There’s been a real boom in the ICO market recently. So far in 2018, there have been 165 new ICOs, almost as many as the total for all of 2017. That’s an overall investment of over $5 billion dollars — not exactly small change.
More and more companies are clearly seeing the benefits of using blockchain technology to raise funds and form the basis for their platforms. And with household names like KODAK and Starbucks reportedly turning to ICOs, it’s becoming more apparent that this isn’t just a passing fad.
One area where ICOs are beginning to gain popularity is the social media industry. The messaging service Telegram has raised $1.7 billion so far just in pre-sales, with the full token sale yet to come.
All of this is big news, and now it looks like one more social platform might be joining the ICO party.
What’s happening with Ask.fm?
Ask.fm is a huge online Q&A platform and has been around since 2010. Today, it has around 215 million users, giving it an enormous level of fame and influence.
The platform is fairly straightforward. Users ask questions which everyone can see, and other users offer their answers. They can show their name and identity or remain anonymous.
With this concept, Ask.fm tapped into a lucrative trend in human behavior — people like discussions based on questions. It’s the same reason platforms like Quora are so successful, and why AskReddit – where users ask and answer questions – is consistently one of the most subscribed to categories of Reddit.
Now, Ask.fm might be taking a similar step to many other big companies and moving into the world of ICOs. But why would they do that?
Why an ICO?
There are quite a few reasons why Ask.fm would want to consider an ICO. For starters, they’ve proven to be highly successful, and other big companies are using them. Although ICOs are relatively new in the scheme of things, there’s pretty good evidence that they work.
The move could also help Ask to reach a new audience and help revamp their entire brand. An ICO signals to everyone that a company is wise to new trends in tech and unafraid to be innovative.
Using blockchain to run platforms is another increasingly popular trend and one which brings its own set of unique benefits. Blockchain-based platforms are secure, transparent, and decentralized, making them perfect for anonymous communication activities.
And then there’s the token aspect. ICOs revolve around their own crypto tokens, which are generally used to raise money and then have a real application within the platform. Many ICOs use the token system to avoid relying on ad revenue because they use their own membership base for funds.
Fewer ads mean a better experience for everyone involved. And tokens could bring even more value than that. If Ask follows a similar pattern to other blockchain-based platforms, their model could involve rewarding users for their answers with tokens.
That’d be a real incentive to take the platform seriously and cut down on spam and trolls. Like all anonymous social media platforms, Ask.fm has had to deal with its fair share of trolls and cyber bullies, something which is never good for a company’s reputation.
Upgrading to blockchain could lead to a more mature and serious standard of discussion, where there are truly good reasons to play by the rules.
For now, it’s still unclear what path Ask.fm will take with this project. It’s becoming more obvious that ICOs have a real benefit, and it seems to be the perfect option for companies who wish to put a new lick of paint on their enterprise.
Anyone interested in ICOs and social media would be wise to watch this space.