It was a landmark event. Earlier this year, Bancor raised an eye-watering $153 million through its ICO.
What got everyone fired up about Bancor? The company promised that it could enable smart tokens to serve as legitimate currency. In other words, Bancor addressed the need for a smart token standard to link all cryptocurrencies together into an autonomous and decentralized liquidity network.
Six months after that meteoric raise — one that set the tone for ICOs going forward — what has happened at Bancor, and what has the team learned?
The first lesson nods to the issue of time, and how blockchain changes everything at a cultural level.
“Token economies are the epitome of networks — they take time and care to build properly,” Bancor cofounder Galia Benartzi told me. “Just like a community doesn’t form or become truly resilient overnight, but rather over years and even generations, to build a new ecosystem from the ground up to be sustainable and durable to change takes years.”
Patience and understanding are critical to a successful project, according to Benartzi.
“Anyone who is looking for quicker turnaround on these important undertakings is both misunderstanding the technology (which is still new and not tested for stress) and its purpose — to replace centralized networks with collaborative ones,” Benartzi said. “Flippers and speculators have enjoyed the rising wave of attention to this model, but now it’s time to get to the real work of value creation.”
In the short time it has been around, Bancor has made significant strides.
Over 50 token projects have now joined the Bancor Network. When a partner announces the adoption of the Bancor Protocol to provide continuous liquidity to their communities, the industry pays attention. Partners include other successful blockchain companies, such as Power Ledger, WAX Token, SENSE, and more.
Nine of these partners have already activated their tokens, and these can now be converted live, on-chain, using Bancor’s Web App, which includes GNO, ENJ, BMC, IND, STX, WISH, IQT and ETH (Ethereum), in addition to BNT (Bancor Network Token).
So far, 20.7 million BNT has been converted via the Bancor Network’s smart contract. That is equivalent to $58 million at BNT’s average price during that period.
The company has also been busy supporting the blockchain community in the last six months.
The Bancor bounty program was wildly popular, and it distributed more than 462,000 BNT to 6,461 contributors. In fact, the program went so well Bancor is today announcing an additional $1 million worth of BNT in bounty rewards that will be available throughout 2018.
What does the roadmap look like for 2018?
“Bancor is focused on scaling in 2018, allowing thousands of tokens to integrate with the network and millions of users to easily convert their tokens, enjoying automated pricing and no or low fees, thanks to a nonprofit market maker (the Bancor Network Token at the heart of the system),” Benartzi said. “Cross-blockchain support is a major technical initiative for the coming year, and allowing end-users to easily create and launch their own tokens (think community, group, and local currencies) is a major product initiative. All of this requires scaling the team effectively and creating loud and clear messaging to make sure everyone can understand this powerful ecosystem.”
And what about the future of blockchain technologies in general? We’ve already seen supposedly undisruptable industries in the crosshairs of blockchain startups across the globe, so what can and can’t be done with blockchain-based solutions?
“Blockchain infrastructure is still very new, but the problems that arise aren’t showstoppers, they are growing pains,” Benartzi said. “New blockchain technologies will emerge, the existing ones will scale (or not). Even bubbles will grow and burst — everything is very fluid, but this technology is here to stay. And everywhere that users can benefit from decentralization of control and profit, it will flourish. This is our next ‘Internet’, and it will touch everything we know.”
That’s a bold statement, but six months in, and with so much apparent success under its belt, Bancor is positing from a position of success. What happens next it anyone’s guess, but Bancor’s example is one many in the ICO world could follow.