Narrative Network ICO Review – A Social Media Network

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Important Dates: February 13th – Public sale begins

Number of Tokens: 100 million at end of token sale followed annual inflation to finish at 197.5 million

Token Type: NEP-5 token built on the NEO blockchain

Cap: 16000 NEO (about $18 million at today’s NEO price)

Token Symbol: NRV

Whitepaper Link

What is Narrative Network?

Narrative is a content platform (similar to sites such as Reddit or Steem), generating rewards for content creators, moderators, and others who positively contribute to the quality of content on the network.

There are three types of content channels on Narrative: Personal Journals, Niches (subject-based collections), and Brands.

Personal Journals: A personal journal is a user’s personal blog.

Niches: A subject area where the narrator may post content. These are essentially communal posting areas and are similar to Reddit sub-reddits.

Brands: These are communal posting areas controlled by brands.

The Narrative organization manages the software development, technical infrastructure, and product marketing, but has no role in moderating users or content.

What is the problem Narrative Network wants to solve?

On most content-driven platforms (e.g. YouTube), content creators aren’t rewarded. If they are rewarded, the profits are meager compared to what the parent organization takes in.

Narrative Network aims to solve this problem by rewarding content creators and putting transactions on the blockchain to promote transparency.

85% of all revenues generated by the network flow directly to the active participants (e.g. content creators, active participants, moderators, and other positive influencers). The remaining 15% of revenue will go to the organization.

What is Narrative Network’s business plan?

The alpha will be released in Q1 2018 and will only feature Niches. The beta, with full functionality, is expected to be released in Q4 2018. Advertising will be added to the platform in Q1 2019.

Narrative first plans to focus on the English language, but in the future foresees expanding to other languages that will be on different websites but share the same token.

Revenue from the network will come primarily from advertising. However, there will also be revenue from companies that want to set up Brands on the network as well as owners of Niches.

Technology

An interesting aspect of the Narrative token sale is that they recently switched from the Ethereum blockchain to NEO. The team wrote a detailed posted describing why they made the switch, but ultimately it has to do with scalability and costs. NEO can process more transactions per second and transactions are free (for the time being). I see more projects switching blockchains in the future – Narrative is the first of many.

ICO

The pre-sale has already sold out (62.5% of tokens). The main crowdsale on February 15th will be used to sell the remainder of the tokens.

Tokens granted to the Team will be subject to a 3-year vesting period that begins only when the network launches. Tokens granted to the Company Reserves will be vested over a 2-year period.

Narrative will be using the proceeds from the Token Sale to fund operations for the first 4 years. Afterwards the team expects revenue from the platform to fully fund operations.

Token Utility

All fees in the Narrative ecosystem will be paid using the NRV token. There is no other utility for the token.

The Team

The team comprises four people led by a husband and wife team, Ted and Rosemary O’Neill. They co-founded a company called Social Strata. The most interesting product launched by Social Strata is a platform called Hoop.la, an online community platform. Some of Hoop.la’s customers include Bose, Pepsi, and Pinterest.

Notable advisors include Paul B. Allen who founded ancestry.com and Sergey Vasin, who co-founded Blackmoon crypto.

Hype

Narrative Network has over 2100 people in its Telegram channel. This number is not high compared to recent blockbuster token sales, however I do expect the number to keep rising as the token sale draws near.

Competition

Steemit

Steemit is a blockchain-powered social network modeled after Reddit. It uses the STEEM token to reward content creators based on the number of up-votes received. It currently has a market valuation of over $300 million and has seen steady adoption over time, albeit mainly by users who are familiar with the cryptocurrency space.

Medium

Medium is already an important player in the content space, and has a big following among crypto companies as well. While it doesn’t have many of the advanced functions of the Narrative Network (e.g. payment in crypto), it is easy to use and has a large following.

Risks

Competition: Narrative argues that they significantly enhance upon the nascent model developed by Steemit by incorporating reputation, moderation, governance, and transparency, by providing a more flexible and deeper rewards system, by supporting powerful search features, and by developing a more complete, structured content system.

Technological: The team is very light on experienced coders and the switch to the NEO blockchain at this stage means there is a lot of work to be done. However, the team has confirmed they are in touch with NEO and that the CTO will attend the NEO developer conference at the end of January.

Scores

Fundamental Indicators

Concept: 3

While tokenizing creative content is a great blockchain use case, there is nothing really  exciting about this concept any more. It has already been done by Steem and is being done by others as well.

Token Utility: 1

There is no reason why this project needs a token to exist. The token has no other use case than being used as a form of payment.

Status: 2

Given that this project just switched to the NEO blockchain, there is clearly quite a bit of work to do before go-live. Nevertheless, at least the team has an alpha that is due for release in Q1 2018.

Team: 3

It is clear that the leadership team has good connections and much experience in the creative content industry. However, I am concerned by the size of the team and the lack of blockchain expertise. There is a lot of hiring to be done to get this project off the ground.

Competition: 2

As mentioned, there are already formidable competitors in this space and it will be tough for Narrative to thrive.

Strategy: 5

It is clear from the white paper that there has been a lot of thought put into the business plan and strategy for the project. There is a clear road-map and information about how money will be generated and spent. The existing business partnerships from the Hoop.la platform could be leveraged to help build the Narrative Network.

Technical Indicators

Token Economics: 5

The tokens have a long vesting period, which means that the team is strongly incentivized to make the project a success. The allocation of 20% of tokens to the team is also not unreasonable.

Market Cap: 4

The market cap of $18 million is low enough to make the possibility of price appreciation after the token sale likely.

Hype: 3

Moving to NEO was good for the hype of Narrative. Nevertheless, the hype factor here is lower than many other recent projects I’ve looked at (e.g. Gems and Bee Token).

Investment Horizon

Short Term: Good. NEO ICOs have done exceedingly well lately and there is no reason to think Narrative will any different. In addition, the success of the pre-sale portends a successful crowdsale.

Long Term: Neutral. While I like the team’s experience and the token economics, I am concerned about competition. This is a competitive landscape and the Narrative Network may not win in the end.

Conclusion:

I like the Narrative Network. It has a good team and a strong business plan. While the short-term economics look pretty good, competition could make this project difficult to survive in the long run.

Overall Score: 3.4

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