Unusual for an ICO, SyncFab is an existing business dating from 2013 and which operates as a supply chain management system.
Generally speaking, small to medium-sized manufacturers and buyers of their products operate within inefficient markets and very often struggle to find each other.
Unlike larger manufacturers and purchasing houses, smaller businesses on either side of the supply chain do not enjoy the same benefits that come from being a bigger player enjoying larger networks. Nor do they have sufficient weight to double down on middlemen who, albeit offering specialised value-added services that make it easier for sellers to find buyers and vice-versa, tend to take large commissions.
Large manufacturers may dominate the market in terms of market share, but it still remains the case that 95% of all manufacturers fall into this bracket of small to medium-sized operations.
The SyncFab proposition is, in summary, to create a supply chain data hub for the minnows and dolphins of the manufacturing world. This hub will be constructed, in part, from partnerships with organisations both public and private on each side of the supply chain.
Both procurers (buyers) and manufacturers (sellers) will then participate in a blockchain-based, smart contract-managed network that will allow the two main parties on each side of the supply chain equation to find each other more easily and transact with one another in a more efficient manner.
Simply put, the proposition here is the creation of a blockchain-based, manufacturing-focused product that is designed to make the lives of supply chain purchase account managers much easier.
Concept and White-paper
Before discussing the white-paper itself, it is worth re-iterating here that this is an existing business looking to extend some of its operations to a blockchain model, financed through an ICO. The first question that comes to mind is whether a blockchain-based solution actually brings any added value here.
The answer supplied by the project team is that they want to bring in an incentives model for RFP / RFQ processes (*Request for Proposals / Request for Quotations) that, in practice, are often timely, costly and simply draining.
Every contract put out for tender – generally by buyers – will be accompanied with a transaction fee quoted in SyncFab token (MFG), half of which will go to the winning bid, 20% to the second-place bid, 20% to the third-place bid and the remaining 10% going into a reward pool that will finance future reward schemes.
In other words, some losing bids will receive a reward for having participated in the bidding process in the first place.
At 64 pages, this is one of the most comprehensive white-papers that we have consulted. Not too heavy on technical detail and covering all the angles – including legal – it has been written by a team that demonstrates respect for the intelligence of its readers.
Referring to the current SyncFab web-based product as SyncFab 2.0, the project team envisage a transition to a SyncFab 3.0 blockchain product, citing several key milestones along the way.
Interestingly, however, the development road map is explicitly made dependent on the funds raised through the token sale.
This is both unusual and entirely logical. It is entirely logical because a large budget implies different development outline than a small budget; it is entirely unusual because other ICOs simply do not this kind of granular detail – a positive sign and a more general indication that the project team here are treating token sale participants respectfully and intelligently.
The basic development outline envisages smart contract development for standard purchasing in Q3 of 2018, smart contract development for standard supply lines in Q4 of 2018, and tailored purchaser-supplier agreements in Q1 of 2019.
A Public Data Feed complete with APIs for third-party integrations – i.e. future partnerships – is also envisaged.
A complete budget will entail longer-term development for a Machine Data Feed – i.e. smart machine interaction with the blockchain, presumably in anticipation of the emerging though still very much embryonic machine economy where manufacturers endow machines with the ability to sell themselves. This is unlikely to form part of the SyncFab 3.0 product release scheduled for 2019.
The token’s value is designed around a reward system for manufacturers and suppliers who will be participating in the SyncFab blockchain-managed network.
That network is incentivised through a loyalty pool paid for by purchasers. This essentially boils down to a bidding/auction mechanism where a transaction fee, paid for in the native token, is added to the final purchase order paid for in traditional currency.
If hard-cap is achieved, one billion tokens will be created, of which 30% will be distributed to participants in the token sale. The rest is reserved for internal team rewards and bounties (10% combined), marketing (15%) and eventual use by SyncFab partners (30%).
Coming in at twenty-one, the team count matches the broad range of skillsets for strength in depth. It is headed up by multi-lingual CEO Jeremy Goodwin whose fluent Chinese adds to a strong Chinese connection.
The team also includes Simon Cocking on its advisory board who has developed something of a reputation for inspiring confidence in an ICO by dint of his mere association with it – with ClearPoll and Experty being examples of successful token sales both past and ongoing respectively.
Each member is listed with an accompanying LinkedIn profile with no exceptions.
The team also includes a dedicated marketing specialist, a certain Ben Gerstein, who seems to be doing his job efficiently enough judging from the project’s presence on social media. The Telegram channel carries 2k followers at the time of writing, whilst Facebook and Twitter show a following of 5k+ for both.
Whilst the funds that are being allocated specifically for marketing (15%) appear somewhat moderate, this may be justified by the fact that SyncFab is an already an established brand with a host of equally established partnerships in both the public and private spheres.
This is a project managed by a team who are demonstrating a first-rate ability to cover all of the angles. When we cover any ICO at ICOExaminer, in almost every case we find ourselves having to chase the project team to explain gaps in the information they either present on the website or the white-paper.
With this project, however, pretty much all of the information we went looking for was available to hand. There were none of the usual frustrations of having to track down simple contact details, getting our hands on something as basic as the project logo or finding out where the project is domiciled.
It was all presented upfront by a team with the foresight to see that these might be required for a token sale. Under general circumstances, that may not sound impressive – but when you have liaised with innumerable project teams like we have, it gives off the very strong impression that communication, due diligence and transparency are the key strengths of the team that will be driving this project.