A new era of finance is here and for those already at this frontier I’m pleased to introduce an evolution in crypto wealth management. BNC Pro consolidates portfolios, assets, data, and insights across a fragmented market and is our Initial Product Offer (IPO) after 6+ years in the industry building infrastructure for this new asset class. Preparing for a new generation of consumers and their needs we are introducing what we believe is a pioneering business model in the technology industry: the tokenized Software Licence. This gives customers customized pay-per-use interaction with the software, rather than the outdated software-as-a-service subscription model. BNC Pro is fully-subscribed in Beta but you can participate in the next evolution of crypto management via the public IEO on the Liquid exchange on November 4th and the Platform Launch in late Nov.
We are taking a product, not a company, public.
First, a splash of background: The founders of BNC have been building products and teams in the Bitcoin and blockchain industry since 2013 — during which time we’ve seen the rise of smart contract platforms, utility tokens, tokenized securitization and various enterprise solution verticals.
In 2013 we started BNC with the formative realization that;
- Digital assets are a new ‘super-class’ of assets,
- Money is now literally data, and
- The industry is going to need to build out a whole lot of infrastructure!
During the ever-shifting sands of the early years, we focused on the macro-level “what is this worth?” and delivered price discovery (Index creation and market data harvesting), early research, classification systems, and standards.
Today, BNC is moving towards a more contextual framework of “What is this asset-class to me?” and delivering tools that assist in turning all that disparate data into actionable insights. We describe this process as “Digital Wealth Management” and we are delivering access to those tools and applications via a single platform we’ve developed called ‘BNC Pro’.
The BNC Pro platform
Customer feedback received during the early years of BNC made it clear to us that the industry was missing a dedicated ‘all-in-one’ workstation. News, a multitude of data sets, research and analytics has for years been fractured across hundreds of different websites. This has been a barrier for finance professionals and a sign that the industry is still nascent.
BNC Pro is a solution to this problem — a modular, terminal-like experience, which leverages our quality data, existing news and research tools in a dedicated environment.
The platform will launch with a portfolio tool that integrates to a list of major exchanges and has a range of reporting and alerts functionality. It will also have an aggregated news app on launch as well as a watch list.
BNC Pro has an aggressive product roadmap that will bring intraday data, charting, and a stock-like screener in the weeks post-launch. The 2020 roadmap is particularly exciting, and functionality being developed and scheduled for release includes order management, compliant chat, integration with DeFi products and some other absolutely groundbreaking tools and applications. The final frontier for this platform is beyond simple contextualization “what is this to me” but being able to “action and manage insights”, directly from the platform.
After years of observing what does and doesn’t work with micro-transactions and tokenizations, we have designed the BNC token as a ‘Digital-Software-License’ which gives the holder the right to access premium products and services on the BNC Pro Platform. In turn, the token itself is backed by an attractive product set (utility), at the greater of our $1 per token honor rate or the market price.
Now while this may at first sound like ‘oh great, another token’, the key difference is in its alignment with BNC’s five key design principles;
1 Startup companies should raise equity (not token) capital first, and build the bulk of their product before they even consider tokenization. Their product release should then follow quickly after tokenization, giving investors near-immediate utility, instead of making them wait for years.
2 Utility tokens with direct (not implied) utility, should focus on consumers, by pegging their tokens to in-demand products/services.
3 UX and UI — the industry still lacks products with quality design. A token should reduce friction and present new opportunities for consumers — not create further barriers to product adoption.
4 Token distribution should match product & service consumption, while marketing should be able to measure and reward brand engagement like never before (task-based rewards). This, in turn, creates positive network effects which ultimately result in 100 percent of the tokens being free-float within five years (thereby effectively taking the product ‘public’).
