Disclaimer : The coins I write about are my personal opinion. Invest in them at your own risk.
INS token is a cryptocurrency that aims to decentralize the online grocery ecosystem by removing the middlemen that is the retailers and the wholesalers with the help of Blockchain and smart contract. It is somewhat tackling the reduced market shares of home grown manufacturers by private labels such Amazon Basics and at the same time providing groceries at the cheaper rate to the consumers.
Now, as far as the problem statement is concerned, I think is fantastic. But, I am highly sceptical about the industry that they are involved in - hyperlocal grocery. I mean look around yourself and analyse the centralised internet companies existing in the space. None. Practically no single big player. For the existing players, it is just a cycle of endless pivots and venture fundings till they realise that the unit economics is just not sustainable.
Hyperlocal startups particularly in the groceries domain face an uphill battle when they try to scale exponentially. They compete with the locals who run grocery carts and are much less likely to lose money on a product with significantly low shelf life than them.
If we take an example from the history, I think Webvan completely fits the thought. What started as a revolutionary offline, online hybrid consortium of elements to deliver groceries door-to-door filed a bankruptcy soon after. That’s roughly around a billion dollars of venture capital down the drain. Billion with a ‘b’. And instead of going into the details of why hyperlocal grocery startups generally fail to cement their market positions which is basically just a Google search away, I think I would rather write about the decentralised aspects of the token.
They sit on roughly about 30-40% of the total token size which I feel is high as compared to other coins. Frankly, it is controlling in some sense. Normally, the coins in the market that are in for the long haul and genuinely believe in decentralisation usually house around 10 to 20 percent of the total supply. Therefore, I feel the tokens to be another one of the red flags in the project.
Another one of the key areas which drew my attention is the role of fulfillment centers in the whole ecosystem that they are trying to create. Who these fulfillment centers are going to be? Can anyone with a yard of space provide fulfillment services? How will the INS decide who to trust when there is going to more than one in an area?
Fulfillment centers in my honest opinion introduces trust in the trustless system that they envision. Plus they plan to employ third party to do the box moving (as mentioned in one of the Q&A sessions with the company’s CEO) which is again does not add up for me.
They claim that their platform will have blockchain integrated into their supply chain management which I believe is great. But their beta starts not before the quarter of 2018 whereas other decentralised companies in the supply chain domain like WABI, VEN and WTC already have their products involving RFID technology in the working state and partnerships with established companies and governments in place which definitely gives them the first movers’ advantage.
All in all I think there are too many moving parts in the system and though I would brand it as somewhat a highly ambitious project, I think there is not much use of the INS token in general in the system. They are basically riding the hype wave and I feel ETH is just as useful in the operations of the ecosystem. Hope they succeed in what they are trying to achieve, but hodling wise, I would prefer to maintain a distance.