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This post intends to illustrate the dynamics and fundamentals related to the mechanics and use of the Quant Network Utility Token (QNT), in order to provide the community with greater clarity around what holding the token actually means.submitted by mr_sonic to CryptoCurrency [link] [comments]
This is a follow-up on two articles David W previously wrote about Quant Network’s prospects and potential, which you can find here:
On that note, I have noticed that many wish to see institutional investors getting involved in the crypto space for their purchase power, but the one thing they would bring and that is most needed in my opinion is fundamental analysis and valuation expectations based on facts. Indeed, equity investors can probably access 20 or 30 reports that are 15 pages long and updated on a quarterly basis about any blue chip stock they are invested in, but how many of such (professional) analyst reports can you consult for your favorite crypto coins? Let me have a guess: none. This is unfortunate, and it is a further reason to look into the situation in more details.
To be clear, this article is not about providing figures on the expected valuation of the token, but rather about providing the community with a deeper analysis to better understand its meaning and valuation context. This includes going through the (vast) differences between a Utility Token and a Company Share since I understand it is still blurry in some people’s mind. I will incorporate my thoughts and perspective on these matters, which should not be regarded as a single source of truth but rather as an attempt to “dig deeper”.
In order to share these thoughts with you in the most pertinent manner, I have actually entirely modelled the Quant Treasury function and analysed how the QNT token would react to various scenarios based on a number of different factors. That does not mean there is any universal truth to be told, but it did help in clarifying how things work (with my understanding of the current ruleset at least, which may also evolve over time). This is an important safety net: if the intensity of speculation in crypto markets was to go lower from here, what would happen to the token price? How would Quant Treasury help support it? If the market can feel comfortable with such situation and the underlying demand for the token, then it can feel comfortable to take it higher based on future growth expectations — and that’s how it should be.
Finally, to help shed light on different areas, I must confess that I will have to go through some technicalities on how this all works and what a Utility Token actually is. That is the price to pay to gain that further, necessary knowledge and be in a position to assess the situation more thoroughly — but I will make it as readable as I possibly can, so… if are you ready, let’s start!
A Utility Token vs. a Company Share: what is the difference?It is probably fair to say that many people involved in the crypto space are unfamiliar with certain key financial terms or concepts, simply because finance is not necessarily everyone’s background (and that is absolutely fine!). In addition, Digital Assets bring some very novel concepts, which means that everyone has to adapt in any case.
Therefore, I suggest we start with a comparison of the characteristics underpinning the QNT Utility Token and a Quant Network Company Share (as you may know, the Company Shares are currently privately held by the Quant Network founders). I believe it is important to look at this comparison for two reasons:
What is on the right hand side of a balance sheet is the money a company has, and what is on the left hand side is how it uses it. Broadly speaking, the money the company has may come from the owners (Equity) or from the creditors (Debt). If I were to apply these concepts to an individual (you!), “Equity” is your net worth, “Debt” is your mortgage and other debt, and “Assets” is your house, car, savings, investments, crypto, etc.
As you can see, a Company Share and a Utility Token are found in different parts of the balance sheet — and that, in itself, is a major difference! They indeed serve two very different purposes:
On the other hand, as a Utility Token holder, you have no such rights related to the company’s profits or management, BUT any usage of the platform has to go through the token you hold — and that has novel, interesting facets.
A Utility Token vs. a Company Share: what happens in practice?Before we dig further, let’s now remind ourselves of the economic utilities of the QNT token (i.e. in addition to signing and encrypting transactions):
Arbitrary figures from myself (i.e. no currency, no unit), based on an indicative 20% Net Income Ratio and a 40% Dividend yield
We have now two different perspectives:
It is however too early to reach any conclusion, so we now need to dig one level deeper again.
More considerations around Company SharesAs we discussed, with a Company Share, you possess a fraction of the company’s ownership and hence you have access to profits (and losses!). So how do typical Net Income results look in the technology industry? What sort of Dividend is usually paid? What sort of market valuations are subsequently achieved?
Let’s find out:
As you can see, the typical Net Income Ratio varies between around 10% and 20% in the technology/software industry (using the above illustrated peer group). The ratio illustrates the proportion of Net Income extracted from Revenues.
In addition, money is returned to Company Shareholders in the form of a Dividend (i.e. a portion of the Net Income) and in the form of Share repurchases (whereby the company uses its excess cash position to buy back shares from Shareholders and hence diminish the number of Shares available). A company may however prefer to not redistribute any of the profits, and retain them instead to fund further business growth — Alphabet (Google) is a good example in this respect.
