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10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Investing in an ICO

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Investing in an ICO

2017 was the year that saw cryptocurrencies hit the mainstream with the price of bitcoin rallying from $1,000 to its all-time high of $20,000 at year-end. But that was not all as initial coin offerings (ICOs) shared in the limelight gaining massive traction and interest from investors and startups across the globe. The 400+ token sales saw ICOs raise more than $6 billion in 2017 alone. While ICOs have presented a great opportunity for startups and other businesses to raise money, it is a high risk – high return venture for investors. Hence, it is important to conduct in-depth research before investing in an ICO.

In this guide, you will find the ten most important questions you should ask yourself before investing in a token sale to ensure you get off to a good start with your investment research.

Is the ICO legitimate?

The ICO market has been plagued with scams since its beginning. It is, therefore, imperative for anyone looking to invest in any ICO project to do their due diligence and verify whether the project is legitimate.

The first step in doing this is to “fraud check” the company doing the token sale. Is there sufficient information about them online? Are there reviews from other people i.e. past or potential investors? If you cannot find any information online about the company behind the token sale, that should be a red flag.

The second step is to look through the directors of the company doing the ICO. Genuine company directors should possess a digital footprint. A LinkedIn profile should not be enough to make you invest. Any entrepreneur – upcoming or successful – must have had people talking about their company and should, therefore, have several references online.

Is the team behind the ICO able to deliver?

Successful companies and products have been built because they had an excellent team. For the team to build and launch a successful blockchain project, it must have had past experience in successfully launching and running similar projects. An experienced team with the right skills and experience are a sign that it may deliver on its mission for the project.

However, if the team behind the token sale has little to no experience with blockchain products, that should be an immediate red flag to any investor as the project may end up becoming a flop. Additionally, it could be an indication that the team is in it to make “quick money” instead of truly wanting to develop a value-adding blockchain-based platform.

Does the project’s whitepaper have all the necessary information?

Investing in an ICOWhen investing in a business, investors always look at a company’s financials first. Since ICOs are usually conducted to raise seed capital, however, that information is not provided as the company has no track record yet. Hence, for ICOs, the focus needs to be on the project’s whitepaper. The whitepaper is just as important as the people behind the project.

The whitepaper needs to be clear and explain the vision and technology of the project in a professional and concise manner. It should detail how the team hopes to make the project a success with the crowdsourced funds. Should the project’s whitepaper leave out any important information or lack a well-detailed strategy needed to make the project a success, that is a very clear red flag and it will most likely be best to avoid investing in this project.

Is the ICO’s product ready or purely an idea?

Do not get me wrong. I am not saying that you should not invest in an ICO that is still an idea that is yet to be designed. However, should you choose to go ahead and invest in a token sale that is still just an idea, there is a high risk that you may lose all your investment as compared to investing in a token sale that has a ready product.

While even with a ready product you may still lose your investment, the risks are lower compared to the former as the project will more than likely have a platform that is ready and operational and just wants to prove the platform’s efficiency by adding the digital tokens and blockchain technology.

Is there transparency on what the raised funds will be used for?

This is a very important question any investor should ask themselves before investing in an ICO. The project should have a clear plan on how it intends to use the funds raised during the token sale. This can either be done via the company’s website or in their whitepaper. The more specific and detailed the breakdown is, the better.

However, if the company directors are evasive on how the funds will be used, this should be considered a red flag due to lack of transparency exhibited by the company. In addition, if most of the issued tokens will be held by the project’s operators, it could be a sign of a potential pump and dump scheme.

Does the final product from the project have a market?

When considering what token sale to invest in, it is crucial to analyse whether there is a market for the project’s final product. Lack of a possible market for the solution, technology or product may mean that there will be no demand for the product once it is launching, which would result in a drop in the value of the project’s token in the long-run.

Is the code open-source and can it be assessed?

Investing in an ICOTraditionally, most blockchain projects are known to have open-source code that can be found on GitHub and can thus be audited or assessed by third parties. If the blockchain project you want to invest in has an open-source code that has or can easily be probed by trusted community members, this should be a positive indicator of the project.

Today, however, most blockchain projects that launch ICOs tend to keep their codes private. While this may be valid in some cases as the project may have direct competitors it wants to shield its technology from, being able to audit a project’s code adds transparency and trust.

