Blockchain is ushering in disruption in various industries. Even big multinationals like IBM and Deutsche Bank are working on their own blockchain projects, hoping to maximize the technology’s capabilities, such as immutable records and smart contracts. Pharmaceutical giants are also banding together to use blockchain to secure their supply chains and prevent drug fraud.
Yet despite the upsurge in adoption and amid the rise and rise of Bitcoin, not all of blockchain’s applications are being used by established companies. Token sales, for instance, have become a major funding method for many startups. And, on that score more than $3 billion in start-up funding has been raised through token sales this year alone. Still, many companies seem to shy away from them.
But there are exceptions. Take, for example, messaging platform Kik, Hamburg-based fintech NAGA Group AG with its ecosystem and virtual reality (VR) platform Ceek, who have turned towards token sales to accelerate their respective growth.
In today’s hyper competitive business environment, companies have to continue innovating. They should always be driven to provide better products and services to customers. Otherwise, it is easy to fall into the trap of stagnation.
There is a long list of companies such as MySpace or Zynga that made huge splashes during their heydays, but eventually fizzled out as new and better services emerged.
It is not enough to be good at one particular thing anymore. Today the trend is to consolidate products and services to be part of ecosystems through which customers can perform a variety of activities.
To do this, businesses may have to gain expertise, add infrastructure as well as improve their systems and processes. This is where additional funding comes in. The more top-notch resources they can put into development, the greater the chances are for the effort to succeed.
Despite being valued at over $1 billion and getting investments from giants like Tencent, 8-year old messaging platform Kik held a token sale last September, which raised $100 million from the event. The goal was to acquire additional funds to develop a blockchain-based developer platform for its messaging app. Having such a system in place allows it to compete against Facebook Messenger.
Then there is Naga, a European-based fintech group, which was founded in 2015, which was taken public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (Deutsche Boerse) in July 2017 and as of this November had a market capitalization of around €300 million. It has already enjoyed success with services such as trading social network SwipeStox and virtual marketplace Switex.
In operation since early 2015, the SwipeStox trading platform is utilized by more hundreds of thousands registered users and today facilitates several over 200,000 transactions each month with more than $4 billion transacted.
However, the fintech game is also headed towards building multi-functional platforms and ecosystems.