Sp8de completed its ICO on March 11, 2018, but since then this project has been slow to deliver on its promises, and investors have become discontent. This has also amplified the voices of Sp8de’s detractors, who claim that this project is at best poorly managed, and at worst nothing but a scam.
This article will give a brief overview of what the Sp8de project is all about, its latest updates, as well as looking into its detractors’ claims.
What is the Sp8de Project All About?
Sp8de bills itself as a platform for running distributed casino applications. It is targeting the lucrative online gambling market, which in 2015 was estimated to be worth $38 billion and forecast to increase to $60 billion by 2020. Online casinos offer several advantages to gamblers over physical ones; namely lower costs (on both sides) and increased convenience.
In recent years, ‘Bitcoin casinos’ have also become more popular (although Google Trends notes that it peaked in December 2017, at the height of the Bitcoin craze). However, while these casinos transact in cryptocurrencies, the underlying gaming software has nothing to do with blockchain. It is still a centralized model and thus trusts in the system may be limited; how do you know how much of an edge the house really has?
Hence, several projects, including Sp8de see blockchain technology as the natural evolution of the online casino model. These ‘blockchain casinos’ have three main issues that they are all trying to solve:
- Slow Transaction Speeds – Even if transaction speeds could be reduced to seconds, this would still be detrimental to the overall experience. Most blockchain casinos are aiming for near-zero latency.
- High Transaction Fees – Most blockchain casinos are building their platform using the Ethereum network, which charges gas or fees per transaction. Given that the size of online bets can be very low, these fees may then be a significant percentage of the overall bet. Further, given how block rewards are distributed, gamblers may have to elect to pay higher fees to get faster settlement times. Not a good tradeoff.
- Achieving True Distributed Randomness – Even though the decentralized nature of blockchain makes it more transparent, true distributed randomness is still hard to achieve.
Sp8de’s solution for all three problems is to build its platform on the Cardano blockchain and its Ouroboros consensus algorithm.
Sp8de: Reliant on the Cardano Blockchain and the Ouroboros Protocol
In short, Cardano is a smart contract blockchain, similar to Ethereum or NEO, which uses a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism known as Ouroboros. It’s actually been around since 2015 and has its own native token, the ADA, which has a current market cap of $7.1 billion, making it the seventh most valuable cryptocurrency.
One of Cardano’s main selling points, which Sp8de is also riding on, is that its Ouroboros PoS protocol’s paper has been academically peer-reviewed and has the capability for scalable and decentralized randomness. The randomness is how Ouroboros selects the next stake winners and avoids some of the problems associated with PoS protocols such as the ‘nothing at stake’ problem and centralization toward large token holders.
Since this is an article about Sp8de and not Cardano; we won’t delve much deeper into the latter. But what you should take away is that Sp8de is fully reliant on the development of the Cardano blockchain. Hence, the development of the Sp8de protocol will always be limited by the status of Cardano, which is far from ready.
Sp8de acknowledges in its whitepaper that its development is contingent upon the progress of Cardano. Specifically, it notes that Sp8de’s deployment on the Cardano blockchain is contingent on the completion of its Goguen, or smart contracts phase. According to the Cardano roadmap, this phase is about 50% complete.
Sp8de’s Disappointing ICO
Sp8de’s ICO was a five-phase event; with a pre-sale and four sales windows with decreasing discounts. By the end of the ICO on March 11, a total of 9,222 ETH, worth $5.3 million (a measly amount by ICO standards) had been raised. This was only 19% of the team’s goal of 49,033 ETH. The presale and the first sale generated the vast majority of the proceeds, with the final three sales seeing almost zero interest.
This was not good news for the project, but Sp8de’s actions post-ICO has only worsened the situation.
Why People are Skeptical About Sp8de
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, Sp8de has its fair share of detractors, and their concerns about this project seem valid. Let’s examine each of them in turn.
Uncertainty Surrounding Jackpot Winner Selection Process
The format of the ICO also had multiple ‘Jackpots’ scheduled after each sale phase. Many investors were unhappy with how the winners of the jackpots were chosen, with some noting that a single account won multiple jackpots. The Sp8de team also failed to assuage their concerns by showing in detail how the algorithm selected the winning accounts.
