ICOs have swept the globe over the past year as the latest and greatest (or perhaps just the least-regulated) method of gaining fast amounts of large startup capital. Miko Matsumura, limited partner of Pantera Capital, recently estimated that approximately 900 ICOs took place in the month of November; over $3.75 billion has been raised through ICOs this year alone.
The ICO industry has earned a bit of a reputation for being rife with individuals and corporations who are using the practice to get rich quick without actually offering a legitimate product in return.
To change the culture surrounding blockchain-based startups, financial platform U.CASH has invented the so-called ‘Initial Bounty Offering’, or IBO, which asks for contributions in the form of contributors’ time and skills in exchange for cryptocurrency. U.CASH said that the practice was “a way to crowdsource human resources, business development, marketing and user acquisition for blockchain technology ecosystems.”
Like ICOs, But With “More Mental Commitment”
In certain respects, IBOs operate very similarly to the way that ICOs do. They take place within a fixed period of time, and distribute crypto tokens to participants in accordance with their contributions. However, instead of investing fiat, ETH, or BTC in exchange for ICO tokens, IBO participants must “invest their skills and time to earn rewards in the new cryptocurrency,” according to a definition from Decryptionary.com. “An IBO requires more mental commitment.”
According to a report by Urban Crypto, U.CASH conceptualized the IBO as a way to ensure that its project was fully developed and prepared prior to its launch. U.CASH reportedly noticed that projects supported by ICOS “often launch without proper research, software development, relationship building, or even functioning alpha or beta versions” that an IBO would essentially guarantee.
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How it Works
Contributors to the IBO are given specific tasks that are associated with corresponding amounts of crypto tokens as rewards. For example, during the U.CASH IBO, so-called ‘consumers’ can receive token rewards for signing up for an account and linking Facebook and Twitter; they can produce songs, videos, or articles; ‘coders’ contribute developmental help, and so on and so forth.
CCN reported that U.CASH hopes that IBOs will encourage network growth as well as “create a fairer distribution of tokens.” The concept of an IBO is certainly refreshing in an ICO landscape that has transformed into a multi-billion dollar industry with its share of insider trading, hacks, and scams.
A project built by a community of contributors whose involvement in the project is not wealth-dependent could theoretically have a stronger support base at the outset of the project’s public launch, given that enough participants have contributed enough of the right kinds of efforts.
While the cryptocurrency industry is currently white-hot, and there are tons of opportunities to make tons of money, it is possible that the practice of holding IBOs could catch on, and could potentially act as a gateway to discover developmental talent that may not have otherwise had the opportunity to get involved with a blockchain-based startup.
In any case, the model empowers organizations and individuals who are not as motivated by money to get involved in the crypto space. IBOs certainly have great potential to build stronger communities, awareness, and participation in the blockchain world; whether or not IBOs will become commonplace can only be determined by the test of time.