Populous: Onward!

The Populous story is one that many might imagine as something out of the ordinary. But in the time of crypto, what is truly ‘ordinary’? Many try to find analogies or similar experiences in the traditional world of finance to identify relationships to comfort themselves in regard to these repeating patterns.

Let’s take for example Yahoo! versus Google, a comparison with which most people born before the turn of the millennium are familiar (and something to which Tuur Demeester brought to my attention). Specifically, this contest was a battle over something that everyone with a computer uses extensively: Search.

In 1999, Yahoo was valued at $80 billion vs. Google’s $125 Million. That is less than .2% of their market value in search alone. Statistics to represent percentage of the search in market share are as follows (and note valuation does not correlate to market share):


Yahoo! had figured out a way to woo investors, please the financiers, and simply look like the shiny new toy that everyone wanted.

Google on the other hand, wooed the ‘geeks’.

Venture Giants credits 1999 as Google’s milestone year, in which the following occurred:

“ Mike Moritz of Sequoia and John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins (they are credited with growth of Sun Microsystems, Amazon, Yahoo and Intuit) joined Google’s board of directors along with Ram Shriram, CEO of Junglee. During those days they would hold board meetings using the ping pong ball table as their formal boardroom furniture.”

As you can see, those to whom Google was reaching out and those helping finance it where not the masses nor the financiers on Wall Street, but innovators and technical experts.

Source: https://www.venturegiants.com/news-channel-389-the-angel-investors-behind-google.aspx

Page 4 of Yahoo!’s annual report from the year 2000 highlights the following:

  • Revenues of $1.1 billion
  • $1.7 billion in cash with zero debt. (It ended 2000 on it’s strongest year ever)
  • According to Interbrand from June 2000, Yahoo’s brand is valued at $6.3 billion dollars.

Source: http://www.annualreports.com/HostedData/AnnualReportArchive/y/NASDAQ_YHOO_2000.pdf

Verizon bought Yahoo’s core business last year for $5 billion, while Google’s value approaches $1 trillion dollars. While many factors play into this reversal, one important message to draw is that finance and the really big money eventually follow the best technology and team.

In the age of decentralization, big venture capitalist firms, angel investors, and so forth are not necessarily the ones that reap the rewards for finding and investing in good organizations. Individuals who truly learn, research, apply, and invest in new technologies that truly disrupt industries can reap rewards as the masses migrate toward it.

And decentralization definitely is one of the biggest draws of crypto. So out of the 1500 plus crypto assets out there, how should one even start to invest?

Most initial backing comes in the forms of platforms and protocols, and for good reason. For the most part, that is the stage the Crypto community is currently in. These are the building blocks of the foundation, and it makes sense that the foundation or bedrock is in place before building the roof.


With decentralization though, comes pushback. Those currently in power, in real power, whether through regulation, current frameworks, or politics, will never give it up quietly. Why would they? So they do what they can to hold on to what they have and keep things ‘as-is’. Nothing wrong with that from their perspective as the world is turning safely, perspective is in the eye of the beholder, and all this decentralization is by nature, disruptive.

So those early adopters in the age of crypto are a diverse and eclectic and mostly powerless group. But they also include many brilliant minds, that truly believe in the power of decentralization and blockchain, one such example is Square and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey.


Next, enter Populous

In the crypto age, nothing is assumed proven, and most often, it is the opposite. You are assumed to be dis-proven, until you demonstrate accomplishments. This means the word ‘scam’ is plastered across your brand and name religiously in Telegram channels, Reddit posts, Tweets, Discord groups, and any other potential Medium that is available (you see what I did there).

There are those cryptos such as Prodeum and their ‘ICO’ and on the opposite end, Populous. Populous really can’t be intelligently discussed without reviewing the vision of one man, Steve Nico Williams. So to begin:

First, decide the concept. His: Invoice Financing.

Second, determine the type of blockchain needed. Permissionless (BTC, ETH), Public Permissioned (Choose people to sanction any authorization or transaction), or Private Permissioned (Same as public, but no one can see unless you give them permission).

Third, write a whitepaper which identifies need/problem it’s fixing and potential market value, with enticing figures, not only for the ‘innovator’ crowd of people investing in cryptoassets, but also the technical details of why blockchain (or another similar technology) will be used.

