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What is BlockCat?
- BlockCat White Paper
- Country of origin: Canada
- Ticker: CAT
- ICO Dates: 15 July-18 August 2017 (Token Event Finished)
- Ethereum Funds Raised: 23,799.61 ETH
- Industry: Blockchain Infrastructure/Technology
- Funds accepted: Ethereum
- My Rating: 2/5
BlockCat is a recent ICO from the largest sector of new blockchain projects- technology and infrastructure. BlockCat promises to harness the so-called “smart contracts” available through the Ethereum blockchain and make them accessible for users without developer experience.
The project's white paper suggests that smart contracts may be deployed for automatic verification and transactions without third-party oversight. BlockCat sees opportunity in cases such as damage deposits, online shopping, delayed payments, joint purchases, and tamper-proof ballots.
BlockCAT stands for Blockchain Complex Automated Transactions. The main service this startup will offer is a visual website with the basic building blocks of a smart contract presented with visual tools. Currently, building a smart contract relies on developers with experience in Solidity, the native programming language of the Ethereum blockchain. BlockCat aims to democratize the process.
BlockCat Social Media
The BlockCat ICO was among the more visible offers this summer. The sale price during the 4 weeks of the campaign exchanged one Ethereum for 350-300 CAT tokens, with discounts given to early arrivals.
The project has high ambitions- it aims to be the go-to platform for user-generated smart contracts. The tools promise to deliver better value to businesses, who would not need to hire programmers to run a smart contract.
BlockCat has based its project on the Ethereum network, believing it would also become the major hub for decentralized apps and thus set the industry standard. Whether this would happen is too early to say. But the BlockCat company believes that the Ethereum blockchain has enough support from larger companies and the network would evolve and dominate, ensuring the future of BlockCat.
And yet BlockCat is cautious in its paper, stating that smart contract technologies are still young and flexible, and using another platform in the future is not out of the question.
The BlockCat Team
BlockCat is ambitious- but its team seems small. And very often, the strength of a team is crucial to the future of the project- lack of developers, a protracted alpha stage, lack of a visible product- all these can hurt the reputation of BlockCat. Currently, it seems like BlockCat relies on the minds of the above three programmers.
One of the best ways to value an ICO is to look at the Github activity. And while BlockCat is active on social media, in September and October the repository has been absolutely silent, with no new commits. Certainly, other blockchain startups also struggle with a small team but show regular activity on GitHub. Even large projects such as Litecoin work with a handful of developers, yet manage to improve the product and come up with solutions.
BlockCat has been out of the ICO phase for a while. The usual time frame for a beta-stage, or at least an alpha product, is six months to a year. This summer's ICOs have started releasing small, but important milestones- better wallets, sometimes a working product. So while BlockCat still has time to succeed, the clock is ticking and the team will need to dig their heels soon.
About BlockCat Token
The CAT token is a standard ERC-20 token based on the Ethereum network. This means that it has all the advantages and disadvantages of the network. The good thing is that even beginner users can readily hold it in MyEtherWallet.
The bad news is that due to heightened network activity, the wallet will not display the token. To send tokens, every time the user would need to create a custom token with the address from Etherscan and information on decimals. This is a hassle, as the wallet may timeout during the operation and users need to work fast.
Investing in BlockCat: The Pros
The project is still young and the team seems to understand well the idea of smart contracts. The project is active on social media and may manage to stand out among other new tokens.
There is a use for the CAT token, once smart contracts start getting online. The token may or may not be key to using those contracts. But there are only around 7 million tokens in circulation, a very small, so CAT may become valuable in the future.
The time frame for BlockCat is not unrealistic, as their blog states:
- Core Platform: Q1 2018
- Marketplace: Q1 2019
- Custom Designer: Q4 2019
Also, investing in BlockCat means that you are also betting on the price of Ethereum. A robust Ethereum price and growth may boost the project and speed it up. Currently, most of the Ethereum is in storage, and you can observe the balance and spending on this Etherscan wallet address.
The Risk of BlockCat
The BlockCat team has stated that the CAT token is not meant to be a speculative asset. But currently, it is just that. Soon after the ICO ended, the token went on sale on EtherDelta, the decentralized Ethereum-based exchange. From then on, the price discovery phase saw CAT peak at around $4, then slide back to $0.60.
Around the middle of October, the token saw a powerful pump lift the price up 30% in 24 hours, and BlockCat was back above $1. But how long this buying interest would last is anyone's guess. So while owners wait for the team to deliver a product, the token price is anyone's guess. Trading volumes are very small and even a relatively small Ethereum owner may manipulate the market.
Also, as we said, the BlockCat team seems understaffed and there are risks it may not deliver a product in a reasonable time frame. Even a few months are crucial in the world of cryptocurrencies, and BlockCat is racing against time.
The idea of BlockCat is also not entirely original. There are currently operational smart contract generators available through a browser, such as EtherScripter. However, the entire idea of smart contracts seems fashionable, but user application is still under question.
The Ethereum network currently has very few smart contracts, usually to automate simple payments. A smart contract, it is said, is only as smart as the person creating it. The technology is still new and in the past, other projects have reported glitches and large funds lost when users sent their tokens or Ethereum to the wrong address. BlockCat will have a lot of technical issues to solve before its smart contracts prove themselves usable and immune to losses.
Final Thoughts on BlockCat
BlockCat was comparatively attractive at the time of the ICO. Currently, its price is on par with the ICO sale. Early users who would be comfortable with EtherDelta could have seen their investment triple, had they reacted fast enough to sell in the early days.
The BlockCat team states it is in talks with exchanges to list the token. But so far, there is no news of an exchange that would improve the liquidity of the project. Some of the high-profile ICOs were immediately picked up by exchanges, and some even went so far as to be picked by Asian exchanges, tapping into a market hungry for new projects.
Unfortunately, this Canadian project did not manage to get into a tier A position. But it is worth presenting, for its decision to tackle the still untapped potential of complex smart contracts.
The positive thing is that Canada is one of the friendliest countries for cryptocurrencies, and there may be access to programming talent and advisors. Eric Huang is still at the University of British Columbia, and the team has access to academic advisors and mentors. BlockCat may only benefit from its proximity to the academic community. In the end, even if the product is ahead in the future, there is more chance that it will be well thought out.
Building the infrastructure of the blockchain is a challenge, and hinges on the overall quality of the Ethereum network. Currently, the system is far from perfect- network congestions happen. In 18 months, mining Ethereum may become obsolete and there is no knowing how this would affect smart contracts and tokens in terms of technology.
So for BlockCat, it is best not to overinvest, as you would be buying a cat in a bag. If you want to take the risk, you may bet that this small team will have a breakthrough idea that catches fire. But if not, it is better to look for startups where the product is in a more advanced stage.
The team has an inside joke, that one day it aims to get ahead of Dogecoin in terms of market capitalization. But CAT has a long way to go, as DOGE is worth in total more than $170 million, and the total market cap for CAT is around $7 million.