Is BLOCKTV’s upcoming IEO a cash grab or the future of crypto media?
At the end of October 2019, the blockchain-focused media company BLOCKTV announced the Nov. 21, 2019, launch of its native cryptocurrency on Bittrex Global. The BLTV token will reportedly be used by creators, advertisers, and creators to improve engagement on the platform. Since the announcement, some commentators have, however, picked apart the real utility of a media token with others calling it nothing more than a “cash grab.”
Will people stop coming on @BLOCKTVnews now that they have their own cashgrab token? ??♂️
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) November 3, 2019
BLOCKTV’s Token Utility
Israeli startup BLOCKTV first launched in the early months of 2019 and looked to bring high-quality video content to the world of blockchain technology.
Since then, they’ve amassed over 1,200 hours of footage and a following of 11 million viewers. This viewership reportedly touches 25 million if one includes the handful of partnerships between various media outlets, of which CryptoSlate is one since its journalists have appeared on the channel as guests numerous times.
Launching a cryptocurrency would thus capitalize on such a fast-growing audience.
The company explained that this audience would not need to compete with any private or pre-sales either. Instead, BLTV will be publicly listed on Bittrex Global on Nov. 21, 2019, at $0.01 per token.
Although there are three billion total tokens, only 20 percent of this supply will go on sale later this month. BLOCKTV’s white paper indicates that 47 percent will be kept in reserve, 14 percent will go to “strategic partners and marketing,” another 17 percent to a 30-person team, and the final two percent will be given to advisors.
These details reveal a company valuation of $30,000,000, a figure which some in the cryptocurrency space have already criticized.
Can anyone tell me what this token is actually going to do in one sentence pitch?
They are evaluating themselves at $30,000,000, I beg to differ that it will output as that.
— Samuel JJ Gosling (@xGozzy) November 3, 2019
The funds earned will then be kept in lockup for one year, followed by a “vesting period” for another year after that. During the vesting period, tokens will be released daily and spent on:
- Content creation — 40 percent
- Developing BLOCKTV’s “Eye Prove Technology” and “Engagement Center” — 20 percent
- Sales and marketing — 20 percent
- General administration — 20 percent
Although the launch looks like a straightforward fundraiser, the tokens will allegedly have utility within the BLOCKTV ecosystem.
The primary use of the Ethereum-based cryptocurrency is to resolve some of the marketing issues facing the media space in general. At current, marketers have a difficult time measuring the efficacy of their campaigns. This is because there is no precise indicator (specifically in broadcast media) that a viewer or listener has indeed consumed the advertisement.
Much like Brave’s Basic Attention Token (BAT), the BLTV token looks to resolve this problem by creating a novel engagement opportunity between consumers and marketers. When an advertisement appears on the BLOCKTV network, users will be able to scan a QR code at the bottom of the screen to prove that they’ve seen it. This process, dubbed Eye Prove Technology, will earn users BLTV tokens.
Apart from this, the token will also grant holders access to premium content, conferences, and the ability to decide which content the publication should cover via their Engagement Center.
Free Money or the Future of Media?
BLOCKTV’s announcement was swiftly condemned by pundits who claimed the token’s only utility is that of generating capital for the publication. Much of the disapproval revolves around the proposed use cases.
There have already been several attempts by the media industry to leverage cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Civil, a blockchain-based journalism platform, sought to use immutable, decentralized ledgers to combat fake news and inauthenticity.
Others, like Brave, are taking on the advertising model on which Internet content depends. Steemit, a Reddit-like forum that replaces upvotes with tokens, has also been exploring innovative ways to integrate its cryptocurrency, STEEM.
Unfortunately, each of these projects has run into its respective issues. For its part, Civil failed to reach its $8 million soft cap goal despite partnering with The Associated Press and Forbes. Brave has proved more successful with 8 million monthly users, but incumbent legacy browsers like Chrome have given up little ground. Finally, Steemit, for all its ingenuity, has shown itself hugely vulnerable to the dark sale of up and down votes throughout the platform.
At first glance, BLOCKTV’s token does not appear to innovate further than the above products. And with the ICO boom-and-bust still a fresh memory, the technology has converted many utopians to frugal pessimists. It is for these two reasons that the upcoming BLTV token has impressed so few.