5 To be truly global and achieve network effect the product has to be exceptional (of course) and preferably digital.
Implied vs direct utility
ETH is gas (implied utility) to use the Ethereum network, and the technology of the network is built upon by third parties to create further utility. Similarly, Stellar and XRP are mainly implied utility as the technology itself promises faster transactions and the benefits of blockchain for remittance and payments, so the narrative is that the token is railed (implied utility) for transactions processing and not a right to redeem a specific product or service.
One of the most colorful pitches we’ve ever received was a token for a children’s birthday package (balloons, clowns, food etc) available in one small American city. While the detail of the project is not important, it was an excellent example of how geographically specific utility doesn’t work for tokenization due to the very obvious barriers to product scalability. The user experience (utility) is not readily transferable and there is tremendous friction for consumer adoption. It is this friction and lack of scalable utility that is a recurring issue with so many crypto projects — evidenced by low universal adoption to date.
In contrast, the BNC Token Software-License, has direct utility, allowing any holder anywhere the ability to exchange said token for products and services at the greater of the market price or the $1 honor rate. Personally, I like to frame the BNC Token IEO as an IPO — an initial product offering — which allows us to discount the token and give early adopters the opportunity to use BNC Pro at a reduced price. Think of it as a kickstarter where you socially support the project but also receive the product at a discounted rate for participating early.
Early users/backers are naturally incentivized to promote the product, laying the groundwork for a positive network effect, and allowing for the melding of the consumers, marketing and public market participants.
On marketing — universal vs task-based airdrops
The concept of universal airdrops where all network addresses receive free tokens relies on the premise that the tokens didn’t cost anything (are not on the balance sheet as an unrealized revenue or liability) so there is no cost to giving them out. The data suggests this exercise is a net positive one. Increasing the token distribution and thus the adoption of the technology (for implied not direct utility tokens).
Stellar is a recent example of multiple airdrops increasing wallet numbers and the length of holdings — and as a by-product, the number of users buying Stellar to become eligible for additional free tokens (appeasing market speculators). A small percentage of users also going on to explore the technology, champion and develop it, as they have ‘skin in the game’.
However, if a project’s KPI’s are not generic adoption of an underlying technology, but instead is the generic adoption of an underlying utility (in BNC Pro’s case direct product consumption), then we believe universal airdrops aren’t the best strategy.
If a token represents direct utility ie: 1 token represents x amount of use of a service (like a software license), then a task-based airdrop should yield much higher net positive results.
The exciting part about utility design in marketing and sales is that this model allows Direct Utility projects like BNC, the ability to not only reach larger networks of potential customers but to fairly ask for something in return for product discounts.
Further on marketing — measuring and rewarding the ‘give-to-get’
Walking into a retail store or supermarket you will often see brand ambassadors behind a product stand, inviting consumers to trial their wares. Like a wine distributor in a liquor store or a promo code for software at a technology conference. This is a very simple trial-before-you buy marketing.
We’ve often wondered about the intangible value or hard to quantify social media reach value and how to best measure the ratio of the give versus the get. Normally, signing up for an email newsletter will net someone a month or so of software trials or bonus features unavailable or premium with the main product.
We believe this give-to-get can be measured better with task-based airdrops, allowing us to reward users who promote our products, attract more users and measure the cost of sale much more effectively.
The BNC Pro platform will be available to everyone under a freemium model, so anybody can create an account and begin using the free tools or redeem their BNC Token software licenses for premium features — all without registering a credit card.
SaaS vs microtransactions
A market data terminal or finance professional SaaS platform will typically cost thousands annually, yet the research from CBinsights.com and other vendors suggests that users consume less than 10% of the features included in the yearly package.
We believe people should pay for only what they consume. So for example, if you use BNC Pro’s Aggregate News App 10 times a month you should be billed for 10 out of 30 days and not locked into long term contracts. This is how we have structured payments on the platform.
Pricing for the initial BNC Pro product suite will be competitively low as we encourage usage and gather feedback on what modules to prioritize as we scale globally over the coming months. We will then be rolling out competitive apps with deep utility and functionality — but all products will be based on either one-time payments or pay-for-consumption payments.
