ASKfm’s Upcoming ICO is One to Track

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AskFM
ASKfm 2.0 is a blockchain-based platform that will expand its services into education and push higher quality content. Facebook.com/askfmio

With the online Q&A market conquered, ASKfm is looking to spread its reach even further and reinvent itself with the power of blockchain. The company has been hard at work building with what they have dubbed ASKfm 2.0, a blockchain-based platform that will expand its services into education and push higher quality content.

Despite coming on the heels of a concerning trend--major corporations turning to blockchain as a last resort or cash-grab--ASKfm's pivot to blockchain is meant to take advantage of the technology's many advantages.  Industry observers are understandably wary then, when a major company with a proven product announces its plans to test the blockchain waters. The case of Kodak stands as a warning sign to investors due to its hype and subsequent flop.

Nevertheless, ASKfm’s upcoming ICO looks to buck the recent trend thanks to a few key differentiating factors. The company is leveraging blockchain not just for funding, but as a key component of its upcoming platform which will energize its userbase and broaden its reach. With big plans on the horizon, the company’s ICO is definitely one to monitor over the coming months.

Why ICOs Fail, But ASKfm Might Not

The ICO craze continues unabated, and 2018 is already proving exponentially better for companies seeking capitalization even when compared to 2017. During the first three months of 2018 alone, ICOs raised $6.3 billion—easily surpassing the total for all of 2017. Yet, funding does not always translate into success. Indeed, almost half of the companies that completed an ICO in 2017 have failed or are set to shutter their doors. The phenomenon is the result of a few factors, but mostly it comes down to companies that raise funds without a viable product, a clear use case, or the structure to sustain development once they’re funded.

Even for large companies that ICO, it can be difficult to determine if the foray into blockchain is a cash-grab or if it adds real value to a company. This is why a company like Long Island Iced Tea (since rebranded to Long Blockchain Corp.) launched an ICO which, while providing an initial boost, fizzled and scared off investors. The company has since been delisted from the Nasdaq Exchange after it was unable to sustain a minimum market capitalization.

The problem with ICOs like Long Blockchain’s is that they have no clear use case for blockchain technology. For many ICOs then, success depends on their ability to not just present a useful idea, but also deliver an application of the technology that works seamlessly and adds real value to the ecosystem. In this vein, ASKfm is preparing an ICO that will help them add users while simultaneously offering a significantly upgraded experience thanks to blockchain.

A Better Model for Education

ASKfm 2.0 is being billed by the company as a way to revolutionize how people learn. ASKfm is already one of the largest and most successful online Q&A platforms in the world with 215 million users, assisting users from all over the world with finding the answers they’re seeking. The company isn’t attempting to reinvent the wheel, but simply make it smoother.

AskFM ICO Max Tsaryk, ASKfm's CEO, is talking about the ASKfm 2.0 initiative on a panel in MoneyConf, 2018, Dublin.  AskFM

Blockchain enables ASKfm to launch their own ASKT tokens that will act as incentives and rewards for users. The company expects that the addition of tokens which can be exchanged for other rewards and even fiat currency will appeal to those answering questions, helping generate better content. Users will be able to post smart contracts on questions that will execute when their requests have been responded to satisfactorily, leading to better answers while attracting more qualified responses.

ASKfm is looking to go much further than that, however. On top of instantly upgrading its Q&A ecosystem, the company is seeking to expand into the field of online education by creating an environment that connects educators to students seamlessly. ASKfm is positioning itself to become a Massive Open Online Education platform that will deliver educational courses, web seminars, and even private tutoring. Students will be able to connect with accredited and reputable educators and scholastic resources.

Overall, the company is looking to blockchain to enhance its already proven solution. By adding a degree of autonomy, democratic paradigms, and transparent technology, ASKfm is anticipating that blockchain will place it in prime position to dominate the market.

The Beginning of a Trend?

The blockchain sector has seen some major companies and brands test the waters, but few have taken as boldly to the ICO model as ASKfm. While previous attempts have been failures for important reasons—no clear use case, dishonest motives, and more—a clear win could point major companies towards a potent path for catalyzing further growth.

Blockchain provides a unique opportunity to reinvent a company’s services, enhance it, or even pivot into a new industry. However, not every ICO will automatically succeed, and companies must understand that it is not a magic bullet for a stumbling service. By taking a page from ASKfm’s playbook, more large companies could soon dive in headfirst, sparking major waves across the blockchain ecosystem while pushing more widespread adoption.