ICO mania is gaining stream as pundits claim 100 Billion will be invested in 2018. Everyone is scurrying for a prestigious “Advisory Board” to cash in on big money. There are more ICO Consultants on LinkedIn than ICOs. The cry of imminent bubble implosion is scoffed off with the visions of New Age value created and backed by the miracle of mathematical consensus. Finally, humanity has found higher meaning and can now rocket forward into a kinder, gentler future for our precious Spaceship Earth. Not so fast.
Engineers have been accused of many things but rarely for lacking in reason, rationality, and objectivity. Here at the Integrated Engineering Blockchain Consortium, we have been looking at many ICOs trying to figure out exactly where the intrinsic value of these tokens may be found. Really, we try very hard to rationalize these things,
The typical ICO application goes something like this:
Small Farmer does not stand a chance against big Global Warming. But luckily there is CropCoin a new token that will solve world hunger. CropCoin allows the Small Farmer to buy big insurance that pays out Big cash money if the temperature exceeds 100F for more than 7 days in a row. Don’t miss out, forth extension is almost over, this ICO will raise 10-200 million dollars. Download whitepaper here ….
There seems to be several problems with this arrangement. The first is that it does nothing to solve global warming or world hunger. The second is that this “decentralized” application is entirely dependent on a centralized institution such as the US Government weather service (the Oracle of Temperature measurement). Further, the weather service is dependent on sensors, satellites, and measurement devices that are all dependent on engineers to design, calibrate, maintain, interpret and replace.
The value proposition of the insurance is a bit troubling as well. The idea is that it would costs less money (Dollars) to buy the token than actually performing the agricultural engineering required to improve irrigation capacity, plant suitable crops, or develop relief strategies. If global warming is left unchecked, it will become increasingly more difficult to find a counter-party to a CropCoin – and thus, the token is unsustainable.
It is not very difficult to look at any of the current wave of ICOs and they always find similar flaws of intrinsics – after a few shallow smart contract layers, you will always encounter the engineer. Every one of these applications make the assumption that the electrical grid will always be available, that roads, bridges, and airplanes will be safe and that there will always be food in the grocery stores, medical equipment, and comfortable buildings to trade tokens and count money.
Further, a blockchain app that lowers the price of a service is a smash hit, but there is no regard for the impact of lower wages and tax loopholes on the ability to maintain and secure infrastructure upon which these devices utterly depend. Everyone wants to game “the system”, but the only ones that can make the game more fair, equitable – and most of all, rational – are the global endowment of engineers allocated properly to find real solutions to real problems. Blockchain cannot reach full potential until the engineers are on board. This is the objective of QuantChain