Interestingly, as you can see on the far right of the table, the market capitalisations of these companies reflect high multiples of their Net Income as investors expect the companies to prosper in the future and generate larger profits. If you wished to explore these ideas further, I recommend also looking into the Return on Equity ratio which takes into account the amount of resources (i.e. Capital/Equity) put to work to generate the companies’ profits.
It is also to be noted that the number of Company Shares outstanding may vary over time. Indeed, aside from Share repurchases that diminish the number of Shares available to the market, additional Shares may be issued to raise additional funds from the market hence diluting the ownership of existing Shareholders.
Finally, (regular) Company Shares are structured in the same way across companies and industries, which brings a key benefit of having them easily comparable/benchmarkable against one another for investors. That is not the case for Utility Tokens, but they come with the benefit of having a lot more flexible use cases.
More considerations around the QNT tokenAs discussed, the Utility Token model is quite novel and each token has unique functions designed for the system it is associated with. That does not make value assessment easy, since all Utility Tokens are different, and this is a further reason to have a detailed look into the QNT case.
As a start, all assets that are used in a speculative way embed two components into their price:
A) one that represents what the asset is worth today, and
B) one that represents what it may be worth in the future.
Depending on whether the future looks bright or not, a price premium or a price discount may be attached to the asset price.
This is similar to what we just saw with Company Shares valuation multiples, and it is valid across markets. For instance, Microsoft generates around USD 21bn in annual Net Income these days, but the cost of acquiring it entirely is USD 1,094bn (!). This speculative effect is particularly visible in the crypto sector since valuation levels are usually high whilst usage/adoption levels are usually low for now.
So what about QNT? As mentioned, the QNT Utility model has novel, interesting facets. Since QNT is required to access and use the Overledger system, it is important to appreciate that Quant Network company has three means of action regarding the QNT token:
We also have to appreciate how the QNT distribution will always look like, it can be broken down as follows:
A) QNT tokens held by the QNT Community
B) QNT tokens held by Quant Network that are locked (i.e. those related to Licences)
C) QNT tokens held by Quant Network that are unlocked (i.e. those related to other usage, such as consumption fees and Gateways)
D) the minimum QNT amount held by all users of the platform (more information on this front soon)
So now that the situation is set, how would we assess Quant Network’s business activity effect on the QNT token?
STEP 1: We would need to define the range of minimum/maximum amounts of QNT which Quant Network would want to keep as liquid reserves (i.e. unlocked) on an ongoing basis. This affects key variables such as the proportion of market purchases vs. the use of their own reserves, and the amount of QNT sold back to the market. Also, interestingly, if Quant Network never wanted to keep less than, for instance, 1 million QNT tokens as liquid reserves, these 1 million tokens would have a similar effect on the market as the locked tokens because they would never be sold.
STEP 2: We would need to define the amount of revenues that are related to QNT. As we know, Overledger Licences, Usage and Gateways generate revenues converted into QNT (or in QNT directly). So the correlation is strong between revenues and QNT needs. Interestingly, the cost of a licence is probably relatively low today in order to facilitate adoption and testing, but it will surely increase over time. The same goes for usage fees, especially as we move from testing/pilot phases to mass implementation. The number of clients will also increase. The Community version of Overledger is also set to officially launch next year. More information on revenue potential can be found later in this article.
STEP 3: We would need to define an evolution of the QNT token price over time and see how things develop with regards to Quant Network’s net purchase/sale of tokens every month (i.e. tokens required - tokens sold = net purchased/sold tokens).
Once assumptions are made, what do we observe?
In an undistorted environment, there is a positive correlation between Quant Network’s QNT-related revenues and the market capitalisation they occupy (i.e. the Quant Network share of the token distribution multiplied by the QNT price). However, this correlation can get heavily twisted as the speculative market prices a premium to the QNT price (i.e. anticipating higher revenues). As we will see, a persistent discount is not really possible as Quant Treasury would mechanically have to step in with large market purchases, which would provide strong support to the QNT price.
In addition, volatility is to be added to the equation since QNT volatility is likely to be (much) higher than that of revenues which can create important year-on-year disparities. For instance, Quant Treasury may lock a lot of tokens at a low price one year, and be well in excess of required tokens the next year if the QNT token price has significantly increased (and vice versa). This is not an issue per se, but this would impact the amount of tokens bought/sold on an ongoing basis by Quant Treasury as reserves inflate/deflate.