A particular piece I enjoy is on page four of Populous’s whitepaper:


Fourth, build.

What happens in that fourth cycle is brutal. First it takes a (hopefully diverse) team with a shared vision to execute something that has never been done before. This effort requires creative insight dealing with real world problems to help millions of people over time. While this is difficult enough, distractions can be immense. Sometimes people, and occasionally founders, don’t have the cleanest history. People all around the world may dig up details of your past, your family’s past, any lost lover or pet for that matter — that you might have treated poorly. As in the case of Populous’s founder, youthful indiscretion may cause the misuse of skill in order to gain improper advantages. It’s probably a bit like bending the rules, but you find yourself far across the line even when you only intended to dance in the gray (or grey for the Brits). And over ten years ago, this situation occurred.

Growth and maturity has since occurred in the heart and ambition of the Populous founder ‘Nico’, and proceeded following in the likes of Kevin Mitnik and Frank Abagnale Jr. who later went on to help patch the faults or security holes in the industry they exploited. So some in the community can choose to hold onto the past, and judge people by their previous actions or focus on what one can accomplish in the future. Nevertheless, it rings true and good to see those at the helm take their leadership duties seriously and clear the air.

Note: A user created this in the Members section of the Slack group. Published with permission from the community manager.

So back to that ‘building’ stage. As anyone who has been in software knows, it takes time. If the product is not forthcoming exactly to plan, people degrade, question, and try to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) into others. Remember, in crypto you are discredited until proven otherwise. You don’t see knowledgeable people asking about Google’s AI program delays or complaining that Uber/GM/Tesla have failed since self driving cars are not blanketing the roadways. What you do find are those knowing very little about something yelling the loudest about any altered ‘planned trajectory’. OK — who’re we kidding — software is almost always delayed.


Even to this day, Apple, almost universally recognized as a top tech company, still has delays. Most notably their shipment of the iPhone X and HomePod.

So a company with almost a TRILLION dollars, (and only Google or Tesla to argue), tech’s top talent, and resources galore, still delay a product?

There should be no discredit to Populous or any other start-up that has to delay once, twice, or more. Sometime organizations have to rewrite code due to freelancers not doing what they say. How dare those say “When moon?” Regardless, it does look like when something is successfully built and launched, it won’t take long for the masses to join them.

So back to the initial analogy of Google vs. Yahoo with all that they touch and expanded to: Google Earth, Scholar, Maps, News, Gmail, SMS. Ecosystems start with a particular revenue stream and search for other outlets. Airbnb with their Trips feature, or Uber with Uber eats (The Platform Revolution by Parker, Alystyne, and Choudary provides a multitude of examples). What will Populous reach if their skill set matches their initial vision?

So with invoice factoring fees being atrociously high, the average might state between 15–25% (this would include all fees), why wouldn’t the masses use this particular upcoming crypto network?

Jerrod A. Jeffries

Other Food for Thought:
What if Populous is to strike even the lowest market share in relation to Search Engine Market share above? Know it’s not a one to one, but related to the size of the global invoice financing market it’s quite sustainable. Take Euroseek at about 2% of the overall evaluation which would be equivalent to £60 billion or ~$80 billion. As for their current market cap (trading at $28), this sits at approximately $1 billion, so there might be a favorable gain for those who hold the token.
Populous will be the first to enter invoice financing so taking the lowest market share is the most conservative estimate. Additionally, Nico’s vision also includes that of building a full ecosystem which includes a lot more than what is stated above.

Other sources used above:

Me in the digital age: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jerrodjeffries/ or Twitter: @Jejeffries

Populous market cap: https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/populous/

Jack Dorsey: https://www.wsj.com/articles/square-launches-pilot-program-to-allow-bitcoin-purchases-1510764780

Tuur Demeester: Economist and with Bitcoin until he dies. https://earn.com/tuurdemeester/

Fortune: Blue Chip of internet companies http://archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/1999/06/07/261087/index.htm

Yahoo evaluation: http://money.cnn.com/1999/01/28/technology/yahoo_a/

Apple HomePod delay: https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/17/16670268/apple-homepod-delayed-2018

Connect with the Raven team on Telegram