If a project’s code is not open-source and there is no evident reason for keeping the code private, may be an indicator to better stay away from the project due to its lack of transparency.

Does the project warrant a blockchain and token?

Another factor that needs to be considered when looking to invest in an ICO is whether the company really needs a blockchain and a native token for its platform, service or product. Because ICOs have a low entry barrier, there are a large number of startups that run ICOs in a bid to get easy funding by claiming they will implement blockchain technology to their new product or to improve an already existing one.

If the project has the potential to run without the need to utilise blockchain technology or a native digital token, it should be a clear sign to stay away from the ICO.

What will be the function of the token?

There are a variety of digital tokens that a company can put up for sale. These include but are not limited to utility tokens, currency tokens, tokenised securities and reward tokens. When looking to buy tokens from an ICO, it is crucial for any investor to understand the role of any token that is issued. If what the company is offering is a tokenised security, will it function as a digital share by the issuing company? On the other hand, if it is a utility token, will investors have access to or specific benefits from the project’s platform?

The function or role of the token needs to make sense and should have the ability to drive demand and not just raise funds for the project.

Who are the competitors?

Finally, when considering investing in an ICO, you should also look at the project’s competitors. A competitors analysis will show you whether a company is likely to outperform its competition or not. Should a project’s competitors be more likely to succeed, then it might be better to invest in their digital tokens instead.

However, if the potential company’s blockchain platform is at par with or better than its competitor’s, then that is a good sign that its token could perform well in the secondary market.

Remember that investing in digital assets comes with a substantial amount of risk and you should never invest more than you can afford to lose. However, if you are looking to invest in a token sale, you will be well advised to answer the ten above-mentioned questions as part of your overall investment research as they cover all the key aspects of an ICO.

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What are the Betway Deposit Options?

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Betway Deposit Options

Betway, based in the U.K., is one of the leading online sports betting bookmarker sites today. The official sponsor of teams like West Ham United, people love Betway because they can bet on so many different sports at once, from cricket to football and more.

It’s no secret that sportsbooks have become one of the leading international bookmakers’ in various countries such as Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia, South Africa, and other countries. If you are wondering how to deposit money into your Betway account, you can start straight away too!

BetwayBetway offers a lot apart from sports betting such as casino games such as table games and slots. There is also live betting and virtual betting in sports such as soccer, horse and dog racing, basketball and tennis.   

Opening an account with the sportsbook is quite accessible since you will only require a username, an email or a mobile number and a password. Once you have verified your account, you are ready to start betting.

Betway Deposit Options

Betway is a versatile online betting shop because it offers various deposit methods for its users. So, how do you get the most out of Betway?

#1. Debit Card or Credit Card

A debit card is a convenient way of depositing your funds. You will instantly get your deposit plus the Betway charges will be transferred to your account.  You can deposit funds to your Betway account through the Visa, MasterCard, or even Electron.

All you need to do is click on the banking button on Betway, and deposit the money by entering your debit card details. Once you confirm the payment, the amount will be deposited to your Betway account – all in a few seconds.  And it’s not just debit cards we are talking about. Yes,, you can deposit funds to your Betway account through credit. Card payment can be made through two options:

  1. Visa
  2. MasterCard

The steps for storing funds through your card payment are the same as the one for the debit card.

#2. Neteller

Neteller is an e-wallet that is compatible with Betway. You can deposit funds in your Betway account using the following steps

  1. Now, just choose any of the Betway depositing options you have available.
  2. Enter your 12 digit Neteller number and six-digit Neteller ID.
  3. Enter your Betway password
  4. Enter the amount you have in mind
  5. Click Confirm.

#3. Skrill

Skrill is another e-wallet that works like Neteller. All you need is a debit it or a credit card to get started with your Skrill account, a reason many bookmakers love it. If you are looking for transferring money from your account, you can use bank transfer or online banking.

Just Select Skrill as your deposit method on your Betway account, enter the amount you would like to deposit, and deposit!

#3. PayPal

PayPal is another e-wallet that makes it easy to deposit to your Betway account. It is free of any charges, and you can deposit any amount you like seamlessly.

All these deposit options will deposit money to your Betway account.

