Ethereum technology is redefining the decentralized sector and is creating a variety of possible FinTech use cases while forging ahead into greater adoption. TokenMarket is a crowdsale exchange and research platform for tokens of decentralized technology projects. ETHNews recently sat down with TokenMarket co-founder, Ransu Salovaara, to discuss his view on topics ranging from the current state of the blockchain tech industry to how to run a successful ICO campaign.
ETHNews: What's the most important thing you're working on now, and how are you making it happen?
Ransu Salovaara: “We are working with our clients, which are blockchain-based start-ups, to enable them to do successful ICOs using our knowledge and platform, consulting, and advisory help.”
E: What inspired you to start TokenMarket?
RS: “First, we launched TokenMarket as an information place, and it’s still up today. It looks like just an information source for 113 digital assets, but in the background we already have another whole ICO operation going for multiple projects. In the next coming weeks, it will turn from the information platform into more of a crowdsale platform. In the spring, we will introduce secondary market trading, AKA, an exchange.”
E: What excites you most about the blockchain tech industry?
RS: “PayPal came with a worldwide mission to become a worldwide bank, but it was never executed. It actually ended up jumping in the same bed with MasterCard, Visa, and the banks. So it never did the revolution that Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, and the other guys originally wanted it to. So, I think that now - 15 to 20 years later - that this is the kind of a reset that can really build these companies. There were all these neat things that never really made a real dent to the financial industry. So, I love the fact that the blockchain could change everything. It can give a new start to the energy sector, finance, and logistics; which are three massive sectors.”
E: Where do you see TokenMarket in five years?
RS: “Our big mission is to manage fundraising from ICO's to IPO's. So, by working with the right partners, we believe that the first step of every company is this ICO, or equity crowdfunding. We are starting soon with equity crowdfunding that will also be based on tokens, and this way, we can then help or cater to all kinds of companies - not just the ones that need app tokens to operate. We can help companies raise funds and then have those funds, shares, or units - depending on legal structure - become tradeable assets afterward.
“Right now, ICOs are like the wild west of fundraising because they are based on equity or debt. They are functional application tokens that can be used on the service as an in-app payment, software license, etc. Soon, we will see tokenized equity crowdfunding and, after that, we’ll see a digital asset-based regulated market like the NASDAQ private markets and AIM (Alternative Investment Market) in London. That is the direction that the small and medium enterprise (SME) market will go in a few years. We believe that many of these assets, probably all of them, will be traded as digital assets.”
E: What characteristics do ICOs and DAOs need to have in order to have successful crowdfunding campaigns?
RS: “They need to adopt more basics from the angel and venture investments. In that sense, you need to do better business models and market positioning. For many ICOs, the money has come easily. Startups don’t have proper company boards and business plans to push things forward. The company’s focus has been too much on the creation of a great ICO rather than ‘we are here to build an amazing business.’
We need to master all the fundamentals of a good startup. We need to execute quickly. We need to come up with a unique business idea that has a unique value proposition.”
E: Market research shows that blockchain market growth is expected to grow 61% over a 5-year span. What industries do you think will be most affected and why?
RS: “I trade corporate bonds and those are still done mostly in a very manual way. It’s OTC (Over-The-Counter) trading, where you basically have a Bloomberg chat window open with multiple traders, but the transparency lacks, completely. Then you have to open the account with all these different brokers. So the whole thing is, like, screaming to be streamlined with something like the blockchain.”
TokenMarket’s Future Plans
TokenMarket also has plans to expand the platform’s corporate governance tools for dividend and interest payment management using Ethereum-based smart contracts. Ransu and his co-founder Mikko Ohtamaa (ex-CTO of LocalBitcoins.com) chose Ethereum as the platform because they have high hopes for the Ethereum ecosystem, as it’s a “system that you can use to build smart contracts and digital assets, that also can have rules.” Ransu is also optimistic about the future of digital assets. “Alternative financial assets that are currently not that liquid will have more liquid markets, thanks to blockchain”, he concluded.