The team behind EtherMage, a blockchain trading card game inspired by Magic: The Gathering and Hearthstone, recently announced the discontinuation of its project. The post cited an unsuccessful presale turnout as the key reason behind the decision.
With the presale having failed to meet the crew's soft cap, EtherMage said it could not continue developing the project. However, the team indicated that it hopes "to bring better games and products to [followers] in the future."
Although the game is no longer a reality, backers of the project will not necessarily lose their crypto. EtherMage is holding a refund period from today until October 17 so that people who purchased presale cards with Ether can reclaim their funds. Refund requests "will not be entertained" after this period, however.
The EtherMage project was announced via Medium on July 1. Taking a quick look, though, at the minimal number of claps, shares, and comments on the team's various posts, it is safe to assume the project did not have a large following. As of press, EtherMage has a modest 60 followers on Twitter.
Regardless of EtherMage's optics, startups tend to fall apart in general – some statistics show that 90 percent of new ventures ultimately fail. If anything, the project's unsuccessful presale turnout signifies the uncertainty of the ICO and token sale funding model. Various token distribution events have been successful, to be sure, but all this success does not guarantee a lasting spot in the crypto startup space.
In response to EtherMage's discontinuation announcement, one redditor noted, "On a larger scale, I hope this may be a sign that the days where anyone could announce an ICO and get millions of dollars thrown at them regardless of merit has passed." This may be an apt assessment of the state of ICOs, as 80 percent of the offerings in 2017 were considered scams by the ICO advisory organization Statis Group.
Plus, companies can raise significant amounts of money through ICOs, but these businesses may not be successful in the traditional sense of the word. For example, Tezos received millions of dollars through its token sale, but the organization has since seen its share of lawsuits and infighting, no doubt affecting the progress of the company's developments.
Few tears may have been shed for the dissolution of the EtherMage project, but in the Wild West of crypto, unsuccessful products come and go. At least with this project the backers are receiving refunds for the Ether they pledged – not all organizations are as kind.
Correction (9/18/2018): An earlier version of this article said that EtherMage had 33 Twitter followers at press time. It has 60.