Crypto mining operations have grown in complexity and scale over the past few years. The logistics of these operations present a wide range of hurdles to cross, both in terms of long-term prospects, profitability, and regulatory shifts. In this context, AX1 has been embarking on its own project, helping extend benefits to ordinary crypto market participants.
Earlier this month, AX1 launched a capital appreciation token that enables holders to benefit from the large-scale mining of various leading cryptocurrencies. AX1 is a British Isles-based tech start-up company, founded by an experienced team spanning multiple disciplines within the finance and technology sectors.
Finance Magnates got a chance to speak with AX1’s CEO Stuart Anderson, who delved into the project’s roadmap, trajectory, and overall background.
What is the goal of AX1’s project and in what way will it benefit average token users or crypto market participants?
The ultimate goal is to become a major player in global crypto mining and a household name in the crypto space. Of course, that will take some time to achieve, so our intermediate goal is to offer our token holders access to what we would like to call “one of the best considered” mining operations out there.
By that we mean, we are not just collecting money and throwing a load of miners into a warehouse the way some operators have: we are really thinking about what we want to mine and why.
We are thinking about things like variable difficulties and block rewards, what prices coins are trading at, both currently, and then also what our expectations are for the future. For example, do we see increases or a period of equilibrium?
We are also considering what happens if coins move to proof of stake: we will be mining Ether for example, with the proposed transfer to proof of stake in mind. So, in terms of benefit to token holders we are building something here that will be “future proof” and will have value whichever way or ways the crypto space develops.
Of course, because AX1 is asset-backed by its portfolio of mined coins it also stands out from the pack of other mining tokens in that they have value only so long as they keep mining. Our Information Memorandum makes it clear that we have a “legal obligation” to segregate at least 50 percent of the coins we mine, specifically for the asset-backing.
This guarantees long-term value. The remainder will be used or sold to keep the miners up to date and to expand the operation in various ways, such as increasing mining capacity. In general terms, the wider crypto market may also use AX1 as a currency in the knowledge that it is asset-backed and therefore won’t just suddenly lose value like a lot of tokens out there which are backed by nothing tangible.
There is no shortage of projects or crowdsales to invest in 2018. What makes AX1 a good opportunity for contributors or investors?
The really big thing about AX1 is that it’s a capital appreciation token – all geared up for continual growth in value rather than income. It’s a variation, call it an improvement, on an already tried-and-tested model of crypto mining.
We know already that this works and that it makes profit. A lot of crowdsales are for things that might work. The thing is, they might work very well, but might also not work.
We have a mining plan already in place and we’ve done our maths over and over. We know what all the variables are and, because we’re not a first mover in mining, we have plenty of examples to compare it with. You could say we’ve done our homework already – we know what works in mining.
Many investors regret missing out on Bitcoin, was this just a missed opportunity or how can ordinary individuals gain exposure to this industry?
We think the best way for people who’ve missed out is to now get access through mining. It’s clearly expensive at around $7,000 just to buy one Bitcoin if you’re going to do that on an exchange for fiat cash. The entry barrier via AX1 is significantly reduced.
So, for anyone kicking themselves for missing out, this is the perfect opportunity to get exposure and, because we have COBO, token holders can rest assured that when we say we have segregated the mined coins, e.g. Bitcoin, we have actually done that. They are really getting exposure to Bitcoins at a fraction of the current market price.
What measures exist to ensure the long-term growth and value for AX1 token holders?
As mentioned previously, this is a “considered” offering and we have a plan. In other words, right after the ICO finishes, we have a plan for when we realise enough for a second data centre site; we have a medium-term plan for replacing and upgrading the mining units – whether they be GPUs or ASICs; and we have a long-term plan that will still work even if mining ceases completely, which we doubt, and everything moves to proof of stake.
In summary, no matter what happens or where crypto goes from here, we have the plans and the people in place to adapt and stay profitable. I have already mentioned the segregating of at least 50 percent of all mined coins, as agreed with our Jersey regulator.
However, at the risk of repeating myself, I think that really is one of the key benefits of this offer, as it guarantees value relative to crypto assets in general. If you own tokens in a mine and mining stops or becomes unprofitable then your tokens are worth – at best – only what can be raised from selling the miners.
In such a scenario, who would buy used miners? So those tokens are probably worth nothing. Not so with AX1. I think our approach makes perfect long-term sense. I see no reason at all why AX1 tokens will not still have value in decades from now – the assets, i.e. the mined coins, will always be there.
What are some unique attributes of AX1’s mining and how does this differ from other tokens?
I think there are actually more than I could mention given the time available. Firstly, and as already stated, the segregating of mined coins acts as an asset-backing. It’s like if the dollar or euro or pound were actually backed by gold again. We do actually have something in our vault! It’s not just a piece of paper, or, I should say, a line of block code – there is actually something behind it.
We will have a store of Bitcoin, Ether, Monero, Dash, Litcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Zcash et cetera, held and, importantly, actually audited against each and every AX1 token in existence. That is a big thing for token holders and economic users in terms of storing value.
