There is no doubt that 2021 has been a historical year – largely a horrible year in RL, punctuated by a pandemic, political extremism and unrest, and historical economic disparity. But it has also been “the year of the NFT,” according to Jordan Belfort. It has been a year of new highs in investing, in cryptocurrency, and in traditional investments.
In this environment, blockchain innovation continues to thrive and as new projects pour into the space there is a reliable demand for funding. Retail investors are eager to find new projects that can take their investments to the moon. Blockchain projects with use cases that meet real needs are looking for investors that will also be long-term supporters, keeping the value of the project steady and filling the community with support and attention.
Nadja Bester believes that there is a better way to connect investors and projects, one that rewards interactions between projects and investors and allows both sides to be diligent and choose the right investor/project for them.
In Q3 2021, Nadja co-founded AdLunam, a “Web 3.0 cryptocurrency investment ecosystem that allows investors to invest in early-stage and go-to-market projects via an Engage to Earn Proof of Attention model.” AdLunam plans to launch its first cohort of projects in Q1 of the new year and they hope to leverage the Attention Economy to encourage more interactions between qualified investors and projects.
We spoke with Nadja concerning their new project and their goals for the new year.
What attracts projects to IDOs? Why not raise money privately?
“To understand IDO (Initial DEX Offering) platforms, we must talk about mangroves.
Mangroves are a loosely connected mishmash of tree species that share one extraordinary commonality: They grow in oxygen-poor soil that's flooded with saltwater every time the tide comes in. What makes them so remarkable is that they've managed to flourish in an environment that would kill off even the hardiest tree. Crypto in its infancy is like a mangrove estuary.
So where do IDO platforms fit in? Nurseries. Mangroves are nurseries par excellence. Estuaries that form around mangroves offer juveniles from different species and taxonomies protection against predators until they're ready to venture out by themselves.
Similarly, the original purpose of a launchpad was to offer investors a buffer against predatory projects. After the 2018-2019 Wild West, investors needed protection. This focus quickly expanded into offering new projects the support they need to grow independent and prosperous,” Bester said.
“When we were ideating the concept behind AdLunam, we were determined that it couldn't be just another platform to add to the body count. We held ourselves to strict parameters: Either we reinvent how IDOs are done, or we'd be better off doing something else.
The problems we'd be solving… had to address real pain points that to date had remained unsolvable. Double points if it was a victim of the additive bias and could be solved without the need for millions of dollars and years down the black hole of R&D.
Our solution had to benefit our two stakeholder groups equally – the projects and the investors,” Bester said.
What is AdLunam offering that's new for projects?
“Any project that's gone through private fundraising rounds knows how valuable it is to have negotiation discussions with VCs in terms of the value-add and how important it is to be able to decline offers from institutional investors who don't share your vision or values.
The ability to vet investors is crucial in ensuring a healthy cap table, yet as soon as it hits the retail investment round, projects are going in blind, with no way of knowing whether your retail investors are good or bad actors or whether they they share the long-term vision for the project.
One of our key focus areas was to extend a project's ability to do due diligence on their investors from the seed stage all the way up to IDO.
With AdLunam, projects get to hand-pick the investors they want to reward allocation to, basing their decisions on a dashboard of robust data analytics that offers a detailed overview of an investor's profile,” Bester said.
What is AdLunam offering that's new for buyers?
“It is the Attention Economy. We've reluctantly accepted the idea that if it's free, you are the product. Crypto has flipped that model on its head, and projects are literally paying to get investor attention. Projects end up spending vast marketing budgets on haphazard AMAs and giveaways, hoping to retain investor attention past these fleeting 'retweet 'n win' moments.
