Fetch.AI. CTO AMA on 8BTC: Take a Closer Look at IEO
While the traditional ICO (initial coin offering) seems to lose its steam throughout 2018, the initial exchange offering (IEO) token sales model is starting to gain popularity. As the second IEO project on major exchange Binance’s Launchpad, Fetch.AI’s (FET) token sale has caught many investor’s eyes.
On April 2, 8BTC, the earliest Bitcoin social media in China, invited Toby Simpson, CTO of Fetch. AI to hold an online AMA (Ask Me Anything) with Chinese crypto community. The CTO tells us the whole process of the IEO on Binance and his own opinions and thoughts as a participator in this eye-catching activity.
Q1. Would you please briefly introduce your project and your team?
Toby: I’m Toby Simpson, CTO, and Co-founder of Fetch.AI. I come from a computer games background and was the producer of the influential and ground-breaking Artificial Life Creatures games in the 90s. I went on to apply that biological inspiration to the development of scalable massively-multiplayer virtual worlds, before spending a couple of years as Head of Software at DeepMind where I looked at how influences from nature can help the journey towards true machine intelligence.
At Fetch.AI, we’re creating an economic Internet: a vast, decentralised environment where representatives of all of the individual parts of the economy (data, hardware e.g. IoT devices, services, infrastructure, and people) can get work done without human intervention. It’s about removing the friction and letting digital entities solve problems on behalf of what, or who, they represent. We use extensive Artificial Intelligence to connect those with value to provide to those who want it and learn how to do that better and better as time goes on. We think this is incredibly exciting: it’s the machine economy, entities (which we call autonomous economic agents), connecting, finding each other, transacting and doing so by themselves, delivering solutions to today’s complex problems, right to you. Fetch.AI acts as a disintermediation agent: delivering self-service trust directly to the users of the network and we believe will have a significant impact in travel, transportation, asset management, energy and supply chain, and network use optimisation.
We’ve got an amazing group of people together to deliver this: our CEO, Humayun Sheikh is an experienced entrepreneur who was a founding investor in DeepMind and has a strong commercial record in commodities trading, including the steel sector, and also has a strong background in AI. The third member of our founding team, Thomas Hain, is a Professor at Sheffield University here in the UK and is hugely respected in the field of AI and ML. He is our Chief Scientific Officer and is an expert in the fields that are directly relevant to what we are building at Fetch.AI.
The remainder of our leadership team includes Head of Software, Troels Rønnow; Head of Research, Jonathan Ward; Head of Business development, Maria Minaricova and Head of Investor Relations, Arthur Meadows. Collectively, they lead a team of over 40 world-class people. We’re incredibly fortunate to have so much experience and knowledge: it has allowed us to create all of the innovations necessary to deliver a technology that can solve life’s increasingly complex problems.
IEO is beneficial for a blockchain project
Q2. How do you think about IEO and why did you choose Binance as your IEO platform?
Toby: I must confess, I had not heard of the phrase IEO before; I always saw it as an exchange hosted token sale! Initial Exchange Offerings have a lot to like: they are managed by a trusted organisation, they have access to an existing knowledgeable community of KYCed and AMLed users, it can be safer and more secure for those taking part, there is an existing infrastructure to allow the whole thing to happen and it adds further trust because the exchange will do its own due diligence.
For us, all of these things are important. Binance is top of their league in this, and we were incredibly impressed by their team and expertise. They also conducted extremely detailed due diligence – they looked closely at our team, the work we’ve delivered to date (including the actual source code) and spent a lot of time going through the details in our economic modeling and future plans. We found that comforting: and we know that the community also finds it comforting that someone independent of us has lifted every rock to make sure that there are no nasty surprises.
Q3. What were your expectations for this IEO before it was launched?
Toby: Our expectations were straightforward. We wanted to raise the money we needed, we wanted to get tokens into as many people’s hands as possible and we wanted to make steps in building and nurturing our community of supporters and developers. An exchange hosted token sale is the perfect way of achieving that and it was definitely the appropriate way of going forwards. With Binance’s help and guidance, we were able to make the whole event a success and we are very grateful for their help and experience.
One thing that did surprise us, though, was that the token sale raised $6m in only 22 seconds—that’s a huge endorsement of our vision, the technology we’ve built and our plans for the future.