In addition, and in no particular order: we have a long-term plan, as stated above; we also have plans in terms of working with funds and other financial agencies in supplying the underlying for forward position; we have diversification in terms of what we mine; we have adaptability built in so we can switch from coin to coin as appropriate.
Furthermore, we have a research and development function, looking at where mining is going and what’s new, coupled with operational scalability. These are all fairly unique attributes compared with what other players are offering.
Can you describe the regulatory treatment of issuers and explain the project’s certification under the Jersey Financial Services Commission?
So firstly, I have to say that the Jersey regulator is still building a legal framework for the future regulation of ICOs and so, as AX1 is one of the pioneers, we have been through a long and rigorous process.
Jersey operates current ICOs under a framework called COBO, which stands for the Control of Borrowing Order, and this requires AX1 to obtain formal consent from the regulator for this token issuance and any potential additions in the future. Whilst this has created an approved process and a statement of no objection from the regulator, this falls short of AX1 being regulated, as Jersey currently doesn’t have a full regulatory framework for any ICO.
This was coupled with insisting that we partnered with companies based on the islands to ensure compliance with the strict regulatory guidelines, such as JTC (which recently listed on the LSE) as administrators and corporate directors of the company, Carey Olson as legal counsel and Grant Thornton as auditors.
Surrounding yourself with the right team is a proven recipe for success. Can you tell me about the team that is spearheading AX1’s project and development?
I’d agree and it has been my pleasure to bring togther such a diverse team. At an executive level, the management team at AX1 has been working together on this project now for 12 months and has worked closely together in some cases for over five years.
Our project development team brings together specialists from the world of crypto, IT, project development, design and marketing, and it is this strength of experience which adds a corporate division to the AX1 token issuance.
Finally, we have an advisory team which allows us to look towards the future with confidence. We have pulled together a team from crypto, mining, audit, accountancy, legal, investment banking and digital, and it is this team which will help shape the major changes within the AX1 prophecy as it continues to develop through the roadmap.
We have built the breadth of experience to manage a multi-million pound investment company and one that can help us to steer the token through the acquisition of additional mining capability in the short term and investing the profits wisely for future growth over the long term. This allows us to state that this really is about capital appreciation and building a token that grows as the assets which secure it grow.
What is your background in the financial services or blockchain space?
I’ve worked around financial services for over 15 years, securing work at £400M hedge funds as a CEO, pioneering growth and driving bottom line profits for shareholders and stakeholders. I’ve built the investment infrastructure in start-up businesses in the retail financial advice space with a company that now controls over £9bn of client assets in the UK, to growing and developing product initiatives for UK stockbrokers, investment managers and constructing products to be listed across stock exchanges in the UK and Europe.
I wanted to bring all that regulator and product development experience to assist AX1 in developing an ICO which holds at its core a regulated mindset.
What are the long-term prospects or roadmap for AX1 – in other words what can token holders expect moving forward?
Our roadmap is really well laid out and everyone involved at all levels has a really clear picture of where we are going. As I said above, the long-term plan is to become a major player in global crypto mining and a household name in the crypto space. Plenty of things, of course, will happen along the way.
The main things that token holders will see is the development of both the mining capacity and the growth in the mined coins portfolio, which will obviously get bigger the more capacity we have, and the more coins we mine.
The first goal is to get the main Manchester base up and running and mining coins. That’s planned for Q3 of this year. Our mine-plan is finished, and we are all ready to go from a planning perspective. In fact, the first coins to be mined will be mined, I am fairly sure, in Q2, and as more miners are bought and delivered this will increase.
It will take the rest of this year to get it 100% working as it’s a big data centre and there are lead times on the equipment. But, from our end, we can set up and install as quickly as we can get hold of the miners.
As we are planning this for the long-term we would much prefer to wait on longer lead times for top quality equipment, like Nvidia and AMD, rather go with some inferior product that can be delivered a little more quickly but will either not be as good in terms of hashing rate or will break down and have to be replaced.
Even while the Mining Team is setting up the Manchester operation, the Executive Team will be starting work on the second mining centre. This is already in hand: the site has been acquired and planning permission has already been obtained. This site will be more open plan than the Manchester data centre and will lend itself to the larger, standalone or racked, ASIC units which we are currently researching.
In terms of reporting and value-adding, we are also developing a portal which will allow AX1 token holders to see what coins are being mined at given intervals and even, eventually, live – in real time. The portal will also allow users to see valuations on the mined coins portfolio and stay updated with AX1’s latest news.
Looking further forward into 2019 and 2020, the plan is to keep on developing capacity for mining while, at the same time, remaining mindful of the opportunities afforded and coming up in the staking space.
We believe we have created something really unique and compelling in this particular space and we are very confident that not only will AX1 be a huge success operationally but that the AX1 tokens will increase in value based on the clear fundamentals we have built into the project.