At BlockShow Europe 2018 in Berlin we met the Alethena team (Alexander Thoma, co-founder & CFO, and Benjamin Rickenbacher, Chief Scientific Officer) who eagerly talked about their project.
The idea to create a rating agency came to Alethena founders back in 2016 when they started to invest in ICOs. Since that time they have noticed that not all ICOs are as transparent as investors would like them to be, and many investors suffer due to lack of proper due diligence.
Alethena is a Swiss-based startup, which strives to become an information and research gateway for cryptocurrency investors. Once logged in, customers will be able to read short reports on various blockchain platforms. To get access to thorough and in-depth analysis users will need to pay a fee.
Alethena is trying to differentiate itself from already existing ICO rating agencies. The team is going to create an agency that implements rigorous procedures during all stages of analytical process. They are determined to become the S&P of the crypto world.
Benefits for investors
Alethena is getting accreditation from Switzerland, US and German regulating bodies. Such credible rating agency will provide benefits not only to individual but also to institutional investors who want to enter the crypto-assets market. Institutional investors have to adhere to internal compliance, which in many cases states that it’s only possible to invest in assets reviewed and rated by an independent analytics agency.
Research process and rating methodology
There are thousands of blockchain startups but not all of them will be rated. Alethena will require a flat fee from the company that will need to get a rating. The initial rating will be assigned during the pre-ICO stage. Subsequently Alethena will continue to monitor the company like rating agencies do in the traditional finance sector.
Alethena team has developed an in-house due diligence methodology that entails 4 dimensions (technical, business, governance, legal), broken down into 17 clusters and 62 factors. The team has already released an MVP (minimum viable product), and issued the first rating couple of weeks ago for SwissRealCoin, a platform that aims to tokenize commercial real estate.
Depending on the success of the ICO, Alethena is going to hire up to 5 more analysts, who will provide additional support in doing the research.
Alethena team will be in close communication with each evaluated project. It’s not possible to obtain all the information about blockchain startups through the web resources. Hence Alethena analysts will have to dig deeper by establishing conference calls with technical and business developers. Under NDA they will request information that startups may not disclose publicly, like legal documents, technical documentation, expected cashflow and other data.
The income will be partly generated from startups pursuing a rating, as well as from customers looking for a detailed research access.
The internal ATH token itself is not a utility but an asset token, which represents a share in Alethena, providing voting and dividend rights as well. Benjamin said that it is the first token in Switzerland that is fully compliant with local regulation as asset token.
Alethena future and decentralisation
“During the first stage Alethena will be a centralized rating agency,” said Benjamin “In the long-term we want to integrate the community into the process of conducting the research. But firstly the team needs to build a solid model of how to evaluate startups and only then slowly decentralize it.”
Benjamin and Alexander believe that it’s possible to get more insightful information from a crowd than from some analysts. There are people in the crowd who possess in-depth knowledge of some spheres and can share their view. Thus, people can rate each other depending on how much value they can bring to investor society. The higher trust rating the person has, the more value to the ecosystem he brings.
– The ICO started June 6th and will continue for 3 weeks.
– Soft cap is 3 million CHF, hard cap is 30 million CHF.
– The rating scale on Alethena platform is from 1 to 10, investment grade is 7 and above.
– MVP is available for free, anyone can register via the web interface and check out the platform.
– Blockchain startups will need to pay 15,000 Swiss franks to get an initial rating. Afterwards, each periodic revision will cost 3,000 Swiss franks.
– ATH token holders will be able to vote on introducing new steps into rating methodology.