Wings Platform Review: Crowdsourcing ICO Evaluations
Everything can be crowdsourced it seems and the Wings platform is bringing that idea to the blockchain, especially when it comes to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs).
With Wings a project can have the entire Wings community evaluate the feasibility of their offering. And the Wings users can even forecast specific aspects such as how much an ICO might raise for the project. Users are compensated for participating in the forecasting aspect of Wings.
However, given the fall in ICO issuance recently, is there still a need for the platform?
In this Wings review, we will take an in-depth look at the platform including its technology, team members, development and roadmap. We will also analyse the long term use cases for the WINGS coin and whether it can ever face long term adoption.
Wings was developed with a vision for creating a platform of expert forecasters who are able to provide outside projects with valuable feedback regarding the feasibility of their ideas and the likelihood of success, among other things. The Wings Foundation that runs the Wings project is a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), and is governed without a central hierarchical organization. Instead, governance is controlled through blockchain technology and smart contracts.
As you can learn in the Wings whitepaper, the platform functions by creating a framework that allows outside projects to submit their details, which are then evaluated by platform forecasters. This actually makes Wings a DAO that is capable of creating other DAOs.
In practice the platform functions as a prediction market to evaluate various aspects of the projects submitted to Wings. In many cases the projects being evaluated are ICOs, and the teams of these projects offer a certain amount of their token or coin to reward the Wings forecasters. This is similar to offering a bounty in exchange for insight into the potential of the project.
Wings ICO Forecasting
There are some definite themes in the questions asked by the projects, which revolve around how successful the project might be, how much it could raise in an ICO, and the probability of the team hitting their roadmap milestones.
These are all very important questions for new projects, and getting an idea of possible answers from professional forecasters makes it worth it for most projects to allocate a portion of their tokens in exchange for the information.
To become a forecaster and participate in the Wings platform users must be holders of the Wings token. In fact there are several functions that can be undertaken by Wings holders.
The most visible of these is when a user receives tokens from a listed project in return for providing an accurate forecast. This includes forecasting potential ICO totals or the success of new projects and DAOs. Wings holders also have the ability to participate in the governance of Wings by voting on DAO proposals. Finally, all holders can be added to the Wings reputation system where they are able to rate others and receive ratings themselves.
Wings is definitely geared towards ICOs and those projects looking to launch their own DAO. You can see this in some of the features offered on the Wings platform:
- Create and manage a DAO easily, with no prior knowledge;
- Communicate with supporters via the Wings platform;
- Securely store DAO assets;
- Receive feedback regarding the project, and its chances of success;
- Get crowdsourced forecasts on any aspect of a project or business plan;
- Access and use the Ethereum Virtual Machine and RSK;
- Access the Wings legal framework and legal counsel network for a competitive advantage.
The Wings Team
Not much was known about the Wings team for a very long time, but eventually it was learned that Wings was developed and launched by a small group of successful engineers, scientists and businessmen. The leader of that team is Stas Oskin who has decades of engineering and management experience, with specializations in cloud infrastructure and scalability.
Alongside Oskin is the blockchain developer and Wings R&D Lead Boris Popov. Popov also consults for the blockchain project Lisk as well as being an advisor for both Economix and Cartesi.
There are three additional founders to the Wings project; Serguei Popov, Anton Bilyk and Artem Gorbachev. Together, the five successfully run the Wings project and the Wings Foundation, which is headquartered in Zug, Switzerland.
Development & Roadmap
In order to get a sense just of how much work is currently being done on the Wings platform, it is helpful to take a look into the project's GitHub repository. The number of code commits is useful to assess activity on the development side.
I took a look into the Wings DAO GitHub and pulled the commits of the most active repository. So far most of the work that has been done recently is on the Wings Light Bridge. This is the feature that will allow developers to integrate their projects onto the Wings Platform.
As you can see there has been light maintenance on this repository over the past few months. There has not been that much new development for the rest of the Wings Foundation repositories. In fact, if we were to take a look at the Wings commits in relation to other projects they rank at 362.
This low level of coding activity probably could make sense if one were to look into Wing's roadmap. The Wings team has not released a roadmap since January 2017, with that roadmap only covering planned features through Spring 2018. We’re far beyond that now and there is no clear guidance regarding the future direction of the Wings platform.
Perhaps development could pick up when the team releases further guidance on their roadmap. One should keep a keen eye on their official blog as they are likely to release updates here.
The WINGS Token
The WINGS token is an ERC-20 compatible utility token that is used to create new listings to be evaluated, as well as by the forecasters to place their forecast.
Wings held its ICO long before the ICO became fashionable. They began the ICO in November 2016 and it was concluded in January 2017, raising just $1.7 million. Coins were priced at $0.0288 each and 60 million tokens were sold. The maximum supply of Wings is set at 100,000,000 and there is a circulating supply of 93,976,210 WINGS, meaning nearly all the WINGS are in circulation.
After the ICO the token began steadily climbing, with some large jumps in April & May 2017. Another push higher took the token to $1.04 on June 7, giving the ICO investors a more than 35x return. But the rally wasn’t over. The token dropped back and spent most of the rest of 2017 trading between $0.25 and $0.50. Then in December it began to rally along with the broader market, hitting its all-time high of $2.58 on January 7, 2018.
Since that time the token has been mostly losing value as it is caught up in the bear market that has affected all cryptocurrencies. As of late January 2019 WINGS tokens are worth just over $0.10 each. There was a spike in price on January 19, 2019 that saw WINGS rise nearly 80%, but there was no news to accompany the spike that could have acted as a catalyst.
Since WINGS is an ERC-20 token you can store it in any ERC-20 compatible wallet.
The Wings community seems a bit small considering the length of time the project has been around. The Twitter @wingsplatform account has 37,600 followers and little interaction. On Reddit the /r/WingsDAO page there are over 1,200 readers, but no more than a few posts each month and no real interaction with those either. Their Medium blog doesn’t see more than a few posts a month either and on Telegram their group has just under 4,300 followers.
Overall there isn’t much communication from the Wings team and there is even less interaction from the small Wings community. This is definitely not a coin to pick up if you want conversation and reams of information.
Wings is an innovative idea, giving ICOs, DAOs and other crowdfunded projects the opportunity to float their ideas before an experienced forecasting community and get early feedback on the potential success of the project. There’s no other project, blockchain based or otherwise, that allows for such broad-based interaction between a start-up business and consumers or investors.
The project is also an excellent way for investing professionals to get an early look at a variety of new projects, and to invest in the early stages of those they find promising.
Users of the platform, and especially the projects looking for feedback, find communication to be effortless thanks to the inclusion of chatbots that can interact with a variety of messaging apps, such as WeChat, Slack, Facebook Chat and Telegram. Future versions of Wings will include artificial intelligence to improve interactions, and to include many different languages.
The concern is that the team has no public roadmap, and fails to communicate frequently, leaving the user community in the dark. On their part, the user community seems to be migrating away from Wings, feeling the lack of inclusion by the team. As we’ve seen numerous times in this space, an active community is extremely important to blockchain projects, even if they have several years history behind them.
So, it is concerning that a platform which is built on the idea of crowdfunding and facilitating communication has a team that is so poor at communicating and building an active community.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.