19th). This company looks a little better than Stox or Hubii, and they did secure $7 million in seed funding, so we’ll see how it goes. Right now, the Hubii token has very little steam, much less so than Stox, so it’s hard to say what will happen to CTR.
Paris Hilton got into the game a few weeks ago pushing LydianCoin’s ICO. LydianCoin is an obscure little company that essentially does nothing (they license the work of one particular other company). The ICO hasn’t happened yet, but I don’t expect great things. The Game is involved with ParagaonCoin; their pre-sale got them a little money, but the coin has little to no speculation value. Their (live) ICO is wildly underperforming. Jamie Foxx promoted Cobinhood, which is…well it’s made $5 million so far, which I was going to say is “bad” (compared to others), but I would be very happy to make that much. There’s even an ICO designed to tokenize celebrities’ careers, which is unrelated but funny.
50 cent got in trouble with the SEC for pushing a penny stock in one of his companies. Celebrities bring unwanted attention to…everything. It’s possible this could happen in the altcoin world as well. That being said, while I think you’d be foolish to invest in STX, Hubii Network, or any of the others mentioned above, that doesn’t mean UKG will end up the same. There are a couple celebrities behind this one: Mark Cuban, successful entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Ashton Kutcher (aka Kelso from That 70’s Show), who has surprisingly been involved in quite a few very successful start-ups including Spotify, Airbnb, Foursquare, and Uber; Elisabeth Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s daughter (chairman of Fox News); and 500 Startups, not a celebrity per se, but they are kindof a celebrity in the early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator world, which makes their inclusion very notable, especially since this is the first ICO they’re going to be involved with in any capacity.
In this case, these celebrities are more than “brand ambassadors.” They’re omens of success.
RAHUL SOOD’S PRETTY COOL, AND SO IS UNIKRN
Sood has been in the tech industry a while now. He founded VoodooPC in 1991, sold it to HP later, then took over as CTO of Global Gaming & Advanced Computing (for HP). Next was Microsoft, first the GM in their Entertainment department, then Partner in the Bing Fund, and finally running their venture capital fund. He’s also on the board of Razer, a Singaporean-founded American company which specializes in computer hardware marketed specifically to gamers. In 2014 he left Microsoft to create a “unicorn” (Unikrn)—a startup valued at over $1 billion. He’s been an outspoken member of the gaming community, and wants to get back in. In his own words: my “gaming past continues to drive unrest in me, starting with Voodoo, and then advising various companies including Razer and Vrvana, and now…” Now, Unikrn.
In 2007, Sood helped start Berlin-based online betting platform PlayAll. In 2012, while Sood was at Microsoft Ventures, he became acquainted with Australia-based Pinion, a network of gaming communities that reaches millions of gamers in over 100 countries globally. In the winter of 2014/2015, Unikrn acquired them both, and used Pinion as the basis for Unikrn’s launch. They’ve also acquired DotaProHub, which built an analysis tool for competitive matches of Dota 2 (and can conceivably used for other games as well). Very few companies have started to initiate betting in eSports, and the fact that Unikrn’s gobbling up the competition means demand will be driven there, which is good news for the long-term value of the coin. And, their seed and two-round investments are over $10 million. In April 2015, Unikrn launched their online gaming arena, where spectators could watch, chat about, and bet on major tournaments, like the 36 million unique viewers who tuned in for the 2015 LOL finals between Koo Tigers and SK Telecom at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, Germany. (That’s more than the NBA finals of that year.) Unfortunately, our Nannies in state governments have outlawed or heavily regulated most kinds of betting (did you know there are some states where you can’t even legally play chip-poker?), so you can’t actually gamble in (most of) the U.S. (Though it’s easier to circumvent these restrictions with cryptocurrency than fiat, so we’ll see how much gambling actually takes place in the U.S. now that Unikrn is issuing coins.) In anticipation of this regulation, Unikrn launched an on-platform token called Unikoin! Unikoins can’t be traded for cash, but winners can use their unikoins to enter raffles to win things like PC accessories, head-sets, etc. But that’s about to change. Unlike the old Unikoins, UKG can be used for betting on-platform and traded/speculated for cash.
Unikrn’s whitepaper is careful to distinguish between Full Service Jurisdictions, where betting online is permissible with cashàUKG, and Limited Jurisdictions, where you can only bet with UnikoinSilver (similar to Unikoins…actually, their replacement—it does not appear that these will be ERC20 tokens, or even cryptocurrencies at all). In Full areas, UKG can be bought and sold on third-party exchanges and used for esports betting on the Unikrn platform. (In Limited areas, it cannot.) They don’t specify how they’re going to prevent this from happening. Even if Unikrn somehow manages to identify your country of origin and prevent you from betting, I’m sure someone will find a way to use, say, an Ethereum smart contract to facilitate the exchange of UKG (from someone who won them in a Full Service Jurisdiction) for some other currency (after the outcome of some eSports event).
3 DIFFERENT WAYS TO GO UP
Sood wants to encourage betting on esports too, but of course needs to cover his company legally. “The problem when you’re dealing with banks is that none of these guys are easy to work with,” Sood said. “You’re dealing with 20 different currencies, you’re dealing across borders. There’s no other reason to go this route other than to circumvent banking.” At the same time: “Our system allows us to avoid excessive banking regulation to optimize our growth. We continue to work within the law.” Doubtless Sood will be working behind the scenes to encourage widespread adoption of eSports gambling, which would be a massive boon for the value of UKG. Imagine what would happen to the price of UKG if eSports digital gambling were legalized by the U.S. That’s something I’d want to be a part of.
Overall, I’m very pleased with the prospects of this company. There are many opportunities for growth, and Sood seems to have a solid grasp on entrepreneurship, computers/tech, and the esports market. If that weren’t enough, there are multiple independent ways for the value of UKG to appreciate. I rate UKG a solid “buy”.