How we priced GRAFT ICO

  We get a lot of questions about the ICO pricing, including “Why GRAFT ICO is so expensive”. What follows is an attempt to explain how we arrived at the ICO pricing and what all contributed to it.  

Not All Altcoins Are the Same

There are two types of altcoins (aka tokens) out on the market today – one that sit on top of another blockchain (like Ethereum), and others that implement their own blockchain. The ratio of derivative tokens to custom blockchain ones are roughly 100:1.   It is a lot easier to do a derivative token based ICO – you just write a small amount of code in  Solidity (if Ethereum) – and you have a token you can sell. Doing or modifying a blockchain on the other hand involves a very substantial amount of engineering efforts – the team has to figure out the math and economics behind the blockchain, implement additional capabilities, secure that new functionality, create API’s, in many cases create applications like a wallet, etc. They also have to create a whole new network complete with node installation procedures, upgrade processes, and many other considerations. GRAFT is the latter of the two – while leveraging CryptoNote protocol which addresses privacy, decentralization and fungibility as well as  great work that Monero team has done to improve scalability among other things, GRAFT is having to implement a new communication protocol that allows instant authorizations, a distributed API (DAPI) that allows connections from the POS and other applications, and a set of reference applications for the point of sale  and the wallet – just to name a few high-profile tasks.    

Derivative Tokens Cost More

Tokens run on top of another blockchain (say Ethereum), so purchasing a token is not sufficient to run the application that the token represents – you also need to purchase “fuel” (which is the underlying coin/token). The amount of fuel depends on the amount of transactions that the token application represents. Compare this to the blockchain like GRAFT which encompasses the value of entire transaction. As you can see, the cost of a token is more than meets the eye, in some cases much more.  

Pay Attention to Valuation, not Token Cost

Valuation (or capitalization) follows a simple formula: (Number of tokens or coins) x (Price of the token / coin). It’s natural for people to think that smaller price of the token represents a bargain, but the critical piece in this equation is the number of coins or tokens that are being issued. For example, which is less expensive (has higher valuation) – 1 billion tokens at $1, or 10 million tokens at $10? It is as you could calculate the latter, with corresponding valuations of $1B vs $100MM.  So when you buy a $10 token from a 10 million token pool, you actually end up with a significantly (10x) larger piece of the pie than if you buy the same amount of the $1 token in a 1 billion token pool. Most token ICO’s are not burdened by emission math (the formula that guides how the coins are mined, making the later mined coins harder to mine than earlier mined coins), so they issue a very large number of tokens (often in 100’s of millions or even billions) and then pricing the tokens low for the perception of the low entry cost. Top 10 Derivative tokens (illustrating circulating supplies differences)  

GRAFT Valuation is 1/40 of Dash

GRAFT’s total final emission (the number of coins to ever be minted) is roughly 18 million (18,446,744 to be precise). We’re pre-mining certain number of coins (45%) to cover the ICO, marketing, reserves, and incentives. This is it. We will never be able to add or pre-mine any more coins!  We have also decided not to siphon off any fees from the transactions to fund the development like some of the other blockchains are doing.    As such we have to make sure that whatever we raise now will be sufficient to sustain GRAFT project until no further development or support from the core team are required (we estimate that to be roughly 7 years with the overall team growing to 30-40 people). This is roughly $25MM.   Now, we also have to account for additional unexpected expenses, crypto-currency fluctuations at the time of the raise, and potential taxable events. This means that we need to need to double the $25MM getting us to $50MM. Since the ICO represents 25% of the total coin supply, the $50MM has to be equal to 25%, which brings the valuation to $200MM, and subsequently the price of the coin to roughly equivalent of $11 USD.  

Summary

When evaluating GRF pricing, it’s really important to compare apples to apples in terms of:
  1. size of emission (or the number of tokens available)
  2. type of a token/coin – a blockchain or a token on top of another blockchain
  3. valuation which is a product of number of tokens multiplied by price
If you do such comparison, you will see that GRF token ICO compares very favorably against other blockchains on the market:
Current circulation Price Market Cap / Valuation
Bitcoin 16,678,650 $6,100.00 $100,000,000,000
Ethereum 95,715,037 $310.00 $29,500,000,000
Ripple 38,622,870,411 $0.20 $30,000,000,000
Litecoin 53,819,707 $60.00 $3,250,000,000
Dash 7,687,407 $340.00 $3,200,000,000
Monero 15,345,839 $118.00 $1,800,000,000
Graft (after ICO) 100,000,000 $.32 $32,000,000 (numbers are approximate)

Update:

We have made couple of changes to the ICO and token structure since the article was first written:
  1. decided to lower our ICO hard cap to 5% of the total emission (or around $11,000,000 in USD), down from 25%,  and keep the rest of the coins slated for ICO in reserve for subsequent raises as needed.
  2. Do a 1:100 split, multiplying the total emission by 100
These changes doesn’t really change any of the math, just help us improve usability of the coin at pont of sale, and address some of the perceived value concerns.

