Initial Thoughts on Substratum’s Amplify Exchange (AMPX) ICO

Substratum recently launched the website and released the whitepaper for its upcoming Amplify Exchange (AMPX) ICO. I’m in the midst of putting together a long-form analysis of why I think this is a money grab. In the meantime, here are a few initial thoughts after taking some time to go through and think about the token metrics of the AMPX ICO.

  • Substratum is looking to sell 740 million AMPX tokens in four phases – private sale, pre-sale ($0.10/token), ICO Phase 1 ($0.13/token), and ICO Phase 2 ($0.15/token). With a conservative average token price of $0.08, Substratum is valuing AMPX at $59.2 million. If we put more weight on the public ICO phases, an average token price of $0.12 would yield an $88.8 million valuation. Considering Substratum still hasn’t released SubstratumNODE, SubstratumHOST, and CryptoPay, this valuation is laughably astronomical and unreasonable.
  • The AMPX ICO has a hard cap of 740 million AMPX, which also happens to be the total amount of tokens allocated for sale. Most legitimate ICOs denominate hard caps in liquid and value-known assets like BTC, ETH, or USD. Substratum is choosing to denominate their hard cap in a value-unknown token. This suggests the team is adopting the “we’re too lazy to do financial projections, so let’s get all the money we can and think about it later” strategy. Very sketchy.
  • The total supply of AMPX is 1.2 billion tokens. 61.66% is allocated for sale, 33.33% goes to the “operational team”, and 5% will be airdropped to SUB holders. I think 33.33% (400 million AMPX) for the team is unreasonable. Using AMPX’s undiscounted rate of $0.15/token, 400 million AMPX is equal to $60 million. Yes, the team that has yet to deliver on their first two products thinks it’s appropriate to create $60 million out of thin air for themselves.
  • On a related note, it’s important to consider these percentages reference the total supply. If Substratum fails to sell 61.66% of the tokens, the team will control an even higher percentage of the circulating supply. To justify this unreasonable token distribution, Substratum and Amplify Exchange CEO Justin Tabb stated the 33.33% allocation for the team is “almost identical” to that of Substratum’s first ICO, which allocated 19.42% to the team. In what world does a 13.91% difference qualify as almost identical?

That’s it for now. My general opinion is that AMPX is a blatant money grab. I’m going to spend the next few days digesting the whitepaper and finishing a more lengthy analysis of why I think Amplify Exchange will fail to become a leading cryptocurrency exchange.

How to Display Cryptocurrency Prices in Google Sheets

A few days ago, I was using CryptoFinance to import cryptocurrency prices into Google Sheets. Unfortunately, the import function kept on timing out due to a CoinMarketCap API error. I suspect this has something to do with CMC’s recent move to a tiered API system which limits non-paying users to 6,000 calls per month. After a little research, I discovered the stock =GoogleFinance function supports major cryptocurrency pairs.

Just copy and paste the function below.


Supported currencies (for now) are limited to BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC.

ICON Partners with SK-Planet to Build Blockchain Services

Earlier today, ICON Foundation revealed that they have signed an MOU with SK-Planet to “work together to create new customer values and business opportunities by linking ICON’s blockchain technology with Korea’s leading mobile services.” This news comes just four months after ICONLOOP’s announcement regarding implementation of its CHAIN ID authentication system into Samsung Pass. Together, these two developments suggest that ICON is absolutely dominating the blockchain mobile services niche in South Korea.

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A Look Into Substratum’s 60 Million SUB Token Burn

Last September, Substratum revealed their proposed token burn strategy, which involved three separate token burns at key project milestones.

  1. September 24, 2017 – Initial 60 million SUB burn.
  2. October 4, 2017 – 60 million SUB burn following listing.
  3. TBA – 60 million SUB burn following Bittrex listing.

SUB is an ERC-20 token, and there are two ways to burn such tokens.

  1. ERC-20 token contracts have an optional .burn() function that can be used to decrease the number of tokens belonging to a specific address – in most cases, a developer reserve address.
  2. ERC-20 tokens can be sent to an address with an unknown private key. This method is by far the most popular way to perform a token burn. Using this method, ERC-20 tokens are typically sent to the Ethereum zero address.

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Thoughts on Substratum Community Management

Over the past year, Substratum’s form of community management has been continuously criticized for being too aggressive and “ban-happy”. In addition to a number of long-time Substratum supporters, I was also recently banned for expressing concern about the upcoming AMPX ICO – Substratum’s second public fundraiser.

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