Overview

Airsave Travel ICO Report

Oct 23rd 2018
Aiman Nazaal (LVL: 1)

Short Description


Airsave Travel is building a decentralized DApp which helps users to earn and save money with trips, using their ASTC coin. The app is available on the App store.

Technology

The app with the cutting edge


  • The project has a functioning centralised app since 2017, which they hope to replace with a Dapp late 2018.
  • The intended use of Dapp puts the ICO at the cutting edge of technology with regard to speed, security and decentralization.

Risks were not mentioned


  • The Whitepaper does not address risks associated with smart contracts in a business context.
  • Currently the data is stored centrally which represents a single point of failure.

Ethereum is not well suited for large data storage


Although Ethereum is applicable for speed/throughput and the use of smart contacts, it is not well suited for large data storage which is needed for the project. It is likely that the proposed blockchain will be bloated and thus transactions may suffer severe delays.

Ambiguous business model


The business model is ambiguous. Page 8 states that users can withdraw up to 80% of their savings in ASTC or any cryptocurrency. While page 13 states that user can withdraw up 80% in fiat. Then page 18 states that the 80% can be paid in ASTC/other crypto or fiat. It is not clear which one is the right mechanism.
There is confusion over use of words such as investor, user or saver, and savings, earnings, and fees.

At the end of page 12 an example is intended to show how a saved amount of £80 will be divided between fees, referral earnings, and savings. The example falls short from explaining how the amount will be used. Airsave Travel charges £5 administrative fees each month. But as the person is not allowed to touch their savings till a period of 4 month elapsed, the whitepaper does not say how the money held by Airsave during this period will be used.

Team

The founder has no experience in blockchain


Based on information collected from LinkedIn: Founder has no previous experience in blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies or ICOs.

There is no development team


The most experienced member of the advisory team, Saurav Tomar, has experience of several months only in blockchain or ICO. Yet he works also as a Senior Software Development Officer and an advisor for another 2 ICOs. This will impact his ability to provide advice to all of these ICOs.
None of the team members on the website, apart from the founder, show any affiliation on their LinkedIn pages to the ICO. It was difficult to verify if they are genuinely linked to the ICO or not.

Market and Progress

Active online presence


  • Facebook and Twitter pages are relatively active with around 5000 followers each.
  • The ICO uses Instagram to post publicity pictures. They have more than 5000 followers.

Suspicion of bots behaviour


Telegram channel has around 15,000 followers, yet as the founder is the only person running the show, she is not able to capitalise on this presence. Also the channel contains hundreds of “deleted accounts” which might be bots joining the channel.
Facebook page displays a strange behaviour whereby any single post has, almost, most of the time the same number of likes and shares. In other words, if a picture was liked by 100 then it will have 100 shares, if it is liked by 220 it will have 200 or even 220 shares, and so on.

Main milestones are not highlighted in the roadmap


The roadmap could have been more detailed and interactive. It could have shown clearly which stage the ICO is currently at. It should have highlighted significant milestones.
These dates are posted on the Bitcointalk which are, however, not reflected on the roadmap:

  • Stage 1: Pre ICO (23rd April) - Buy 800 AST for $100
  • Stage 2: Pre ICO 2 (7th May) - Buy 500 AST for $100
  • Launch : Main ICO (21st May) - Buy 400 AST for $100

According to the above the main ICO is launched 21 May, yet on the website it states Oct. There is unclarity of milestones. Also, the duration of each phase of the ICO is not specified on the roadmap. The roadmap does not display any strategic approach as it ends on 2019.

Data storage and protection are a question mark


Airsave Travel will store massive amounts of data from its users, yet the ICO does not address any legal or regulatory implications associated with this. The service is global and different legal jurisdictions have different regulatory frameworks such as GDPR in Europe or Data Protection Act in the UK. The ICO fails to show that it adheres to these rules.
As the ICO will implement blockchain then data should be stored in a decentralized manner. The ICO does not refer to this solution neither shows if nodes will store data or a third party like Storj, SWARM, IPFS, or Sion. This can have serious implications on service cost with regard to infrastructure, data retrieval, and speed.

On the light of the above, the ICO does not address the methodology of data storage and who would be able to view the data in the ecosystem. The ramification of this set-up could lead to customers privacy being violated and their data is monetised without their prior consent or knowledge.

Tokenomics

Vesting periods are defined


The ICO has vesting periods which prevent the token from being dumped on exchanges and thus lowering its price.