There are vast swaths of crypto investors out for the hunt, hoping to win $10 here, $20 there. They're not emotionally invested – or often even interested at all – in these brands... They play the odds, and the odds play them…
We knew that the rules of engagement between projects and investors had to give. These days, in a lot of ways, launchpads are skewed in favor of the tokens they list, and investors often pull at the short end of the stick. Thus was born our Engage-to-Earn model, a gamified approach to engagement whereby investors are continuously rewarded for the time and energy they invest in participating in crypto discussions or creating content…,” Bester said.
“Society is based largely on a zero-sum game principle. There can only be one winner.. A non-zero-sum game is a more intelligent – and sustainable – long-term strategy… Win/win cooperation is essential if there's going to be any sort of continuity. So, a project desires a win/win relationship with its investors, namely a shared long-term loyalty to token growth. As for a launchpad, a ready-made investor community lies at its core.
The question we asked ourselves was whether we could create a platform that gives both stakeholders what they deserve without depriving each other in the process. And I think we've managed to do just that,” Bester said.
How does Proof of Attention work? What are the platform mechanics?
“Proof of Attention is one-half of AdLunam's Investor Profile NFT offering. The other is a Wallet Scorecard.
Proof of Attention is a formulaic approach to quantifying and qualifying investor engagement. Gamifi Engage to Earn forms part of our ecosystem, a type of Grand Central Station out in space.. Open to anyone, free to join and participate, an investor can build up a sizable presence here with nothing more than their social capital contributions.
An investor's Wallet Scorecard, on the other hand, is a slow-burn qualifier. Our data collection includes aspects such as the age of the wallet, funds transfer frequency, and very importantly, how quickly an airdrop or allocation token is dumped. Over time, this builds up a revealing picture of an investor's behavioral patterns, and projects can take this into consideration when extending allocation.
Together, an investor's Engagement and Wallet Scores is represented as a dynamic NFT (dNFT) that holds their store of value as an investor, and the value of these dNFTs increase or decrease depending on their actions within the AdLunam ecosystem.
Investing into projects happens in the launchpad area of the AdLunam platform, exclusive by-invitation-only project spaces where projects can reward the top-standing investors of their choosing with airdrops, allocation, and community rewards,” Bester said.
Who is the platform specifically for among buyers? Among projects?
“For investors, we have a 70/30 split. For higher tiers, 70% of an IDO's allocation is guaranteed and relates to staking $LUNAM. Through our Seedpad, retail investors who lack access to early-stage deal flow will be able to connect with projects seeking sanction elements like points, badges, ranks, and leaderboards, making this a very dynamic environment in which engagement actions yield immediate results.. The Engage to Earn model is built around the other 30%...
For projects, we offer a range of options. Launch your token through Launchpad. Kickstart your community early on through Seedpad. And if you're a Web 2.0 company – startup or well-established – looking to pivot your offerings into Web 3, then Space Camp takes you through the entire pipeline, from initial advisory services to growing your community and launching your IDO.
We're extremely bullish on this technology and this industry and as a result, we have a vested interest in diversifying our product lines. We're not a niche launchpad and we have no intentions of shunning fantastic DeFi projects simply because the metaverse is the hype of the hour.
However, personally speaking, as a female-led company in a male-dominated industry, at a time when sustainable development is necessarily inserting itself into every conversation, with a track record of supporting entrepreneurs in emerging markets, my door is open for projects who find themselves on the fringes of mainstream crypto,” Bester said.
The pandemic and general global hardships of 2021 have accelerated the need for economic equality and for many new retail investors including access to markets and the ability to invest in start-up projects. It has also driven the need for investment money to fuel new projects.
After watching the classic ICO crash and burn, it’s natural for projects to seek new funding sources and try to find a better way of funding innovation.
Launchpads like AdLunam and another step forward in looking for a more perfect exchange between investors and projects in a way that better serves both sides. There are many new entrants in the space, but the idea of tracking and rewarding interactions is clever. But 2022 is likely to be a continuation of the “show don’t tell” attitude in blockchain, so ultimately we will see based on its first cohort of projects in 2022.
Lead image credit:ipicgr on Pixabay.*