I’ve sat on the sidelines rooting for Min, Scott, Ricky & team since 2017 and now feel the need to add value to the ICON project, outside of tweets. In this Medium article, I will share my thoughts around $ICX, consolidate web sources as reference points, and outline why I believe this project will be in the top 10 spot in the near future.
- ICON Blockchain Data
- Why Top 10
- Price Target (Not Financial Advice)
To start it off, the goal of this medium article is to give the community an overview of ICON ($ICX). Whether you’re a long term crypto HODLer or noob to the space, I want to share some key points about this project and why I think it has top 10 potential. Of course, please do your own research.
What is ICON ($ICX) — “ICON is a Blockchain Protocol from Decentralized Applications and Interoperability”. In my opinion, Interoperability is a key feature for blockchain technology as it allows independent chains to communicate with one another and a main reason why I believe $ICX will be a top 10 project. In Layman’s terms, this is like the internet to computers but for blockchain. Interoperability is something that is definitely needed in the space and will push blockchain technology to the next level.
There’s a lot to cover, so I will try keeping it short.
First off, when I research any project whether blockchain, traditional stocks, or anything I dont have total control over, I look at the leadership team. I want to be sure the team running the company/project is well qualified, trustworthy, and has potential to be leaders in their space/sector. ICON definitely meets these criteria's as you can see all three have 1 thing in common, they came from the investment bank, Deutsche Bank; so they definitely know about the finance space.
- Min Kim — Council Member, Founder of ICON Project. Per The Foundation website, “Min brings more than 12 years of experience as corporate director, entrepreneur, investment banker/M&A consultant, VC investor, and mentor to up-and-coming entrepeneurs. Min began his career as Investment Banking Analyst (Tech) at Deutsche Bank, later serving as COO of Tapas Media, the American digital content sales platform. Min has a degree in Business Adminsitration from UC Berkeley.” Along with the above, Min also served as the Chief Strategy Officer for a Korean based company DAYLI Financial Group and currently holds a position as the CFO for San Francisco Seoul Sister City Committee. (Follow Min on Twitter)
- Scott Smiley — Strategy for ICON Foundation, Co-Founder of ICX Station, a company which enables a future of digital nations by developing use cases, educating developers, and providing market analysis. Per the ICX STATION website, “Scott earned his Master of Science in Finance (MSF) from Vanderbilt University in 2016, followed by two years of Investment Banking experience at Deutsche Bank with a focus on Asset Backed Securities. During his time at Deutsche Bank he dedicated his nights and weekends to self-education on the nascent blockchain and cryptocurrency space, eventually leading to his current role at ICX Station.” Scott is also the Co-Founder of Balanced.Network, a decentralized finance protocol built on the ICON Public Blockchain enabling trustless borrowing of synthetic assets pegged to the value of the real world asset. (Follow Scott on Twitter)
- Ricky Dodds — Head of Institutional Markets and Strategy and Communications Lead for ICON Foundation, Head of Research for ICX Station. Per the ICX STATION website, “Ricky brings more than 7 years of experience as an investment banker and equity research analyst at Deutsche Bank covering financial institutions. At Deutsche Bank, Ricky co-authored one of the first institutional research reports on cryptocurrencies (Cutting through the noise of cryptocurrencies) for corporate clients. Prior to that, Ricky worked in corporate development at a de-novo bank that later IPO’d and as an analyst at a later stage growth equity venture capital firm.” Ricky has a business degree from Columbia University with multiple FINRA licenses. (Follow Ricky on Twitter)
ICON Blockchain Data:
Here are a few key metrics I’d like to note for $ICX that we will refer to later in the article:
- Market Cap — $863,211,666 (#67 on Coin Market Cap)
- Daily Transactions — ~75K
- Staking Rate — ~12.11%
- Total Staked — 38.41%
- Active Wallets — 521,139
Why $ICX is a Top 10 project:
Ok — Now for the reason you are likely reading this article.
Current projects in the top 10 include — $BTC, $ETH, $USDT, $XRP, $ADA, $DOT, $BNB, $LTC, $LINK, $BCH. Looking at this list, $ICX is more comparable to two specific projects, $DOT and $LINK. These two projects are considered interoperability projects, and $LINK is also in the DEFI space, which aligns with the functions of $ICX. This will help gauge how the market values these features by using these two projects as a benchmark.
$ICX — 3 Competitive Advantages
- South Korea backed
A high level overview to get a basic understanding of these projects, here are a few bullet points to compare against $ICX (If you don’t already know about these amazing projects):
$DOT (Website)— Built on their Own Blockchain
- “Polkadot development is on track to deliver the most robust platform for security, scalability and innovation.”
- Goal — Build a Web where our identity and our data is our own — safely secured from any central authority.
- Leadership — Robert Habermeier, Dr. Gavin Wood (Yes, the Co-Founder and CTO of Ethereum), and Peter Czaban.
