In the last post, we looked at what an ICO needs to achieve for its token value to appreciate over the long term. It’s obvious that one of the factors that will lead to token appreciation, is that the platform or protocol needs to be useful, and people need to be using it. If it’s not being used, it’s probably not of value, and there is little reason for the token to have value.
And, for most ICOs, this will require mass market adoption. To date, while there has been a lot of discussion about just how big cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will be, real world adoption has been slow. The greatest utility being derived from the industry so far is the ability to speculate, and even that accounts for less than half a percent of the world’s population.
Apart from speculation, two of the most successful blockchain platforms currently are Steemit, the social media platform, and Brave, the browser. Steemit now has about 150,000 active monthly users. Brave has 3 million monthly users. These are the leading platforms operating on blockchains, and yet in the greater scheme of things, the numbers are tiny. For the most part, they are limited to those that are already part of the crypto community.
The problem is that many of these products are limited to those already involved in cryptocurrencies. For real growth in user adoption to occur, the mainstream, or mass market, will need to start using these platforms. And that means ICOs need to consider how they will attract potential users who have little to no interest in cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology.
A Strong USP (Unique Selling Point)
Many of the most successful product of the last two decades have been products that sell themselves. They offered a solution to a problem, and their solution could be understood in minutes, with no special knowledge. Think of Goolge, the iPod, Uber and AirBnB – these companies all offer a product that can be explained in less than a minute, and understood immediately.
Other successful products are sold to new users by their existing users. Think of YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The first you heard of these platforms was probably when you were sent a link by a friend.
Ease of Use
Again, most successful products are easy and intuitive to use. In the ‘attention economy’ you don’t have long to get people onboarded and using your product before they will lose interest and move onto the next distraction.
The most successful products in the digital age are all easy to use and get started with. They don’t require users to fill in extensive forms, and they require a minimum number of clicks to perform an action. And, when things go wrong, they have a customer support channel that can get them back on track painlessly and quickly.
Integration with the Fiat World
People are creatures of habit, and getting them to try something new is challenging. Telling someone they need to buy a token to use your platform, is just another barrier that may stop them giving it a try.
Until using tokens to access a service becomes commonplace, ICO teams could increase their chances of success by offering alternative payment options that consumers are more familiar with. The platform can still operate with a token, the user just doesn’t need to know about it.
The ICOs that can attract users will be those that can sell their products to potential users who don’t care whether the platform is decentralised or that it operates on a blockchain.
So how does this help token investors? Token investors can bare this in mind when considering investing in an ICO. Once you have looked at a project, its tech, the team and the tokenomics, ask yourself whether this is a project that is really going to be able to drive adoption amongst a mainstream audience. Because if it can’t, it’s unlikely the token will have value over the long term.