*This article was contributed by an external media partner.*

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Top 10 Ways African Tech Startups Can Fund Themselves in 2019

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African tech startups

African startups often fail to take off or make it big due to a lack of funding. In this guide, you will discover ten funding options for African tech startups that could help you to kickstart your company and turn it into a raging success in 2019.

Bootstrapping

Bootstrapping is the first funding option every tech startup should consider. This means that as an entrepreneur you will solely rely on your money and company resources to scale and run your business operations.

Bootstrapping is beneficial because it saves your company from debt and makes your business more attractive to potential investors and lenders. Another advantage that comes with bootstrapping is that you will become more business savvy as you get better at creating revenue and boosting your profits without external financial help.

Here are the possible options you can use to fund your tech startup through bootstrapping:

  • Let the customer pay for your initial job. This simply entails asking the customer to pay for the money you will use in building a tech solution for them.
  • Reduce expenses through sharing your workspace with other businesses to reduce the cost of office rent. You could run your company remotely to alleviate office costs entirely. You might also consider sharing employees and office equipment or hiring consultants instead of hiring people permanently.
  • Offer your employees the option to work for equity instead of cash.

Unfortunately, without an efficient marketing technique to bring in customers quickly the business might fail. Moreover, it will take longer to grow your company without investment.

Small Business Loans

startup fundingOnce you have successfully grown your startup through bootstrapping, then you can move to the second funding option which is applying for a small business loan to expand your business.

Loans for startups and small businesses are not easily accessible in Africa but with a strong business plan, an existing customer base, and adequate cash flow, banks, micro-finance institutions, savings and credit co-operatives, and mobile app lenders may lend you money to grow your business. However, these loans often come with high interest rates. Hence, it is important to ensure beforehand that you will be able to repay the loan plus interest in full and on time.

You will generally need the following to secure a small business loan:

  • A business plan
  • A good credit score
  • A record of your business financials e.g. tax income returns
  • Business licenses and other legal documents
  • Collateral

Angel Investors

An angel investor is a wealthy person who is looking to make investments that could potentially result in high returns. If an angel investor believes in what you are doing and they believe that your business will succeed, they may inject capital into your startup in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt.

Financing your tech startup through an angel investor is beneficial because it is less risky than debt financing. Additionally, angel investors also offer mentorship to founders, thereby, enabling them to run their businesses more effectively.

Angel investors can be wealthy individuals, groups, family members, or friends. Examples of angel investor groups in Africa include Jozi AngelsAngel Investment Network, Team Africa Ventures, and Ghana Angel Investor Network.

To attract an angel investor, your business needs to be:

  • Innovative
  • Scalable
  • On the path to profitability

Additionally, your startup should also have a strong business plan and a strong team of founders because investors generally invest in people and not ideas.

Venture Capital

African startupsVenture capital firms invest in businesses that have a high potential for growth. VC generate a return on their investments when the company they invested in gets bought up, goes public or they can sell their stake to another investment firm.

Unlike angel investors, venture capital companies generally invest larger amounts of capital into a business. However, VC investment tends to come with conditions that are not always favourable to the startup founders so potential VC investments need to be looked at in detail to see whether they truly benefit the business and its owners or primarily the VC firm.

While some angel investors are motivated to help startups grow through mentorship and capital, venture capitalists are often interested in finding the best business that can make them the most money.

Before approaching a venture capital firm:

  • Do your research
  • Evaluate the growth potential the current target market offers your business
  • Talk to other startups that have raised funds through venture capitalists and learn from their experiences
  • Build your idea and gain traction
  • Create a short and catchy pitch deck
  • Consider bootstrapping, small business loans, and angel investors first

Some of the top venture capital firms in Africa include Matamba Anonaka Technology Holdings (MATHs) and Adlevo Capital.

Startup Incubators/Accelerators

Startup incubators concentrate on innovation while accelerators focus on growth. Tech startups have to apply to be accepted into an accelerator or an incubator program. Once they are picked, startups are given a small amount of seed funding in exchange for a small equity percentage.

Accelerators offer startups a mentorship network which they leverage to grow their businesses. In addition, accelerator programs help startups to build their businesses over a short period of time. Incubators are often characterised by a co-working environment, mentoring, networking, and some connection to the local community. Once a startup joins an incubator program, it gets the opportunity to polish up its idea, create a business plan, and work on a product that fits the target market.