Sp8de’s Lack of a Blog / Apparent Deletion of Articles
Following the ICO, people started noticing that many articles talking about the project or promoting the ICO were being deleted. In particular, Sp8de’s official Medium page has disappeared. This is highly unusual considering that all ICOs have some sort of official blog used to keep people updated, and Medium is the most popular platform used. Sp8de’s Steemit page is still up, however other than details surrounding the ICO and a general overview of the project; there is nothing else there.
This means that there are two possibilities. Either Sp8de did not have a Medium account in the first place and only a sparsely populated Steemit page, or it did have those but then deleted them. Either possibility does not reflect well on Sp8de. The team’s lack of proper communication with its investors and the general public is a major point of contention. Even its official Twitter account has only seen a few tweets over the past month.
Delay in Bounty Distribution
The team has yet to distribute its bounties from its bounty program, which it promised would begin on March 31. They then noted that the March 31 date actually referred to the date that they would start processing the bounties, not distributing them. Sp8de’s official Telegram chat is bombarded with messages from users asking about the bounty distribution date. The admins refuse to give a concrete date besides the default response of ‘Soon.’
Uncertainty Whether Sp8de Can Deliver its MVP on Schedule
Sp8de notes that while it plans to release its MVP sometime in Q2 2018, it will do so on Solidity using the Ethereum Classic blockchain first. It claims that by the end of this phase, it will have ready a version of the Sp8de protocol that can be compiled on the IELE, the Cardano virtual machine. Sp8de claims that this is because of a certain degree of compatibility between the two systems. The idea is that when Cardano’s Goguen phase is complete in the latter part of the year, Sp8de will be able to migrate its code to Cardano quickly.
But because of Sp8de’s delay in delivering its post-ICO bounties and its lack of communication with its investors, skepticism around whether this MVP will ever be released is high.
How Much Value Does Sp8de Add On Top of Cardano?
The MVP in question is Sp8de’s ‘Khronos Protocol,’ which is only mentioned three times in its whitepaper. In fact, the whitepaper spends far more time extolling the benefits of the Cardano blockchain and its Ouroboros protocol. Based on the whitepaper, this Khronos Protocol appears to be nothing more than a random number generator, albeit a ‘fairer’ one.
This raises the question of whether the MVP is even worth developing in the first place, and how much value it adds on top of Cardano. Did it need almost 50k ETH (its ICO target) to develop? Further, Sp8de’s GitHub is quite empty for a project that is promising to deliver its MVP within three months.
The SPX Token Price Has Crashed Since the ICO
At present, the SPX token can be traded on three exchanges: EtherDelta, KKCoin, and Idex. It has yet to be listed on any major exchange, most likely due to insufficient trading volumes, nor has it fulfilled certain criteria to be listed on Coinmarketcap.
At the time of this writing, the SPX token is trading on IDEX for 1 ETH = 869,565 SPX. The ICO prices for the presale and first sale phase was 1 ETH = 98,888 SPX and 1 ETH = 88,888, respectively. This means that SPX prices are now about 90% lower than the ICO price.
Questions Surrounding Its Team’s Credibility and Credentials
Sp8de’s founder and CEO is Alexey Kashirsky, a graduate of Moscow State Mining University. This is a real university, but involving physical mining, not cryptocurrency mining. His LinkedIn profile notes that he graduated in 2007, followed by an unexplained gap. Then in 2014, he lists himself as the ‘Director-General’ of ‘Debut Company.’ His profile seems to have been created only after Sp8de’s creation.
The other co-founder of Sp8de and its CIO is Mikhail Krapivnoi, who lists himself as CEO and founder of ‘Man & Technologies lab.’ No mention of Sp8de whatsoever and the LinkedIn profile lacks even the most basic details.
Sp8de’s third co-founder is Evgeny Borchers, and he’s listed as its ‘Chief Visionary Officer,’ whatever that means. Again, this profile has plenty of gaps in his timeline and appears to be a newly created profile.
Sp8de is an Untested Protocol Built on an Untested Network with Many Valid Concerns
The bottom line is that even without the myriad of concerns listed above, Sp8de is still an untested protocol built on an untested network. It has yet to release anything concrete, and coupled with the concerns above means that people are right to be skeptical about it.
That being said, because the SPX token price has fallen so much since the ICO, there actually might be some profit potential in it. However, on an overall basis, Sp8de’s long-term prospects look shaky at best. If Sp8de is indeed a legitimate project and not a mere profit scheme, its team had better get its act together if they want to salvage this debacle.
What do you think of Sp8de? Is it a legitimate project and if so, what are its prospects? Let us know your views in the comments below.