We have spoken to a lot of our enterprise partners and taken on board their feedback. To that end;
- The platform is super easy for single users but for those with teams or larger companies, BNC Pro caters to a hierarchical account structure. So a fund manager could set up an account and invite their analysts, investment managers and even LP’s to their respective portfolios, as an example. This aligns with the expectations of enterprise, where the end-users don’t pay for any costs, and it is the managers who set up accounts and manage budgets. With BNC Pro they can invite and revoke access to anybody they choose — inside or out of their businesses.
- Some organizations don’t want to think about token economics at all (fair enough). We will have an option on sign-up in the coming weeks to choose between BNC Token or USD denominated billing. Those choosing fiat currencies will simply be billed by credit card for their consumption each month and BNC-Pro (the company) will use those proceeds to buy BNC tokens off the public market and place them into our ‘redeemed’ licenses wallet.
The platform is designed to be global. Cryptocurrencies are after all a 24/7/365 market. Crypto never sleeps and neither will the BNC Pro platform. The launch will be in English but over time, either directly or via our channel partners, we will be localizing into various countries and languages. While the core platform is feature-rich and requires a larger screen (or multiple screens), there will be mobile-friendly options to track and check key insights on the go.
Compliance and KYC for users
If you buy a Microsoft Office License or top up credit on your Starbucks card, you are not KYC’d (why would you be!). If you buy software licenses on the BNC Pro platform, it would be a major barrier to consumers to have to KYC them first. After 18 months of working this issue through with one of the big four consultancies, (during which time the regulations rapidly changed all over the world), we are pleased to advise that we have legal opinions from multiple jurisdictions (Singapore, New Zealand, and Malta), stating that the BNC software license is clearly a utility.
We are also not required to KYC anybody for merely using software (as it should be!). We are registered in New Zealand and our regulators have been fantastic to work with — responsive and reasonable.
The BNC Token is a software license while on the platform and becomes a cryptocurrency, that is freely transferable when it is taken off the platform. Therefore, the only time we will be required to KYC users is if they wish to withdraw any BNC Tokens off the platform. We have a full KYC/AML and CFT program and our compliance officer is an ex-PwC partner. We have also preemptively registered as a Financial Services Provider (FSP) with the NZ Financial Markets Authority.
We have done this not only for the off-ramp component but as a precursor to some of the more advanced products (like DeFi and order execution) scoped in our roadmap. There will also be a few blacklisted countries where the platform will not be available at launch.
We successfully opened and instantly filled our Beta testing quota on the 25th of September. The response so far has been fantastic and there’s some great momentum in our team as we work through feature requests with our Beta testers.
In reference to BNC Tokens, our Digital-Software-License, we will be performing an Initial Product Offer on the Liquid Exchange on the 4th of November.
We are proud to have partnered with Liquid.com for this event. After considerable due diligence and discussions with several IEO provider platforms, we were very impressed with Liquid’s professionalism and ethics — and we have prioritized the integration of Liquid trade data into the BNC-Pro.com portfolio and reporting tools — so all Liquid.com customers can enjoy the platform.
The Initial Product offer / IEO will run for 4 days starting the 4th of November unless sold out prior. After the completion of the IEO period, the token will be listed on several other exchanges for market participants.
Finally, we are targeting a late November launch for the platform itself, and users will have the ability to redeem tokens for premium services from the first day of the public launch.
We have been embarking on a journey to legitimize this asset class since 2013. The BNC Pro platform is designed to empower professionals to better engage and collaborate at a time when this whole industry is figuring out how to scale and what this technology is really capable of.
We have been working hard to understand the market and its important trends and we now invite you to sign up to the launch wait list, participate in the Initial Product Offer (aka IEO), and check out the platform for yourself in late November.
~ Fran Strajnar, CEO, Brave New Coin Ltd