My name is Rahul Sood, and I am CEO of Unikrn. My company is one of esports’ hottest brands, and the progenitor of UnikoinGold, the most successful ever token sale for esports and video games. Prior to starting Unikrn, I was the founder of VoodooPC, a boutique PC company which was acquired by Hewlett-Packard. After that accomplishment, I joined Microsoft and created Microsoft Ventures and I have also been involved with gaming and entertainment companies such as Maingear, Razer and Vrvana.

Ethereum is a Hell of a Thing

I’m concerned about the state of ICOs in the modern crypto economy. There’s a lot of trash going around, and — for some buyers — it’s easy to fall into the trap of buying the wrong token for the wrong reasons.

Ethereum is a powerful platform. The fact that we can build our own crypto-product on top of Ethereum and expose it to the world is a powerful option. I’m sure Vitalik never imagined some of the ideas that are coming out of it; however, with great power comes great responsibility.

In just the last few months, the volume of tokens has exploded, and the garbage has exploded along with it. Unfortunately, this means there are more scams and more pressure on Ethereum in general. This is a serious problem for the crypto community. Regulation is a must, and it should start with self-regulation, and this involves everyone in the community from listing sites to developers to potentials purchasers.

However, if the community continues to support trash, like Athene’s stupid no-whitepaper-token — I won’t link to it, but you can find this guy on Youtube — then the volume of regulation will be too high for any government body to manage.

This means blanket bans, or outlawing ICO’s altogether. Nobody wants this, and yet the scammers continue to rush in — it’s time for all of us to put a stop to it.

You need to know better, and so do your friends and family. Here’s what you should look at, and why UnikoinGold has shattered records in its space.

First, who makes this token, and who backs it?

We started Unikrn a few years ago with a $10 million investment from some incredible investors after identifying a significant gap in the market. Think of Unikrn as Las Vegas meeting the world’s largest video game competitions. Ashton Kutcher, Elisabeth Murdoch, Guy O’Seary, Mark Cuban, Shari Redstone and many others believed in our vision.

We are a successful company with extensive use cases for our token, and the public research to back up our need. The investors in our company have a track record of picking winners, and the token sale itself is backed by Mark Cuban, Binary Financial, Blockchain Capital, Coincircle, Draper Dragon, Fenbushi, Pantera Capital and many others.

Our board of advisors includes Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di lorio, and our team has already established and built a majorly successful operation in our space.

If you’re looking at an ICO that can’t put up the names of its creators, the names of its backers, and the reason those names matter, then walk away. Also if you’ve never heard of any of them then this is usually a good enough reason to close the book on them.

Secondly, why does this team even need their own token?

The answer for a disturbing number of teams is simple: to raise money. They want to raise money to build a product so that you can use their token on that product, which is backwards. A good token has a product established that they need a token to facilitate.

There’s an old saying, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” In the crypto community, the saying should be, “Don’t buy your chickens before they hatch.” The blockchain is all about minimizing the need for blind trust, so why would you blindly trust any ICO based on future promises of use cases, brands and community?

We launched the Unikoin around two years ago as a free token that allowed us to expand globally and build community around the world. Unikoin also gave us the opportunity to test and improve our betting products and plan on new gamified experiences. We didn’t realize how popular Unikoin would become, so we decided to turn it into an ERC-20 token based on the Ethereum platform. After turning over more than a quarter-billion tokens in about two years, the original Unikoin will retire and be replaced by UnikoinGold — our crypto-token — and UnikoinSilver — our free token.

We need UnikoinGold to meet our users’ demands of increased uses, to suture our products and brands together, to utilize the open ledger to make risk management easier and less expensive, to avoid insecure banking transactions and currency exchanges and to create faster, better experiences both inside and outside of our betting products.

With fiat, we can’t do those things. We simply need to have a crypto asset to keep up with our product’s growth. If the token you’re looking at can’t share their use case, their needs, their existing products and how a crypto asset will pull that all together, then you should run.