If we put aside the distortions created by speculation on the QNT price, and the subsequent impact on the excess/deficiency of Quant Network token reserves (whose level is also pro-actively managed by the company, as previously discussed), the economic system works as follows:
High QNT price vs. Revenue levels: The value of reserves is inflated, fewer tokens need to be bought for the level of revenues generated, Quant Treasury provides low support to the QNT price, its share of the token distribution diminishes.
Low QNT price vs. Revenue levels: Reserves run out, a higher number of tokens needs to be bought for the level of revenues generated, Quant Treasury provides higher support to the QNT price, its share of the token distribution increases.
The key here is that, whatever speculation on future revenue levels does to the token in the first place, if the QNT price was falling and reaching a level that does not reflect the prevailing revenue levels of Overledger at a given time, then Quant Treasury would require a larger amount of tokens to cover the business needs which would mean the depletion of their reserves, larger purchases from the market and strong support for the QNT price from here. This is the safety net we want to see, coming from usage! Indeed, in other words, if the QNT price went very high very quickly, Quant Treasury may not be seen buying much tokens since their reserves would be inflated BUT that fall back mechanics purely based on usage would be there to safeguard QNT holders from the QNT price falling below a certain level.
I would assume this makes sense for most, and you might now wonder why have I highlighted the bottom part about the token distribution in red? That is because there is an ongoing battle between the QNT community and Quant Treasury — and this is very interesting.
The ecosystem will show how big a share is the community willing to let Quant Network represent. The community actually sets the price for the purchases, and the token distribution fluctuates depending on the metrics we discussed. An equilibrium will be formed based on the confidence the market has in Quant Network’s future revenue generation. Moreover, the QNT community could perceive the token as a Store of Value and be happy to hold 80/90% of all tokens for instance, or it could perceive QNT as more dynamic or risky and be happy to only represent 60/70% of the distribution. Needless to say that, considering my previous articles on the potential of Overledger, I think we will tend more towards the former scenario. Indeed, if you wished to store wealth with a technology-agnostic, future proof, globally adopted, revenue-providing (through Gateways) Network of Networks on which most of the digitalised value is flowing through — wouldn’t you see QNT as an appealing value proposition?
In a nutshell, it all comes down to the Overledger revenue levels and the QNT holders’ resistence to buy pressure from Quant Treasury. Therefore, if you are confident in the Overledger revenue generation and wish to see the QNT token price go up, more than ever, do not sell your tokens!
What about the locked tokens? There will always be a certain amount of tokens that are entirely taken out of circulation, but Quant Network company will always keep additional unlocked tokens on top of that (those they receive and manage as buffer) and that means that locked tokens will always be a subset of what Quant Network possesses. I do not know whether fees will primarily be concentrated on the licencing side vs. the usage side, but if that were to be the case then it would be even better as a higher amount of tokens would be taken out of circulation for good.
Finally, as long as the company operates, the revenues will always represent a certain amount of money whereas this is not the case for profits which may not appear before years (e.g. during the first years, during an economic/business downturn, etc.). As an illustration, a company like Uber has seen vast increases in revenues since it launched but never made any profit! Therefore, the demand for the QNT token benefits from good resilience from that perspective.
Quant Network vs. QNT community — What proportion of the QNT distribution will each represent?
How much revenues can Overledger generate?I suggest we start with the basis of what the Quant Network business is about: connecting networks together, building new-generation hyper-decentralised apps on top (called “mApps”), and creating network effects.
Network effects are best defined by Metcalfe’s law which states: “the effect of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system” (Source: Wikipedia). This is illustrated by the picture below, which demonstrates the increasing number of possible connections for each new user added to the network. This was also recently discussed in a YouTube podcast by QNT community members “Luke” and “Ghost of St. Miklos” which you can watch here.
This means that, as Overledger continues to connect more and more DLTs of all types between themselves and also with legacy systems, the number of users (humans or machines) connected to this Network of Networks will grow substantially — and the number of possible connections between participants will in turn grow exponentially. This will increase the value of the network, and hence the level of fees associated with getting access to it. This forms the basis of expected, future revenue generation and especially in a context where Overledger remains unique as of today and embraced by many of the largest institutions in the world (see the detailed summary on the matter from community member “Seq” here).
