Springrole ICO Review
Now, we are living in blockchain era and every day tons of the projects are appearing in each industry and social network is one of them. Springrole is a blockchain-based social network for professionals. Basically, it is LinkedIn placed on the distributed ledger technology. We decided to look a little bit closer to determine do they really have any additional value in comparison to LinkedIn and other existing social networks for professionals.
Springrole has been developed by Indian team and the main idea of the project is to create an incentive mechanism for skills endorsements and verification process. Currently, at LinkedIn, you are able to do the same, but no compensation is envisaged for such actions. It is common for blockchain-based social networks to create an incentive mechanism because without it they will be no more no less than traditional social networks like Facebook or LinkedIn.
How springrole wokrs
Springrole will have user profiles with their skills, educational information and working experience pretty much similar to those in LinkedIn with only one detail – endorsements for such data will be written onto blockchain and cannot be modified. To provide attestation, there will be following classes of attestors:
- Course providers (like Udemy and Coursera)
- Examination provider (like IELTS or TOEFL agents)
Apart from classes of attestors, there will be several types of attestations like skill endorsements; educational qualification attestation; work experience attestation; additional courses attestation and other attestation. So as you can see here, all processes are based on verification with the advantage of data immutability placed on blockchain, but there we have one big question: What if particular user has skills verified before, but later on, he changed his job, area of expertise and his skill, verified before, now is equal to zero (or almost zero), what to do in this case? Blockchain has data immutability which means that data may only be written onto blockchain and read there, but there is no chance to update or delete insufficient information due to the blockchain technology limitations. His or her skills might be irrelevant at the moment but it cannot be modified which makes all profile useless.
To fuel the system, Springrole is going to introduce their native utility token – SPRING. It may be used to obtain access to verified profiles (on behalf of companies) and to endorse or attest skills. Let’s check token sale terms to see how many tokens they are going to sell and how it will be allocated:
- Total supply: 10 000 000 000 SPRING
- Tokens for sale: 2 550 000 000 SPRING (25,5%)
- Tokens for team: 2 500 000 000 SPRING (25%) (!!! too much)
- Tokens for advisors: 1 000 000 000 SPRING (10%)
- Token price: 0.011 USD
It’s very unusual for any ICO project to allocate only 25% of their tokens to the crowdsale alongside with 35% of tokens to the team and advisory board. Even though advisors’ tokens are locked for 2 years, it will be harvested using the following scheme: 50% on the official launch of the project (which is already working as beta) and then, 50% will be vested equally on monthly basis. The almost same situation with tokens for the team: 20% on the project launch 60% for three years on monthly basis and 20% in a year after launch.
It looks very bad because there is a chance for market manipulation. After the launch of the project which is already in beta, 10 % of the token supply will be concentrated in team and advisors’ hands at the same time, only 25% will be on the market. It means, that half of the liquidity will be in hands of the team and it is a red flag for the project.
Team of the project
The team is good, there are several developers which may create the project like springrole but the idea of the project and availability of the prototype (e.g. LinkedIn) makes these tasks very trivial so no need to have all-stars developers for such project. There are a lot of interns on the team but the executive team looks good. Let’s check their profiles:
- David Lewis – Biz Dev and Strategy of the project. His experience has started since 1996 and mostly he was working as CEO and founder of 77blue which has been successfully sold to EBATES. It was 10 years in total and he has created a successful business, which shows that he is confident with the project goals and able to create something good and valuable. His skill set has dozens of endorsements by different people and all skills are relevant to his current position.
- Vinay Agarwal – Technical lead of the project. He was working as a technical lead before the Springrole for almost 8 years and it’s not a full biography, so he looks suitable to his position and will be able to execute all tasks related to his professional field in the project. Skillset includes Matlab, programming and C-related programming languages.
- Sivananda Reddy – CFO of the project. This position is the most arguably of the entire team. LinkedIn profile is not looking trusted or confident to the project goals. No skills endorsements and working experience are only around 4 years. Not sure that it is enough for the CFO position in the project with global perspectives.
Other participants of the team are engineering interns and few developers. The project is not complex due to its nature (e.g it is a LinkedIn but with blockchain database in it) so we think that they will be able to create its end product without any problems also they already did their beta, but with not much functionality in it. Most of the members are currently enrolled in another project called Science, so the team is well-formed and they know each other which makes interactions between them much easier.
Advisors of the project are strong and their experience is relevant to the project, but they are not famous within the blockchain industry.
Roadmap and current state of the project
Springrole already published their beta version (https://beta.springrole.com/) where you can register your future profile, take your link and moreover, they are giving 100 SPRING tokens for new members after registration. It is a good sign for any ICO to have a working prototype and even beta, but again, it’s just a LinkedIn on blockchain with few unsolved questions in terms of working speed and data immutability, so in this case, working beta might not be counted as an advantage.
The roadmap is not too detailed or long. On May 2018 planned the official launch of the project (it is currently live as beta) and the last step is December 2018 when API should be released. No marketing plans are provided by the team which is also a red flag for the project.
- 1. It is not unique at all. There are a lot of social networks as centralized (LinkedIn; Facebook) so as decentralized (Steemit; Sapien) and even their niche orientation will not give them any competitive advantage
- 2. Using of blockchain creates more questions than answers. We have mentioned before, that there is a clash if skill set has changed, but blockchain cannot be modified (without fork), so user’s data will be insufficient and irrelevant and he or she will have to create a new profile to add new skills without older ones.
- 3. Token allocation is awful. Team and advisors have 35% of the token supply, but on crowdsale, they are going to allocate only 25% which increases chances of market manipulation by the team. The vesting period is not long and right after token sale team and advisors together will have 10% of the token supply on their hands!!!
- 4. Roadmap of the project is only until the end of 2018 which shows that company does not have something called: long-term vision and it is another red flag for investors.