Akropolis aims to solve several problems in the global pension fund industry, not least of which is the fact that many pension funds around the world are underfunded. In addition, interests are misaligned, and there is little transparency for end users.
Akropolis will be a blockchain agnostic platform for the pension fund industry. The platform will facilitate an ecosystem consisting of pension fund beneficiaries, pensions funds, asset managers and developers. For pension fund beneficiaries, this will mean a transparent and efficient infrastructure, and the opportunity to aggregate their retirement savings on one platform.
The platform will provide efficiencies which will reduce the costs associated with pension funds, thereby increasing overall investment returns. By providing transparency the platform will also mitigate the conflicts of interest that currently plague the industry.
How advanced is the project?
The project began in the second half of 2017 with a pre-sale that provided seed funding. In the first quarter of 2018 the whitepaper was published, smart contracts were developed and audited, and a testnet was launched.
In the third quarter of 2018 the public token sale will be held, the architecture will be finalised, and an MVP will be released to trial clients.
A beta version of the B2C and B2B products for a group of early adopters and institutions, is scheduled to be lunched toward the end of 2018. The full platform is due to be released in 2019.
At this stage, there is no proof of concept, so this is very much a white paper proposal.
What are the tokens used for and how can the token value appreciate?
Two tokens will be used on the Akropolis platform. The token being sold to fund the project is the free floating Akropolis External Token, or AKT. The Akropolis Internal Token (AIT) is a platform-specific stable token. It will be used to tokenize assets on the platform, and for long term staking. This token will be used for accounting purposes on the platform.
In order to accelerate adoption, the platform will operate as a freemium model, and users will not be required to own or buy AKT tokens for access to it. Pension fund beneficiaries will however require the token to pay for premium services and fund managers will require the AKT tokens to access new clients and capital.
Institutional users will require AKT tokens for access to data and platform services, while developers will use the tokens to gain access to developer tools and opportunities.
The token supply will be fixed at 900 million, of which 40 percent are available for sale during the token sale. The hard cap is $25 million.
There will be substantial demand for the tokens if the platform reaches critical mass, as asset managers, institutions and developers will require tokens to access the very lucrative pension fund market.
Team & Advisors
Akropolis has a strong team of veterans from the investment and pension industry, as well as the tech and blockchain industry. The CEO, Anastasia Andranova has a background in private equity and is an advisor to other ICOs.
If the team does have a shortcoming, it is the lack of marketing and PR experience - although it should be mentioned that they have managed to build a sizable community with the resources they have.
The initial platform will be made up of decentralized components managed by a trusted, centralized authority. Initially it will be built on Ethereum, but in time will make use of whichever technologies are deemed most appropriate.
Five distinct groups of agents will interact on the platform; users (individual pension fund beneficiaries), pension funds, fund managers, asset tokenizers and developers. The entire platform will use smart contracts to manage the relationship between agents.
Each agent will access the platform via a unique dashboard and be exposed to a unique set of incentives. Fund managers and other service providers will be required to stake tokens, which they will lose if they act dishonestly.
Ultimately, end users will be able to view various pension funds on one platform, even if they move from one employer to another. Self employed individuals and those working as freelancers will also be able to build a retirement savings portfolio.
Strength and Opportunities
The team, and advisors, have a broad range of experience in relevant areas, from pensions and asset management to cybersecurity, blockchain development, legal and compliance.
By introducing a platform like this to the pension industry, Akropolis is for the first time giving developers a chance to build and market apps to the industry. This may result in new innovations and more industry challenges being addressed and solved.
Akropolis has a sensible and pragmatic development strategy. They are building the initial product on Ethereum, but are open to migrating to the best available technology in the future. They appear to be aware that they may need to be flexible and be prepared to pivot in the future.
Creating retirement saving products for the Gig and self-employed economy is a good idea. This is a new market niche which is growing and will represent a substantial opportunity in the future.
The project has a strong following amongst ICO investors. The Telegram channel already has 18,000 members, which is impressive for an ICO that has not conducted an airdrop.
Weaknesses and Threats
The current incumbents in the pension fund industry will be reluctant to give up control and change the status quo. The industry is complex and is made up of numerous players, each with their own incentive structures and vested interests. For this project to gain traction, buy in will be required from asset managers, pension fund trustees and regulators.
Fund managers and pension funds will want to see decentralised platforms succeeding before they consider putting their businesses at risk.
Pension funds are subject to complex and stringent regulations, which vary from one jurisdiction to the next. Navigating these frameworks will take a long time, and there is no guarantee that regulators will all pensions to be migrated to such a platform.
The $25 million being raised may not be enough to market the platform and sustain it until critical mass is reached. Specifically, the marketing budget of $2.5 million is far too little.
To gain critical mass, Akropolis must onboard a significant number of pension funds and asset managers. If it can do so, substantial value will accrue to the platform and the token.
However, to get to that point will require convincing incumbents in the industry, many of whom will want to protect the status quo. Even if this is possible, it will take a long time, and there is a likelihood that the project will run out of capital.
An investment in Akropolis would therefore be highly speculative, and the potential gain would probably not be worth the risk as a long-term investment. We will not be making a long-term investment.
In the short term, there may be some price appreciation as the project has a large following and the proposition is compelling at first glance.
Our Rating: B
* The information contained in this article is for education purpose only and not financial advice. Do your own research before making any investment decisions.