2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: CROWDFUNDING AND CRYPT-VESTING
We at Fiscal Frontiers are not investment advisers and our only goal is to report to you on the performance of investments we have made so that you can consider our experience along with all the other information available to make an informed decision on what is best for you. Investing in start-up and early stage businesses is inherently risky and all of a particular investment could be lost. Further, crypto markets are largely unregulated and all of a particular investment could be lost.
In 2018, we Fiscal Frontierspeople dipped our toes into both the crowdfunding and crypto-vesting worlds:
We pledged $1,500 to 5 different businesses on FrontFundr, the Canadian crowdfunding leader; and
We bought $1,000 of cryptocurrencies, namely $500 of Ark and $500 of Nexo.
In the future, each of these will have their own posts, but it’s the last day of January, so we want to squeeze these in here before the calendar turns to February and we start reporting out 2019 results next week!
We joined the FrontFundr platform on September 26, 2018, and proceeded to pledge funds to five different businesses. Three of those funding campaigns have successfully concluded and two of them are still in the fundraising stage.
These companies are all quite interesting:
Squamish Canyon wants to create an outdoor recreation area in BC;
The Very Good Butchers are a meatless butcher shop;
VeloGuide is attempting to be an Uber or AirBNB for bike tours provided by local cyclists;
Two Wolves Premium Canadian Ale is a brewery with designs on expanding from a western Canadian brand to an international brand; and
Weroes is aiming to create a social media site for social causes.
Hopefully now that some funding campaigns have wrapped up and others will be wrapping up soon, we can begin to report on how these investments pay off in the months and years ahead.
Many people have heard of cryptocurrency mining, which requires having quality hardware churn through algorithms to generate new currency. Ark is part of a new movement of coins that reward miners based on the amount of coins they have, which allows them to compute better. As a non-miner, you get to join a team or “stake” your coins with a miner. In the Ark ecosystem, each miner has their own payout scheme.
Since the outset, we have voted our coins with biz_classic, one of the top miners, who has a max payout of 90% of their mined Ark, paid out proportionately to their voters daily, weekly, or monthly.
In total we earned 3.532 Ark from November 25 to December 31, 2018. The graph is a little tricky to interpret, just because of the massive leap in our portfolio value on December 13, but it looked something like this:
Now, cryptocurrency prices were very unstable in 2018, with bitcoin plummeting from an all time high of $13,860 in December 2017 to $3,690 in December 2018, a drop of over 73%. Ark was certainly not immune to price volatility, even in our relatively small sample size.
At one point in the distant past Ark was actually worth about $8 each, so it has fallen to about 5% of that lofty height. That said, our interest in Ark is not in speculating that it will skyrocket. Rather we are just excited to track Ark for a whole year and see what kind of passive income stream can be set up on the network. If it continues as is, then there should be rate of return of between 8-12%, so that would be great, assuming the price does not fall through the floor.
Nexo is an extremely interesting cryptocurrency. It is what is referred to as a security token, in that it is much more akin to a stock or bond than it is to a pure cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, which is only designed to be a unit of exchange. Nexo is a cryptocurrency that is tied to the Nexo lending service, which offers loans for individuals willing to put up their crypto assets as collateral.
In contrast to bitcoin, Nexo pays a dividend, much like a stock does, calculated as 30% of the profits from its lending business. The coin launched in spring 2018 and in the fall it announced its first dividend would be paid on December 15, to people who owned the coin on December 5.
Knowing that we would not believe in this dividend unless we actually had a crypto wallet ourselves that we could see it delivered in, we took the plunge and bought some Nexo on December 1, $300, or roughly 2,051 Nexo at the time. Much to our satisfaction, we received 57.96 Nexo on December 15, as payment of the dividend, meaning Nexo had delivered on the dream of a dividend paying cryptocurrency.
Interestingly, despite proving the validity of its business model, at least in the short term, Nexo’s price actually dropped off a cliff and stayed low through the remainder of December.
We can only guess that there were a lot of people who had only snatched up coins for the sake of getting their dividend. But that isn't our purpose, and we are interested to see if Nexo sticks around and continues to grow its business, and pay more dividends, or if it is a one hit wonder.