The world of supply chain management is changing rapidly, as new technology and process upgrades continue to drive competition for market share. This has prompted many businesses to re-evaluate their existing processes and performance with an emphasis on boosting efficiency, transparency and customer service.
Although processes may be evolving, traceability and transparency remain an integral part of logistics planning. The emergence of blockchain technology presents a new opportunity for supply chain networks to more effectively manage their operations.
That’s the general impetus behind EximChain, the software development company that seeks to transform supply chain finance through the public ledger. Founded in 2015 at the globally renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), EximChain is developing a platform that helps supply chains overcome traditional barriers to financing, supplier reliability, data sharing and transparency. It does so by providing a common platform for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to receive supply chain financing and for investors to fund such initiatives.
According to the whitepaper, the main vision of the project is to develop a global supply chain that is driven by “rules-based applications.” This includes helping buyers verify the reliability of suppliers, helping suppliers access credit and ensuring that network participants are able to share inventory information on the blockchain.
EximChain has attracted a lot of attention from the blockchain community due to its deep connections with MIT and recognition as one of the best entrepreneurial projects in the region. In 2016, it won top prize at the Boston Seagull Entrepreneurship Contest as well as an innovation prize from the Rice Business Plan Competition.
EximChain has developed an ERC-20 compatible token called EXC. As a utility token, EXC will be used by SMEs and early adopters to purchase supply chain solutions on the EximChain platform, as well as participate in the project’s governance structure. As such, 20% of the available token supply has been reserved for SMEs and early adopters.
For investors, EXC tokens will be tradeable until two weeks before the Mainnet Network Launch, which is scheduled for the second quarter.
Half (50%) of the funds generated by the token raise will be used for platform development, which includes software development, legacy system integrations and team salary. One-quarter (25%) of the funds will be used to build the supply chain ecosystem. An additional 20% will be devoted to operational expenses and 5% for exchange listings.
The public ICO has been scheduled for Mar. 15, 2018 and will last for one month. The company has outlined a project roadmap that runs through Q1 2019, at which time participants will be able to use the EximChain blockchain to launch their own tokens and supply chain management tools.
EximChain is backed by a team of MIT-trained professionals, supply chain experts and technology leaders that is widely regarded as one of the strongest in the ICO industry.
Hope Liu is the project’s co-founder. Based on her previous work experience at UBS Beijing, her main background is in finance and blockchain technology. She currently serves as the Lab Lead for the North America Blockchain Association.
Co-founder and CTO Juan Huertas is also trained at MIT, and has served multiple startups in the capacity of technology consultant.
Jian Xiu is the project’s Business Architect. Prior to joining EximChain, Xi spent 14 years at IBM. Former Amazon Web Services employee Louis Lamia serves as Director of Engineering. Rounding out the executive team is Douglas Sanchez, who has been designated Director of Product.
The advisory team consists of ten people with expertise in blockchain, supply chain and emerging technologies.
EximChain is among the year’s most anticipated crowdfunding campaigns. As such, it is likely to generate plenty of interest once the crowdsale begins. This interest will cut across multiple domains, including SMEs and investors.
Based on the information we have available, the growth opportunity outweighs the risks. That being said, EximChain has reminded us several times in its whitepaper that EXC tokens are not speculative investments. This could be a positive or a negative, depending on your outlook.
- Competition for blockchain-based supply chain applications is on the rise. OriginTrail is perhaps the most prominent example of supply chain projects that raised nearly 18,000 ETH through its crowdsale. There’s also competition from more established technology players, such as IBM, which already has a successful case study in Wal-Mart. -2
- Supply chain management is a highly centralized process, which could lead to implementation risks for a project like EximChain. This extends beyond just high operational costs to include cultural buy-in and integration from various aspects of the supply chain. As is the case with many ICOs, implementation risks must be weighed carefully. -2
- U.S. and Chinese residents are barred from participating in the ICO, which could limit the overall success of the crowdsale (we say this because China has been identified as a major market for SME supply chain). We are not sure why U.S. investors are barred since the whitepaper makes it abundantly clear tat EXC is a utility token. Nevertheless, we perceive this to be a minor risk given the project’s high-profile nature and conservative fundraising goal. -0.5
- The project right down to the token distribution model has all the features of a long-term business opportunity. Investors looking for quality long-term investments have probably come to the right place. A conservative market cap and limited token tradability suggest EXC will be less prone to pump-and-dump speculation. +2
- The whitepaper rightly identifies a massive gap in SME supply chain financing totaling $2 trillion globally. This figure is based on a 2013 study published by the World Bank. Clearly, there is a huge business case for a project of this nature. +3
- With a Mainnet launch scheduled imminently, the project is already moving forward. Although the Mainnet launch has been pushed back, this is fairly common among ICO projects. EximChain’s three-year backstory leads us to believe the project is scaling up at a sure pace. +2
- According to the whitepaper, the project has already signed on nine partner companies, including SMEs and a Chinese-listed enterprise. +2.5
- EximChain is not only run by MIT graduates, it was incubated there. This gives the project instant credibility. (For those who are unaware, MIT has been ranked the top university in the world by QS World University Rankings.) +2
When it comes to blockchain disruption, few industries are as ready for a makeover as supply chain and logistics. EximChain has a solid product, strong team and plenty of hype to make it one of the year’s most exciting projects. Based on the above analysis, we have assigned the project a rating of 7 out of 10.
- Token Type: Utility
- Platform: Ethereum
- Symbol: EXC
- Whitelist: Closed Jan. 15, 2018
- Token Sale: Mar. 15, 2018
- Token Supply: 150 million
- Tokens Available for Sale: 60 million
- Fundraising Goal: $20 million
- Price: 1 EXC = $0.33 U.S.
- Payments Accepted: Ethereum
- Jurisdictions Barred from Participating: China, United States