ICO Analysis: Request Network

When it comes to fin-tech, very few sectors have been disrupted more than payments. With mobile internet usage surpassing desktop, businesses are looking to fin-tech companies for the latest solutions to bring mobile-friendly services to their customers.

Request Network (REQ) is an emerging fin-tech operator focused exclusively on the payments market. It markets itself as a decentralized network for payment requests,  allowing individuals and businesses to request funds from just about anywhere. Payment requests are initiated via Request Invoice for which the recipient can securely pay. The Request can be detected by the recipient through their wallet or financial application. Once they approve it, payment is sent in a single click.

REQ is expected to integrate a bevy of payment methods next year. All information collected over REQ is stored in a decentralized authentic ledger.

Backed by Ethereum, REQ consists of fundamental smart contracts, which allow for the creation of different entities and requests for payments. This system is driven by the following core concepts:

  • Immutability: No one cane change the information
  • Openness: Everyone can access information that pertains to them
  • Intelligence: The system knows when payments are made based on the rule of the invoice

In a clearly articulated whitepaper, REQ outlines its vision:

While it is built on the blockchain ledger of Ethereum, Request aims to be independent from other currencies, monetary policies, or technological choices so that we build the most robust system possible. We believe this is the key to evolve through time with a growing community and develop an ecosystem around our framework where more DAPP (Decentralized applications) are created.

REQ aims to streamline the payment process by making transactions cheaper, easier and more secure, thus enabling a wide range of automation possibilities. The company says it’s the general ledger that truly sets it apart from other payment systems. That’s because the general ledger is both universal (designed to support all global transactions regardless of jurisdiction) and smart (the platform operates at the origin of the exchanges).

Request Network Token

REQ is launching an ERC20 token that will enable users to participate in the network, create advanced Requests and benefit from various rewards. The network fee is paid in REQ tokens, which will be burned – a process that could potentially increase demand on the remaining tokens.

In addition Request contracts, REQ tokens are needed for advanced features like Escrow, Tax and Down Payment.

Platform costs are expected to run from 0.05% to 0.5% of the transaction, with prices paid decreasing when the volume of the network increases.

Regarding independence of other currencies, the company states the following:

Request is agnostic in terms of currency. We are creating a system that should not be dependent on the monetary policy of another currency. Request should be as independent as possible from ETH inflation or deflation… This independence will eventually allow Request to hard fork to a new system with a new technology by keeping the same token holders ecosystem.

The company roadmap is till under construction, but could take the following shape. As you’ll soon find out, this is a highly ambitious project. While this certainly looks good on paper, implementation won’t be easy.

Source: Request Network Whitepaper.

The Team

It may be said that the idea behind Request Network has been brewing since 2014.  Over that period, its core team of blockchain enthusiasts, financial managers and engineers have slowly brought REQ to the crowdfunding stage after working on several other projects.

There are six core team members currently working on REQ, including CTO Etienne Tatur and Christophe Lassuyt, who serves as CFO. The team appears to be young and enthusiastic, but apparently has little prior experience in the blockchain arena. However, since 2014, the team has developed destinesia.io, theblockchainnetwork.com and moneytis.com. The latter appears to be the most similar project to Request Network.

Verdict

One of the strongest value propositions inherent to REQ is the vast use cases that apply. The platform essentially automates “real-time global accounting,” which has various benefits ranging from audit to international payments. Dare we say, REQ has the infrastructure to replace payment systems such as PayPal. While highly unlikely, the technology uses the power of the blockchain to further eliminate intermediaries.

Some of the most noteworthy use cases outlined by the company include:

  • B2B invoicing
  • Online payments
  • Accounting
  • Audit
  • Expenses
  • Business and trade laws
  • Factoring and escrow
  • Increased transparency

As a business model, REQ will collect fees on top of the normal network costs associated with Ethereum. Utilizing the blockchain will enable REQ to maintain a competitive cost structure.

Risks

  • Though relatively novel in execution, the REQ payment transfer model has a major competitor in OmiseGo. The OmiseGo e-wallet will be released in 2017 Q4. Several other blockchain projects are also planning to enter this space. -2
  • Global deployment could face hurdles stemming from regulation and tax laws. As it currently reads, Requests are to be governed by trade laws, which includes tax. -1
  • Though highly talented, the team appears to be less experienced in the blockchain domain relative to others. -0.5

Growth Potential

  • When it comes to the multi-trillion-dollar payments business, the opportunities are endless. +2
  • Strong use cases that will appeal to various market segments. +3
  • A highly active community of investors and onlookers who appear eager to support the raise. +2
  • Request Network is the first ICO project via YCombinator, which has funded over 1,400 startups with a combined valuation of over $80 billion. +2.5

Disposition

For investors anticipating the next major fin-tech breakthrough, the REQ token provides a compelling business case. Overall, we give the ICO a score of 6 out of 10. Despite growing competition in the field and a lack of technical specifications in the whitepaper, REQ is moving along swiftly. It has generated significant buzz from the ICO community, which can only mean good things post-launch.

Backed by YCombinator, REQ certainly has the brand appeal needed to really succeed as an early-stage ICO. The use cases presented in the whitepaper are simply too compelling to ignore.

Our long-term outlook of the company is far less certain, as it is unclear how the market will evolve and how competitors will make life difficult for REQ.  As a concept-stage whitepaper, it certainly has legs.

Investment Details

To participate in the REQ token sale, click here.

  • Project Type: Token Sale
  • Platform: Ethereum (ETH)
  • Total Supply: 200,000 ETH (100,000 to be raised via ICO)
  • Conversation Rate: 1 ETH = 5,000 REQ
  • Maximum Contributors: 15,000 (KYC process required)

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