Accelerators and incubators are important because:

  • You receive mentorship
  • You get access to future investors
  • You develop your skills
  • You are able to manage the risk associated with your concept
  • You are able to establish the next growth level of your business
  • You get access to a free or low-cost working space

Accelerators and incubators are ideal for startup founders that want to start their businesses on the right foot. Some examples of accelerators and incubators in Africa include Injini, Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa, FB Start Accelerator, iHub, and MMH Accelerator.

Business Grants

african startup fundingBusiness grants are non-repayable funds that come with attached conditions. As long as you fulfill these conditions, then you will not have to repay the money.

Governments, foundations, organisations, large corporations, and trusts are often the givers of business grants. African tech startups simply have to look for a grant that fits their needs before making an application.

The upside of receiving a business grant is that you do not have to repay it or give up any shares. Moreover, you can use the fact that a large corporation or a government has given you a grant as a promotional mechanism.

Examples of organisations that offer grants include Shell LiveWire, Africa Women’s Development Fund, Jack Ma’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative 2019 and Miss.Africa Initiative.

Pitching Competitions

Startup contests and pitching competitions are other ways of funding your tech startup. These opportunities enable a startup to pitch its ideas to potential investors while interacting with a wide network of people that could contribute positively to the growth of its business.

Other perks are competition prizes, support from incubators or accelerators, mentorship, and free access to industry events.

To win a pitching competition, you need to:

  • Follow the rules
  • Know your material
  • Open with a close and catch the attention of the audience

Examples of pitching competitions for African tech startups include MEST Africa Challenge, Seedstars World Competition, and Sanofi in Africa VivaTechnology Challenges.

Online Crowdfunding

Online crowdfunding entails raising small amounts of money on the Internet from a large number of people. There are two types of online crowdfunding: equity and rewards-based. Equity-based crowdfunding entails offering shares in exchange for capital while in reward-based crowdfunding, “investors” are given an incentive or a reward.

Online crowdfunding platforms offer an efficient way to raise money and access thousands of potential investors.

Here is how you participate in online crowdfunding:

  • Determine the type of online crowdfunding you want
  • Research crowdfunding platforms
  • Choose the best platform for your business and post your campaign
  • Use social media to promote your campaign

African crowdfunding platforms include Uprise.Africa, Thundafund, M-Changa, and Afrikstart.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

ICORaising money through an initial coin offering (ICO) is another funding option that has been gaining popularity over the recent years thanks to the emergence of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. During an ICO, tokens are sold to the public as a means to raise funds.

ICOs were very popular in 2017 but have since lost their appeal as regulators across the globe have made it clear that companies will no longer be able to raise millions without having to adhere to any regulations. Hence, there is regulatory risk involved in launching an ICO.

To launch an ICO, do the following:

  • Research ICOs and the regulations guiding this type of funding in your country
  • Decide on what type of token you want to launch and how it will fit into your product or service
  • Put together a team of skilled people and advisors
  • Create a project roadmap, whitepaper, and website
  • Engage with the crypto community
  • Market your ICO
  • List your token on exchanges

Security Token Offering (STO)

The final funding option on our list is the security token offering (STO). An STO refers to the process of offering tokenised securities for sale, i.e. tokens that are representations of securities such as bonds and stocks.

In an STO, the value of the security tokens is dependent on the value of the company or the underlying asset. In addition, there is more regulation in an STO than in an ICO since securities are regulated.

However, the STO market is still young and has not been tested in the long-term. This means that there is a risk for both startups and investors. Furthermore, STOs require a startup to create its own tokens and a platform to manage them which is costly.

What to do before launching an STO:

  • Understand the compliance regulations in your country
  • Create an STO business plan
  • Seek the consultancy services of an STO development company to create and manage your security tokens
  • Market your STO to reach as many investors as possible

With these ten funding options to choose from, you could be on the path to ensuring that your startup will turn into a success story.

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Meet the African Cryptocurrencies You Have Probably Never Heard Of

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African cryptocurrencies

The world’s leading digital currency bitcoin has become popular among Africans but thanks to the growth of the altcoin market, the continent now also has its own African cryptocurrencies.

In this guide, you will discover six African cryptocurrencies that are each trying to solve different challenges faced by the African population.