Allocation for the team and airdrop is unclear


The tokens are allocated fairly and in good proportion. However, there is no obvious allocations to the team. Also, the free airdrop is not reflected on the token allocations diagram.

Pre-ICO Auction is suspicious


As described by the whitepaper only one winner will bid to win the 34% of total token. This is a big amount of token to be sold in one lot, especially that there are no means to verify if the buyer is affiliated to the ICO or not.

Competition
  • Cool Cousin
  • Cryptocribs
  • Bee
  • UTour

Advantages


  • Airsave has a working app even though it is a centralized app.
  • The ICO has a vesting period which prevents dumping the coins once the ICO is finished.
  • The presence of an escrow where the funds will be held is an added advantage.

Disadvantages


  • The app which was launched in 2016 has only around 4000 users.
  • Smart contracts are just a code, while law is law. This entails clarifying legal issues around hacking or bugs in the code, especially that the Dapp involves payments.
  • The ICO does not link the release of funds raised with achieving milestones. Neither propose a protection scheme for investors in case the ICO fails to achieve one or all of its milestones.
  • One winner of the tokens auction will seize 34% of the tokens.
Financials

Financials are primary for development and marketing


  • The two biggest shares are going to software development and marketing.
  • This is understandable as this service relies heavily for its success on marketing and continuous development.

Escrow service will be used


The raised tokens will be stored by a third party called Mero Ventures in Germany.

Late token listing


Investors who wish to hold or trade ASTC need to wait for two years till the tokens are listed on exchanges. The other option is to trade the tokens via CUMBERLAND which have a minimum trade of £100K. These two options would leave any investor who bought the tokens during the ICO high and dry.

Misleading Figures


The user does not save with friends, rather earn £5 monthly on each friend they recruit. Further the earnings are not £240. £80 will be deducted as fees leaving the user with £160, which will be subject to additional 20% deduction received as a voucher.

Mechanism for releasing funds is unclear


The accrued funds will be released in total from the escrow bank in Hamburg to a UK based exchange called CUMBERLAND, which will in turn transfer the whole amount in fiat to the Airsave Travel bank account.
From the information gathered in the whitepaper, it is obvious that there is no mechanism to release the funds based on achieving milestones, neither there is a mechanism which protects investors by holding the money in case the ICO fails to deliver on its promises.

As it was not possible to verify the location of the ICO, it is proving difficult to verify if the funds will be transferred to an account in the UK or somewhere else.

Possible Red Flags

Possible fraudulent ex-team member


It was reported on 3.4.2018 on Bitcointalk that the Lead Project Manager called Sabi Rad has another name on the internet as Stefan Stefancik. The founder of the ICO replied on 3.4.2018 stating that Sabi is an excellent project manager. However, on 8.4.2018 the founder admitted that she does not know Sabi in person. She just spoke to him over the phone to lead her project which is expected to yield millions of dollars in investment. The founder stated that she stopped any cooperation with him.
Therefore, it is difficult to establish whether the founder has met with other team members and advisors and vetted their identity and past experiences or not.

False alarm to sell out the start-up?


The whitepaper claims that there is a possible sell out of the project at a later stage to STA. On the light of the false claims about the alleged partnership with STA, this sell out claim could mislead potential investors and lure them to buy in.
The whitepaper states that their current app has 4000 users. There is no way to verify this claim though. Based on this and the allegations of a potential sell-out, the founder aims also to lure STA or any other big player in the market to buy her start-up, by claiming that she has a customer base of 4000 users.

Fake Claim of Partnership with STA


Airsave claims on their website, whitepaper and social media that since 2016 they are in partnership with STA.co.uk, a major travel agency. Yet STA does not mention on its official website that they have partnered with Airsave, neither it was possible to find any news about this partnership anywhere on the wide-web.
The investigator of this ICO has contacted Airsaves founder and asked her about this partnership. She claimed that she has a Travel Service Agreement for 2 years. Then in another private message she stated: "I am looking at partnering with blockchain travel companies, so users receive saving and earnings in travel tokens". The investigator asked for more specific information with regard to STA in particular. The founder admitted that she has no partnership of any kind with STA.co.uk.

Possible pyramid scheme


The business model is not presented clearly. It could have been better if it was depicted by a video. Yet, it resembles that of a Pyramid Scheme, which is illegal in the UK.
The founder of the ICO was contacted over this and stated if it is a Pyramid Scheme it would not be allowed on the App Store.