Anthony Akentiev: Humaniq Presale Analysis – Decentralised Banking for the Unbanked

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Yesterday, Humaniq project kicked it’s token pre-sale and seeing there is not a whole lot of information about the project around, I though I might take a peek at what the project is about. No… I don’t have any money invested in it, nor do I know the founders, I am merely interested in the project and want to share my thoughts. 

Humaniq is meant to be that new breed of financial services — an open-source platform built on blockchain, offering a truly independent and simple way of human economic cooperation.

What they promise us is:

  1. Banking for unbanked. They will try to connect more than 1 billion poor people to banks with their smartphones
  2. Blockchain based (Ethereum)
  3. Biometrics as an identity — take a picture of the client to identify him and do the scoring
  4. Investment fund for acceleration/acquisition. Hey, it looks like DAO: proposals, curators, TheDAO, etc?

Preface

There is a popular book by Brett King — Bank 2.0 released in 2010. As stated on Amazon — “the book is #1 on the bestseller list for banking and finance in the US, UK, Germany, France, and Japan”.

Bank 2.0 is informed by Brett King’s analysis of trends in banking over many years. It is mostly about “future strategies for the next decade” (2010 .. 2020).

The sequel that was released in 2012 is, of course, entitled Bank 3.0. In the same year, Brett King was named the “King of the Disruptors” by Banking Exchange magazine and was voted American Banker’s Innovator of the Year.

Actually Bank 3.0 is not a completely new book, but a revised Bank 2.0. So it’s not correct to call the banking system ‘3.0’, it’s only about the book’s title. However let’s skip all non-relevant stuff and continue our journey.

From the Humaniq web site:

Prominent authors on the future of banking (Chris Skinner “Digital Bank”, Brett King “Bank 3.0”) describe the concept of a next generation bank as an open-source platform with a shared API for start-up integration, with open data and with the purpose of being a smart communication engine for social networking, business cooperation, games etc.

Bank 4.0?

We haven’t finished the banking transition to version 2.0, but, with Humaniq, we have here a promise of “the next leap ahead” directly to version 4.0. Is it possible to do that? As stated above — all these 2->3->4 versions are nothing more than good marketing. You can call yourself Mike v.4, but it won’t change anything.

However, blockchain, smart contracts and DLT technologies change everything much faster than before. So, in this sense, it’s quite correct to call the banking that Humaniq is trying to build — 4.0 if you want.

Let’s dive in into more details.

Details

First, let’s start with the team. The founder and the leader is Alex Fork — the famous Russian crypto-guy. That is good for the project because today we see a lot of technically great projects fail, but others with a good marketing/PR are very successful. If the founder is well known and has connections with Vitalik Buterin – that is very good.

If you would like to get tokens cheaply now (December, 2016) and then sell them immediately after the ICO (March, 2017) — the project seems good to me. The PR that Alex Fork can do will raise the price of the tokens higher. I believe that they could raise no less than $1–2M.

But good PR and connections with Vitalik and/or Waves does not make the project better in terms of their solution to the real world problems. And it doesn’t make their technical approach better.

What scares me is that they connect two big problems:

  • DAO (invest-fund)
  • Banking for unbanked

Why not separate that into two projects like TheDAO did with Slockit, and build your smartphone app as a first proposal? I might be wrong of course…

Presale

This is not an ICO, but a pre-sale, so it’s ok not to have a good roadmap or whitepaper. However, in order to invest in Humaniq, we need to understand what they are planning to do and what do they need the money for.

The ICO/crowdsale starts in February, 2017.

They have deployed a simple ERC20 token contract without any other code available. The contract code is here.

  • Non-capped
  • Can invest in BTC or ETH
  • Price is changing
  • The pre-sale will last for 12 days
  • Raised about $50K in first 12 hours.
  • All ETH goes to founder’s multisig. They control it. The money is not kept in the contract
  • 14% of tokens go directly to the team (this is not mentioned in the whitepaper!)
  • No ‘refund’, ‘escrow’ keywords found in the whitepaper

Whitepaper

What I like about the whitepaper is that it’s long and well organized. It is interesting to read. What I don’t like about it is that 50% of the whitepaper is some kind of Wikipedia/blog article compilation. Alex has written the book about Bitcoin that was written in the same style — simply copy many articles from the web, and add 10% personal opinion. There is a room for such books/whitepapers, but it won’t help me to understand what the project is aimed at.

What is understood is that the world we live today is not perfect. We have poverty, drugs, bad sex, economic crisis, Coca-Cola, terrorism, etc.

I would invest all my money if Humaniq will solve all these problems, but please provide me with more details on HOW you want to do it and HOW you will compete with other banking for unbanked projects. I hope, and I am sure, that the guys will clarify everything later, before the ICO starts in February.

A comment from Reddit (not mine):

Pretty dreamy white paper, which more describes current fucked up situation in world economy than Humaniq itself… Not looking 100% professional IMO, but since this is the first attempt of distributing money based on bio-identification, which could be the most humane way of handling money at all, I think this project is worth dropping few dimes in the well……

The whitepaper is translated into Chinese which gives the project an extra 5 points towards its success.

Final thoughts

The project is risky, and we will need more clarification/blog posts/community support from the guys. Humaniq is not the only one project that tries to solve the banking for unbanked problem.

However — if they could do even 1% of what they claim (like having 10M clients instead of 1B) — it would be a great effort for the whole Crypto world.

Great job, Alex and The Team! 
Anton.

Disclaimer — I have not invested in this project and have no any connections with its founders and developers. This is not a IcoRating kind of review, just my thoughts about Humaniq.

Anthony Akentiev

About Anthony Akentiev

Founder of the Chain.Cloud consulting company and a crypto-enthusiast. We work in partnership with our clients, advising them how to use/integrate Blockchain technology in order to meet their business objectives or overcome problems. We identify opportunities by answering where does Blockchain fit in and what can you do with it. Former C++ developer and entrepreneur. CTO of a several startups.

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