Q4. What impact will IEO have on the development of your project? (Good and Bad)
Toby: The impact is the same as our expectations: raising the money we need to deliver on our vision and roadmap and getting tokens into people’s hands to grow the project further. From this perspective, it was a success and we’re now in a position to deliver our long- term vision. And it is most important that: all the future value is dependent on our ability to execute on this plan and doing so, and communicating our progress with our community, is our top priority. It does mean that we now have a large number of token holders who are holding us to account, asking about our progress, and asking lots of questions (nice and not so nice!) but that is important: we welcome the scrutiny, and we’re proud of what we have achieved so far and greatly looking forward to sharing the successes of the future as we build and deliver Fetch.AI.
Token price skyrockets immediately
Q5.We can see that the price of IEO projects tokens will soar immediately after listing but may fall later. How do you think about this phenomenon? Is it quite normal?
Toby: Depends on what you define as normal: and this is a tough question to answer, given there are strong views out there. I agree that this is a phenomenon that is worth looking at and questioning. A contributing factor is demand, and it’s very hard with a limited supply to get that right: we were certainly caught by surprise with the huge demand, and it shows how many people out there wanted to be part of the Fetch.AI vision. Such things could also be seen to affect people negatively, particularly smaller token holders that buy tokens and then feel that they have been negatively impacted in the short-term.
It’s worth pointing out that we don’t control the market: there is no magic switch in our office that we can use to make the token price go up or down, and we have to be careful not to respond to short-term market conditions as it would remove our attention from the long-term vision, which ultimately is the value builder of Fetch.AI in the future. I think that as the market further matures, we’ll see this kind of phenomenon “level out”, but it is worth noting that it is also common in equity markets after share listings as the market tries to work out what the right price should be, and is a side-effect of so many actors being involved in the process, all of who have different goals.
For those users who are holding Fetch.AI tokens for their future utility value, e.g., as the fuel for billions of agents and the key enabling value exchange mechanism for the Fetch Digital World, short-term movements will be less of an issue, but this kind of “up and down” can still be disconcerting. FET is a utility token: it’s there to drive people’s use of the Fetch system, running decentralised computing (which we call synergetic computing), fueling our agents, building views of the digital world and much, much more. We have published a blog post that talks about this, which I do recommend:
Q6.With the concentration of a large number of users and funds within a short period of time, the coin of the exchange itself will also see a wave of price increase. IEO may be regarded as a means for exchanges to achieve appreciation of their own platform coins. How do you think about it?
Toby: I believe that all of us in the decentralised space want to collectively make it safer, more professional, and nurture innovation inside it. That includes exchanges, regulators, token holders, those that are creating new technology and those that are and will, use it in the future. I am an optimist and I strongly believe that the big players in this space are here to build a future, not to cash in on the present at the expense of that future.
Q7.When and where do you get funds before IEO? Do you think funds you raised are enough for your project at the moment? Will you seek more funds in the near future?
Toby: The funds we have raised are enough for our project. We did not want to raise money that we did not need, but we did want to raise enough to ensure that we could deliver on our roadmap with enough room to spare to deal with life’s surprises: and if there is one thing we have learned, it is that there are surprises! The Fetch.AI Foundation is a token holder and is able to release those tokens in the future to support the ecosystem as a whole and to further development. There are also tokens available for future distribution, too, which is a good thing: in the end, you want the tokens out there in the hands of those who will use them. Before the public token sale, we had private investors in several phases who supported what we were building: and their support, we are deeply grateful for.
Q8.Is there anything else you would like to say to Chinese community? Do you have any plan in China?
Toby: China is an incredibly large territory, at the forefront of innovation in so many spaces, it is important that we factor it in. We also see development and creative innovation that can take a platform like Fetch.AI and find incredibly interesting new applications and use- cases, which of course we wish to nurture and encourage. There are regulatory challenges, and these are important: we will absolutely always work within, and comply with, the legal and regulatory framework that exists in every territory, and that includes China. We know that so many others see the importance of this, too. It’s vital for the future of this area that we work together and build trust and enter into dialogue on these things. This is something we’re doing in Europe, for example, by being founding members of the Blockchain For Europe association along with Ripple, EMURGO/Cardano, NEM and Bloq – engaging as a group with the European regulators to help inform, educate and guide such things. We believe that this sort of engagement, globally, is vital for the future success of this field.
It’s an amazing future that we’re all building and we’re delighted to be part of such an extraordinary community. Collectively, as users, enthusiasts, developers, investors, exchanges, and innovators, we’re developing technology that will change the world forever and in a very positive way.