Thirdly, how big is the problem their token will solve

I recently read that the average PGA Tour fan is 69 years old. The average MLB fan is 54 years old. The average esports fan is 31, according to Nielsen. Every day, a PGA and MLB fan dies, while new generations of esports fans are born. This as a market is inexpressibly potent.

The gambling space is in desperate need of disruption, both with regards to esports and traditional casinos. Even though more people are travelling to Las Vegas than ever before, casinos are struggling to grab the attention of today’s young adults, who couldn’t care less about slot machines.

No matter how they re-theme those machines, young people just aren’t interested. Walk through any slot floor and you will see more walkers and wheelchairs than at a Jimmy Buffet concert in a retirement home. For Vegas, this is a problem: slots are a casino’s bread and butter.

Unikrn is working with casinos to setup esports experiences that gets young people on property. We’ll introduce UnikoinSilver play betting, buy-in tournaments and community events. Over time, you’ll see this lead into tournaments where we seed with UnikoinGold and other types of prizes. As we build out those test cases, smart contracts and crowdfunding will make other types of grassroots tournaments way easier to finance, requiring much less trust and manual labor, which could make burgeoning community-powered esports more prosperous than they’ve ever been,

This cannot happen soon enough.

As for esports gambling, there are two sorts: legitimate and illegitimate. The fact is, unregulated skin gambling is gambling, often underage gambling, and it’s a serious threat to safe and responsible betting culture. Kids are being hustled. We’re letting buyers use in-game skins to buy UnikoinGold, which gives an option for fans who are old enough to gamble in a responsible and regulated. This weakens dangerous sites that would allow illegal betting.

UnikoinGold is distributed in over 112 countries so far, mostly small buyers most of whom are users. Imagine if we were to expand product to 112 countries simultaneously while trying to build out unprecedented live-betting and non-betting gaming applications, working with third-party outlets and brands, all without a central currency.

It’d be Bedlam.

The problems that UnikoinGold alleviates are far more complicated than, “We want to raise money.” It allows us to create products that would be difficult to impossible without an open ledger, smart contracts and economic universality. It solves problems with illegitimacy and helps increase adherence to law and regulation. It gives us the tools to better rebuild the old betting culture to invite and include new generations of entertainment seekers.

So ask yourself: how is this token the solution to a problem, what is that problem and what is the scale. A token should be driven by necessity, not hoping to drive it.

Next, how strong is their brand and their community?

Often, ICOs will pop up asking for faith that they will be able to build a brand and assemble a community once they have your money in their pockets, but that creates significant risk: if the team you’re trusting can’t build a brand with the money they raise, then the token you’re buying will have no uses.

This is why I always say that ICOs are not investments. You don’t get a voice in the boardroom, nor do you get dividends on success.

The fact is, you are buying something for the uses it will have. If a company has no brand and no community, then they have nothing to offer you. They can build a brand and a community first, then launch an ICO when they have people who need to use it.

Since launching, Unikrn created — and now operates — beautiful spectator and skill-based betting products. We own our own tournament series; we have team ownership in a couple of the hottest teams in esports; we create our own written and video esports content; and we have a team that works with casinos to help setup land based esports operations in their venues. We even own a significant stake in Maingear PC, easily the world’s best gaming PC manufacturer.

We have been operational with real-money betting in Australia and the UK as we tested and improved the efficacy of our sportsbook. We just announced that we acquired a license in Malta which will open up 80% of Europe for us.

Our community is global, our use-case is strong, our brand is endemic to our field and our company is growing with or without our token. Again, we are launching our token because it will give us solutions to problems.

Lastly, does their whitepaper make any wild claims?

This is pretty self-explanatory, but extraordinary claims is the modus operandi of snake oil salesmen. A whitepaper should clearly explain exactly how the token will sell and it should not promise investment returns, skyrocketing value or any break from reality.

With us, you’ll get a token that is poised to become the decentralized token for esports and gaming. Users will get tons of use in esports, gaming, software, hardware, tournaments, teams, brands, betting and video games writ large. We can promise that because we’ve already established the groundwork.

Whether you’re looking at the token for gaming or the token for underground rap battles, be sure that the promises made match the company, brand, community and established product available.