If Augur had sold its Ethereum reserve on the upside, in the $1,000 to $1,500 region, the $700,000 it obtained two years ago could have been worth $1 billion to $1.5 billion. Even after an 80 percent correction, 1 million ether is worth around $280 million as of September 2018.
According to Wan:
This is very tricky
1. Augur raised over 1M ETH when price was $0.7, converted almost all right away which would worth at least $200M now, missed the upside completely
2. If you build on Ethereum,by default you believe in its value. Selling off seems to conflict with that?️ https://t.co/kbKYwJbnhf
— Dovey Wan ? ? (@DoveyWan) September 3, 2018
Augur Founder Responds, Experts Agree With Krug
Joey Krug, the creator of Augur, responded to Wan’s criticism with the simple argument that Augur was and still is a startup, not a hedge fund.
In 2015, when Augur initiated an ICO, the market was highly unstable and extremely volatile. The price of ether, the native cryptocurrency of Ethereum, surged from $10 to $1,500 throughout 2017; but in the years prior to that, the price trend of ether was truly unpredictable.
As a startup and an open-source project, the immediate action of Augur was and should always be to convert the money raised in an ICO to fund development. Evidently, as seen in the case of Gnosis, another prediction marketplace based on Ethereum, projects could certainly leave a portion of their holdings as a long-term investment.
Investors do not provide millions of dollars worth of ether to projects to benefit the pockets of the founders, but to finance the blockchain networks being developed by the projects so that they can solely focus on the development side of it, not investment.
Krug, who remains the chief information officer of $1 billion cryptocurrency hedge fund Pantera Capital, explained:
You should invest in or start / run a fund or manage your own capital, but crypto projects shouldnt be doing this
— Joey Krug (@joeykrug) September 4, 2018
Linda Xie, co-founder of Scalar Capital and advisor to 0x Project, echoed the sentiment of Krug, stating that the decision of Augur to focus on building with the funds raised in its token sale was appropriate.
You and the Augur team did the right thing and I have been advising projects to do the same. It's easy to view all of this in hindsight as the price of ETH could have easily gone the other way while you were building.
— Linda Xie (@ljxie) September 4, 2018
Crypto Projects are Advised to Utilize Raised Funds for Development
As Xie, who works with many cryptocurrency-related companies and some of the biggest Ethereum projects, emphasized that startups are advised to focus on development rather than operating a hedge fund with raised capital.
At least in the early stage, projects should allocate all of their resources in protocol and platform development, considering that investors in the market have invested in projects to do exactly that.