What does the company/project do?
Orca is building a platform that integrates fiat and crypto services on one platform. In addition, the platform will take advantage of the trend toward open banking brought about by Europe’s PSD2 and GDPR regulatory frameworks.
The team behind the project have made the barriers to cryptocurrency adoption central to their business model. Rather than targeting users of cryptocurrencies specifically, they are targeting the mass market for fiat based fintech products. They are hoping to drive crypto adoption by offering crypto products alongside traditional financial service products on the same platform.
How advanced is the project?
Orca’s development plan is still at a very early stage. The roadmap runs until the end of 2019, with a series of planned releases each adding new levels of functionality. The first alpha version is scheduled for September 2018 and a more comprehensive beta version is scheduled for February 2019 release.
The project launched a mock-up of the dashboard in Q1 2018, though this was more of a demo of the what the platform will look like than a proof of concept. In June the team did a live demo, and managed to fund a fiat debit card from a crypto wallet in 6 seconds.
What are the tokens used for and how can the token value appreciate?
The ORCA token will primarily give users and developers access to the platform.
Platform users will require ORCA tokens to access the platform, and will be able to make payments and in-app purchases on the platform. A token swap feature will allow token holders to use their ORCA tokens to access third party apps rather than having to use a third party’s native token.
Developers will need ORCA tokens to offer third party services to users of the platform. ORCA token holders will also be able to invest in third party startups operating on the platform.
If critical mass can be achieved, the network will be strong for users and developers. More users will attract more developers building third party apps, and more third-party apps will make the platform more attractive to users.
For the token’s utility value to appreciate, a sizeable token economy will need to be achieved. However, if a network effect can be achieved, the token economy will grow exponentially, providing a strong underpin for investment demand.
Team & Advisors
The core team consists of over 20 people, all based in Lithuania. The leadership team have backgrounds in media, software development, marketing and investment management. The overall team is very strong on marketing and software development and engineering. In addition, the team includes experts in legal issues, AI and cybersecurity.
If there is an area the team may be lacking, its in the area of general financial services and banking, from both an experience and relationship point of view.
The advisory team is diverse and collectively has experience in strategy, banking, blockchain technology and cybersecurity.
The platform will allow users to manage finances and investments, automate and manage payments and make financial decisions. Orca’s platform operates on the Ethereum blockchain, while ORCA tokens are the newly launched ERC-777 compliant tokens.
The platform and third-party applications will access user account data at institutions by plugging into an institution’s API. Access to these APIs is now mandated in Europe (see below).
The Orca platform has several parts, central to which is a dashboard that allows users to view all their financial accounts and balances, both fiat and crypto, in one place. These will include bank accounts, crypto wallets and investments.
An app center will allow third party developers to test their apps and market their services to platform users. A smart AI assistant will also make suggestions by aggregating and analyzing data from multiple accounts.
Users will be able to earn rewards by testing third party apps, performing tasks and making suggestions to the community. Much of this will be gamified to encourage engagement.
Strength and Opportunities
Orca’s timing should allow it to take advantage of changes in European legislation that governs the banking industry. The EU’s Second Payment Service Directive (PSD2), which came into force in January 2018 obligates banks to give third party fintech companies access to a user’s account data, if the user requests them too. This lowers the barriers to entry which have held fintech companies back. Orca is effectively giving those fintech companies a market place for their services.
Orca is selling 60 percent of the total token supply top raise $14 million. This equate to a market value of $23.3 million, which is well below the valuation off other banking platforms that have held token sales.
The team is more aware than most that driving adoption will be key to success. They are focusing on selling traditional financial products to the mass market, rather than selling crypto products to the crypto market.
Orca also has a very strong marketing and communications team which has been very active in the media.
Weaknesses and Threats
While Orca has already tested and proven a few aspects of its MVP, the project still has a long way to go. The scheduled development plan is tight with little space for any unforeseen problems that may arise.
The team does not appear to have extensive experience in the banking industry – whether this is really a disadvantage or not is debatable. Strong relationships are not necessarily required to connect to APIs.
For the platform to reach full potential, legislation similar to the PSD2 will need to be enacted around the world. It’s not clear if this will in fact happen.
The Orca platform is unique in that it will provide a new ecosystem for fintech companies to offer their products in an open banking environment. This differs from many of the ICOs that are attempting to attach a token economy to an existing business model.
This could potentially be a massive new market, and Orca have a head start in the space. However, because it’s all very new, it’s impossible to predict how it will play out.
The project also has a long way to go, and the roadmap may be a little too optimistic. There is also a chance the team is not raising enough to fund it until critical mass is achieved.
Given the risks, ORCA would be a speculative investment, but could offer an asymmetrical payoff if the platform reaches critical mass – a small loss versus large potential gain. This would also be a long-term investment as it would take a few years for the user base to reach critical mass.