- Metrics — Market Cap $25,087,666,429 (#6 on Coin Market Cap), Daily Transactions ~10K , Staking Rate 13.33%, Total Staked 60.67%, Active Wallets 137,650.
$LINK (Website)—Built on Ethereum Blockchain
- “Chainlink’s decentralized oracle network provides reliable, tamper-proof inputs and outputs for complex smart contracts on any blockchain.”
- Goal — The most trusted oracle network in DeFi, A leading source of on-chain randomness, Connect your smart contract to all real-world data and events, Easy blockchain adoption for enterprises.
- Leadership — Sergey Nazarov, Steve Ellis.
- Metrics — Market Cap $13,556,075,458 (#9 on Coin Market Cap), Daily Transactions ~20K, Staking Rate NA, Total Staked NA, Active Wallets 422,960.
I’ve outlined a brief overview of these projects in the top 10 as this is the target spot for $ICX, and the point of the article. Yes, there are other features to both $DOT and $LINK, and same for $ICX, but to make an attempt on measuring the value of interoperability we will focus on these data points.
Comparing similar top 10 projects versus $ICX:
- $DOT Market cap~29X and $LINK ~16X above $ICX
- $ICX Daily Transactions is 7.5X higher than $DOT and 3.75X higher than $LINK.
- $DOT Staking Rewards are about 1.2% higher than $ICX
- $ICX Active Wallets~3.75X more than $DOT and~1.23X more than LINK
Both $DOT and $LINK are very strong projects so we want to use them as a benchmark. These data points show that there is higher use case for $ICX when looking at daily transactions and a much larger community (wallet count). In my opinion, this outlines why $ICX is undervalued and has a clear shot to join $DOT and $LINK in the top 10.
Interoperability — The interoperability blockchain sector has grown 37% over the last 7 days for a total sector market cap of $50.57B with $37.47B or almost 75% of the sector cap weighted in these two projects, $DOT and $LINK. $ICX accounts for about 1.7% of this sector cap. The interoperability sector currently has a 3.44% dominance.
Referring back to the internet/computer note in the introduction section comparing interoperability to internet, let's look at some internet metrics. The internet became publicly available in 1991. Between the years of 1990 and 1997, the percentage of households owning a computer increased from 15% to 35% which would amount to about 2.86%/year. If interoperability and the internet is a fair comparison (if you don't believe so, you can disregard this stat), this would put the sector at around 23.44% over the course of 7 years ($ICX plans to release this feature in 2021). Measuring sector cap, that would put this feature at 344.58B or $ICX at a $5.86B MC at the 1.70% ratio, considering no other reasons for price increase.
My goal in this paragraph is just to isolate the value of interoperability under the assumption it’s a revolutionary technology like the internet. ICON 2.0 is expected to release by Q2 2021 with the following features:
- Interoperability Between Blockchains, Including Ability to Earn ETH as Fees
- Supports and Improves Current Python Programming
- Native Support for Java Programming
- Performance Enhancements
- Vote Spreading
- Multi-Channel Technology
- Fully open-source development process
Find out more details on on ICON 2.0 at GlobeNewswire — ICON FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES ICON 2.0
South Korea — ICONLOOP the private chain to $ICX is backed by the South Korean government. What does this mean? There has been recent articles that “South Korea government plans to invest over $48.20B in blockchain and other industry 4.0 technologies by 2025. The nations goal is to promote the digitization of all industries in the comping post-pandemic era.” (Reference CoinTelegraph — South Korea Might Soon be Spending Billions on Blockchain Development). There are plenty of articles so feel free to do a google search to read more about ICON network projects like MYID, VisitMe, PayCoin, BROOF, and Jeju Island.
And if that isn’t enough, here’s one more clip from Investopedia about South Korea.
“South Korea has been at the forefront of cryptocurrency markets over the past few years, and the nation has widely adopted crypto technology. According to a Korean study cited in Quartz, in 2017, over a third of South Korea’s workers were investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
In 2018, a new government initiative introduced the country’s own cryptocurrency, the S-coin, and the legislation passed in March 2020 was an attempt to dampen the enthusiasm in the markets, clamp down on the spread of blockchain, and control the volatility in the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.” — Investopedia
S-coin is being built on the ICON private chain, ICONLOOP.
To show the strength of South Korea projects, another South Korean based coin is Terra $LUNA which has been an absolute monster on the charts up 1,995.87% in the last year.
DEFI (Decentralized Finance)— In 2017, the money seemed to float towards privacy coins like $XVG and $XMR, while in 2021, the money is moving into DEFI projects like $UNI, $AAVE (Previously $LEND), and $SUSHI. $LINK is also a leader in the DEFI space which makes it such a good comparison to $ICX. The DEFI sector market cap is currently at $65.44B with a 22.30% growth over the last 7 days. DEFI has a market dominance of 4.45%.
