ICOs: Why Idea is not enough. Show us your MVP

August 3rd 2017
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@lukaskaiLukas K

Why you should think twice before investing into ICO project without a developer and MVP.

Photo by Kevin on Unsplash

There is a new phenomenon arising in the tech world. Hundreds of new project are being developed almost every week, but the large part of those project have one key element missing. I am talking about all the ICO’s. That missing key part is.. a developer… Yeah, you heard me right! There are projects that already raised 30M without a blockchain developer and MVP or PoC

Why it is such a big deal?

Every team NEEDS a developer. No matter how great is your sales and marketing team, if there is nobody to actually create the product, just pack your stuff and go home. Having a Lead Developer means having a person that knows how product’s software work. Moreover, such a developer will get his hands dirty with coding, collaborating on the prototype and building MVP.

Otherwise, the team will have a long process of looking for development partners, freelancers and all random people joining the team without clear leadership and vision of the architecture. This leads to a slow pace, a poorly written software, security issues and a lot of refactoring in the future stages.

Photo by Lee Campbell on Unsplash

How things worked before blockchain?

“Vision without execution is hallucination “ — Thomas Edison

Startups would have a revolutionary idea/business model. The team would prepare a prototype, show continuous work and even get their product to real clients for feedback and would improve it in an agile way. After tons of improvement, they would seek financing.

Source: https://www.smashingmagazine.com/

So we had a very healthy and clear path: strong team with tech talent -> vision -> MVP -> constant contribution -> financing -> success (or maybe not).

This is how it was till the blockchain and ICO’s (Initial Coin Offering) came into play.

Crypto world

I would guess that at least half of the project that recently raised X M USD in ICO’s haven’t even written a single line of code or roughly build at least some prototype for their amazing product. So there is nothing to feedback on, moreover, see any improvement and action.

The thing is that blockchain (with all the implementations and applications) and cryptocurrencies were built by geeks, right? However, the majority of teams performing ICO’s are composed of few business and marketing guys. They might have a single engineer who hasn’t written and published any code. All they have — is ideas written in the Whitepaper.

Some teams claim they are developing in the private repository. For example, Patientory raised over 7 Million USD without any prototype or even github repository). What? Why? The whole blockchain idea is open source, therefore, your MVP or at least part of it can definetely be the open source and shown to the public. Unless you have nothing to show.

A great example is Status.im which committed to their repository constantly.

status-react repository commits graph


Don’t judge a book by its cover, in this case — Whitepaper. My point is that ICO investors should look more closely at the team’s development progress and pace, not only beautiful schemes in Whitepaper probably prepared by some contractors. This will indicate that project team can deliver results and won’t just run away with your money.

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