MVP Development Status Update

We would like to update the community on the status of Graft blockchain development. We have made a lot of plans and promises, and now it’s time for our dreams to start coming true. In order to achieve our ambitious goals, we have put together an efficient team of very talented and experienced developers. Two of them came from Monero project, which is very important for us as we forked the blockchain from Monero, and there will be many blockchain protocol changes.

Network Node, Testnet, and Blockchain Explorer

As an important milestone, we have finished some initial blockchain code modifications which allowed us to set up a public testnet with the first Graft block explorer.

While the testnet is open for access from the Internet, we have not published yet any information on node/supernode setup, configuration, and connectivity since we are still frequently updating it, and we would like to make sure it is stable enough to be open for public view and alpha testing. We will notify everyone once we publish the instructions so anyone will be able to connect and test the basic network.

Supernode

The majority of the work, however, currently is concentrated in supernode code which is — unlike network node forked from Monero — being designed from scratch. The proof of concept supernode was written in Python for the sake of rapid prototype development. After thorough review, the team decided to refactor the supernode code in C++ in order to keep a single technology stack and optimize the development process and network performance. Although the supernode and network node are based on the same technology stack now, the supernode is still deployed as a separate process (daemon), and we intend to keep it this way, at least for the near future.

Mining

Also, we are working on instructions for miners, including GPU and mining pools. Initially, it will be possible to mine on CPU, so the entire full supernode can be hosted on single machine. That’s how the typical testnet supernode is configured. On the mainnet, however, the network hashrate will grow fast, which will require GPU, then multiple GPU, and eventually mining pools to be set up in order to efficiently mine and maintain the full supernode. We are working on providing instructions for GPU miners as well as creating a first mining pool. The GPU mining machine can be detached from the supernode, which enables a hybrid “on premise/cloud” configuration, where, for example, the GPU mining rig is located at home while the supernode is hosted in AWS.

Mobile Wallet, Point of Sale, and Payment Terminal Apps

Finally, we are working on development of client applications, which include wallet and point of sale mobile apps that should look familiar from the PoC phase, as well as new apps running on payment terminals such as Verifone, Ingenico, Equinox, and AnywhereCommerce. Those new apps are going to be different from our existing mobile apps as they are going to be tailored to particular terminal hardware/OS/API/SDK and mostly integrated with third party point of sale software. The terminal apps are very important as they will open the door to the mainstream merchants including top tier retailers. Here is how the typical terminal app will interact with Graft blockchain:

We are still on initial design phase with those apps, but we believe we will be able to demonstrate the working prototypes before the ICO. Stay tuned!

Graft Pre-Sale on NEM Platform

We are very happy to announce that Graft token pre-sale will be conducted using a token based on NEM Mosaic, a smart contract token platform. The Graft NEM based tokens (Graft:token) will be exchanged to GRF coins once Graft network becomes operational, which is preliminary scheduled for the end of the year. We are seeking to sell 135,000 Graft:tokens for 353.7 BTC. Pre-sale will start on September 15th 2017 at 15pm UTC and end on September 22nd 2017 at 15pm UTC. The pre-sale price of one Graft:token (0.001843 BTC / 0.028 ETH / 28.06 XEM) is 30% less than the final sale price which is set to 0.00262 BTC / 0.04 ETH / 40.09 XEM.

The Graft coin is called Graft (GRF), and is the “fuel” of the Graft platform. GRF are cryptographic tokens that will enable purchasers to transact and operate services on the Graft platform when it is launched by Graft. GRF is required for participation in Graft network activities, including but not limited to operating the full supernodes, which provide instant confirmations and other important network services. The total supply (maximum number) of GRF is 18,446,744. The majority of GRF will be created as a block reward by supernode operators during several years of mining. Since Graft uses combined Pow/PoS algorithm, 500 GRF will be required to deposit as proof of stake in order to operate the full supernode. For more details about its uses in the network, please see Graft white paper or/and Frequently Asked Questions.

At the time of the pre-sale, the Graft platform will not have been launched. Purchasers in the pre-sale will acquire Graft:token (NEM based smart contract tokens) in exchange for BTC, ETH, or XEM. 135,000 Graft:tokens pre-sold in this manner can be exchanged to GRF coins created in the Graft genesis block. Graft will allocate equivalent amount of GRF purchased in the pre-sale in the genesis block. The genesis block will constitute the inception of operation of the Graft network.