$ICX is soon to release their DEFI protocol through projects like BalancedDAO which is expect to launch March 31st 2021. Balanced is the first DEFI platform on the ICON Network which integrates $BAND oracles to provide secure and scalable price feeds for collateral assets and synthetic assets such as stocks, ETFs, gold, and more! Full article — Blockfolio
Balanced gives ICX a new purpose: collateral for tokens pegged to real-world assets like the USD. It provides a reliable form of payment for the ICON Network, and reduces the circulating supply of ICX. Contribute, and you’ll earn Balance Tokens in addition to voting rewards.
Thank you Scott Smiley & TEAM!!
Another project ICON ($ICX) will be launching is OMM Finance, A money market where anyone can lend and borrow assets, earn interest, and own a share of the protocol. Omm’s mission is to lower the friction between traditional banking services and decentralized financial infrastructure, while offering cryptocurrency holders the opportunity to borrow fiat-backed assets against their crypto assets.
Joining the DEFI space is a big value add for the ICON project as this seems to be the main focal point of the 2021 bull run. I don’t have a real world comparison like I did for interoperability/internet but we can review data that outlines the current interest in DEFI versus Privacy, which was hot in 2017.
- $LINK — ATH 02/14/2021 (Announced 09/01/2014)
- $UNI — ATH 02/12/2021 (No data)
- $AAVE — ATH 02/10/2021 (Announced 08/15/2017)
- $XMR — ATH 01/07/2018 (Announced 04/25/2014)
- $ZEC — ATH 10/29/2016 (No data)
- $XVG — ATH 12/23/2017 (Announced 02/15/2016)
Not only is it the hot new feature, but it shows that ICON can make real time adjustments to stay relevant. As of late, newer coins post 2017 seem to be taking the spotlight, but the OG coins that were able to survive the bear market (as i like to call them — coins that have already been through a full ALTSZN), seem to now be rising from the ashes — $ADA, $NEO, $NANO, $LTC for example.
In summary, why do i think $ICX will be a top 10 crypto currency:
- ICON 2.0 is set to release soon and this will be one of the first projects with a fully functional interoperability feature. Imagine a world where everyone speaks the same language, that is what this feature will do within blockchain; allow for all chains to communicate with each other — $ETH x $ICX for example. This will provide an instant solution to the very high Ethereum gas prices due to network congestion. $ETH 1.0 currently runs about 30 transactions per second (TPS) versus $ICX 1.0 can run over 9,000 TPS. ICON 2.0 will be much faster. Yes, it’s exciting!
- ICON is one of few projects that are actually government backed by South Korea. South Korea is not only a leader in technologies like blockchain, but they won’t have to worry about a $XRP situation. We’ve already seen announcements around the government utilizing S-Coin on the $ICX private chain, ICONLOOP, in addition to the billions South Korea plans to pour into this technology over the coming years.
- ICON is entering the DEFI space which seems to be the new craze right now. This shows they can adapt and as you know, you need to have the ability to adapt to the changing enviornment or die.
Price Target (Not Financial Advice):
Crypto/Blockchain does whatever it wants so this is literally shooting in the dark so take it for what it’s worth. Measuring the following:
- Interoperability share rising from 3.44% to 23.44%
- Blockchain market cap growth from ~$750B in 2018 to ~$1.5T in 2021 or $250B/year
- DEFI hot new craze/$ICX’s ability to adapt
- South Korea involvement
Here’s how I think about it.
In 2017, ICON was an ERC-20 token ($ETH based project) with a white paper and big name ICO investors like Pantera Capital that reached a price of $12.64. This landed the project on those two items into the top 20s.
A lot has changed over the last 3 years, from developing it’s own blockchain, rolling out it’s dPOS system with staking rewards, and 140 P-REPS, to soon releasing DeFi, interoperability, and more (Speculations — @coinbase listing given the Rosetta code has already been written, Binance Node P-REP, Airdrops, marketing to developers).
As seen in 2017, BTC will be the first to move, followed by large cap alts like $ETH, and lastly the great ATLSZN comes.
Measuring 2017 moves to 2021 -
- $BTC 2017 ATH was $19,665 and currently trading at $48,665, a 247% increase
- $ETH 2017 ATH was $1,328 and currently trading at $1,806, a 36% increase
- $DOGE 2017 ATH was $0.017 and currently trade at $0.06, a 353% increase
The point of this article was to show why $ICX is a top 10 project which at today’s valuation would put the coin at $21.92 if in the top 10. If this is indeed true, and alts move at a similar pace to $DOGE, that would put $ICX around a $75 valuation. Again, who knows.
Hopefully this article helps bring awareness to the $ICX project.
If you want to stay up to date with $ICX and other blockchain projects, please follow me on Twitter.
To learn more about ICON, please refer to the following links:
- ICON FOUNDATION
- ICON REPUBLIC
- The Sleeping Giant Cryptocurrency That Nobody Is Talking About By Mineable
Market Data found on — Crypto Slate
LINK Website — LINK
DOT Website — DOT
ICX Website — ICX
NO INVESTMENT ADVICE — The Content is for informational purposes only, you should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.
We hold a position in $ICX