On top of this network, multi-chain hyper-decentralised applications (‘mApps’) can be built — which are an upgrade to existing dApps that use only one chain at a time and hence only benefit from the user base and functionalities of the given chain. Overledger mApps can leverage on the users and abilities of all connected chains at the same time, horizontal scaling, the ability to write/move code in any language across chains as required, write smart contracts on blockchains that do not support them (e.g. Bitcoin), and provide easier connection to other systems. dApps have barely had any success so far, as discussed in my first article, but mApps could provide the market with the necessary tools to build applications that can complement or rival what can be found on the Apple or Google Play store.
Also, the flexibility of Overledger enables Quant Network to target a large number of industries and to connect them all together. A sample of use cases can be found in the following illustration:
It is to be noted that one of the use cases, namely the tokenisation of the entire world’s assets, represents a market worth hundreds of trillions of USD and that is not even including the huge amount of illiquid assets not currently traded on traditional Capital Markets which could benefit from the tokenisation process. More information on the topic can be found in my previous article fully focused on the potential of Overledger to capture value from the structural shift in the world’s assets and machine-related data/value transfers.
Finally, we can look at what well established companies with a similar technology profile have been able to achieve. Overledger is an Operating System for DLTs and legacy systems on top of which applications can be built. The comparison to Microsoft Windows and the suite of Microsoft Software running on top (e.g. Microsoft Office) is an obvious one from that perspective to gauge the longer term potential.
As you can see below, Microsoft’s flagship softwares such as Windows and Office each generate tens of billions of USD of revenues every year:
We can also look at Oracle, the second largest Enterprise software company in the world:
We can finally look at what the Apple store and the Google Play store generate, since the Quant Network “mApp store” for the community side of Overledger will look to replicate a similar business model with hyper-decentralised applications:
Source: Worldwide total revenue by app store, 2018 ($bn)
The above means total revenues of around USD 70bn in 2018 for the Apple store and Google Play store combined, and the market is getting bigger year-on-year! Also, again, these (indicative!) reference points for Overledger come in the context of the Community version of the system only, since the Enterprise version represents a separate set of verticals more comparable to the likes of Microsoft and Oracle which we just looked at.
ConclusionI hope this article helped shed further light on the QNT token and how the various market and business parameters will influence its behavior over time, as the Quant Network business is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years.
In the recent Forbes interview, Quant Network’s CEO (Gilbert Verdian) stated : “Our potential to grow is uncapped as we change and transform industries by creating a secure layer between them at speed. Our vision is to build a mass version of what I call an internet of trust, where value can be securely transferred between global partners not relying on defunct internet security but rather that of blockchain.”.
This is highly encouraging with regards to business prospects and also in comparison to what other companies have been able to achieve since the Web as we know it today emerged (e.g. Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc.). The Internet is now entering a new phase, with DLT technology at its core, and Overledger is set to be at the forefront of this new paradigm which will surely offer a vast array of new opportunities across sectors.
I believe it is an exciting time for all of us to be part of the journey, as long as any financial commitment is made with a good sense of responsibility and understanding of what success comes down to. “Crypto” is still immature in many respects, and the emergence of a dedicated regulatory framework combined with the expected gradual, selective entrance of institutional money managers will hopefully help shed further light and protect retail token holders from the misunderstandings, misinformation and misconduct which too many have suffered from in the last years.
Thanks for your time and interest.
First article: “The reasons why Quant Network (QNT) will rise to the Top of the crypto sphere in the coming months”
Second article: “The potential of Quant Network’s technology to capture value from the structural shift in the World’s assets and machine-related data/value transfers”
October 2019 City AM interview of Gilbert Verdian (CEO): Click here
October 2019 Blockchain Brad interview of Gilbert Verdian (CEO): Click here
July 2019 Blockchain Brad interview of Gilbert Verdian (CEO): Click here
February 2019 Blockchain Brad interview of Gilbert Verdian (CEO): Click here
About the original author of the article:
My name is David and I spent years in the Investment Banking industry in London. I hold QNT tokens and the above views are based on my own thoughts and research only. I am not affiliated with the Quant Network team in any way. This is not investment advice, please do your own research and understand what you are buying before doing so. It is also my belief that more than 90% of all other crypto projects will fail because what matters is what is getting adopted; please do not put more money at risk than you can afford to lose.
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