Kobocoin

kobocoin Image“[Kobocoin] is a cryptocurrency and blockchain with an African heritage aimed at the African market with global ambitions,” Felix Onyemechi Ugoji, a United Kingdom-based Nigerian entrepreneur and developer, told Bitcoin Africa in an interview.

Kobocoin aims to play in Africa’s remittance market too to provide a fast and low-cost way for Africans in the diaspora to send money home. It also wants to be a cheap and reliable alternative to existing mobile money services in Africa.

Even though Kobocoin has had only very few adopters on the African continent since 2015, it received a significant shot in the arm in August 2018 when it announced on Bitcointalk, the largest online community for cryptocurrency users, that it will list on Golix, Zimbabwe’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. The listing will enable users to buy KOBO directly with crypto, Nigerian Naira, Kenya Shilling and South African Rand.

Digital Shilling

Digital ShillingLaunched in 2016, the Digital Shilling is a Kenya-based altcoin that is one of the first ventures to tackle cross-border payment issues using blockchain technology.

However, since it got started the project has not gained much traction and adoption is de facto non-existent. The founder and lead developer of Digital Shilling, Kelvin Yavwa, told BitcoinAfrica.io that the project had been bedevilled by “a massive disconnect with its point of contact – the African market.” He said the shilling is currently not at its full potential to provide a “simplified secure coin” for the African people. The challenge of market fit is not unexpected as every other cryptocurrency in the world right now, including bitcoin, is still a work-in-progress.

The cause for concern for Digital Shilling, though, should be its low trading volumes among investors. Since inception, its been only listed on four exchanges – BigBitex, OpenTrade, Nova, and Yobit, and at the time of writing, the 24-hour volume on these four exchanges was zero.

SureRemit

SureRemitNigerian blockchain-based non-cash remittance startup SureRemit could not have started on a better foot after raising a whopping $7 million during its token sale held from December 8, 2017, to February 8, 2018.

SureRemit, with its Remit (RMT) tokens, provides an opportunity for diaspora Africans to pay bills and buy shopping vouchers for their families and friends back home in Africa.

It has an increasingly growing network of merchants around Africa and international partners to enable Africans to send e-vouchers that are redeemable on the continent. The startup recently announced a partnership with a new voucher/gift card partner to help it gain access to the Turkish market. SureRemit says this partnership could bring in over 50 new merchants.

In its 2019 roadmap, it expressed ambitions to be listed on five cryptocurrency exchanges and open offices in Europe and North America.

Awehcash

aweh.cashCreated in a country where regulators have been critical of cryptocurrencies, Awehcash is a cryptocurrency that wants to give Namibians an easy and secure access to the blockchain world.

Namibia’s Awehcash is built on the Waves Platform, a global public blockchain platform that provides a shared infrastructure for new blockchain-based projects. The company created only 21 million Awehcash tokens and had distributed “approximately 46,000 tokens” in October, Awehcash’s co-founder, Daniel, told BitcoinAfrica.

With the Bank of Namibia reinforcing its critical stance on cryptocurrencies in a public paper in May 2018 stating that “it does not recognise, support and recommend the possessing, utilisation and trading of cryptocurrencies in Namibia and by members of the public,” Awehcash already has an uphill task trying to convince Namibians to disregard warnings from the country’s central bank.

Mcoin

mCoinONEm, a London-based technology company, launched the Mcoin for the African continent in September 2018. Its main selling point is that the digital currency can be transferred over text message and does, therefore, not require Internet. The company will offer both a digital wallet and an SMS wallet which works with a set of shortcodes and does not need a connection to the internet.

The company wants to reach the unconnected on the African continent and provide commercial and financial services to them through their mobile phone, with or without access to the Internet.

Even though this blockchain project sounds exciting and is attempting to solve a real problem, it remains to be seen how it will be able to forge partnerships with mobile operators in Africa and different regulators in each African country. And also, how it will convince the locals in many African communities to trust its platform.

Dala

DalaEarlier in the year, Bitcoin Africa reported the launch of Wala’s zero-fee, borderless micropayments app in Uganda, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The Dala token is used by Wala, a mobile financial services platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, and is issued by the Dala Foundation.

The goal of the Wala team is to cater to the unbanked and underbanked in Africa. It is leveraging the Dala token to create a platform where people can send money to friends and families around Africa at fees lower than traditional banks and conduct other transactions such as buying airtime and paying bills at zero transaction fee.

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