Monster to launch pointless-looking $300 million ICO
Monster's upcoming ICO looks like a cry for help.
The Monster audio company has a history of responsively pivoting to meet the changing needs of the market. It first came to life with a series of expensive audio cables, but eventually found its stride as a litigator, throwing strained lawsuits at any other entity that used the word "Monster" in any context.
As such, its competitors over the years have included the Monster.com jobs site, the Monsters Inc. film, Monster energy drinks, the Discovery Channel and its Monster Garage TV show, the Monster Vintage LLC clothing company, a kids skiing website called Snow Monsters, Monster Mini Golf, the Chicago Bears American football team (because they use the "Monsters of the Fairway" nickname) and many more.
After public backlash against its new litigation product line, Monster decided to go back to its roots with celebrity-branded headphones. It found renewed success with exclusive distribution rights to the Beats headphone line which had over 50% of the market at its peak. Then it sold off the majority of its stake and opted not to renew its distribution agreement.
In the following years, Monster seems to have spent most of its time twiddling its monster thumbs and losing the money it made from Beats.
Now it's pivoting again, this time into blockchain and cryptocurrency.
The Monster Money Network
Monster would very much like people to give it $300 million, according to its SEC filing. In exchange they'll receive Monster Money Network (MMNY) tokens. These tokens will be useable on the Monster Money Network. These tokens are intended to be redeemable for various products at some point in the future, much like a currency.
A sharp pivot from the audio cable and frivolous lawsuit industry to blockchain would ordinarily strain a company. Especially because blockchain developers are now in such high demand that those with a few years of experience can command seven figure signing bonuses. Fortunately for the future of Monster Money Network, its plans don't really call for any actual blockchain development skills.
"We plan to integrate the Ethereum blockchain technology to our E-commerce website to create the new ecosystem, namely Monster Money Network where consumers may use either MMNY Tokens or fiat currencies to purchase Monster products and services."
Basically, Monster is asking for $300 million to slap a MetaMask plugin on a website and whip up a new ERC20 token. Both of these can be done in a few minutes flat. You could probably do it yourself right now, even without your own personal $300 million ICO.
Monster also plans to use blockchain technology on the backend.
"As we develop Monster Money Network and our backend systems, we intend to utilize the blockchain technology to our marketing, accounting and audit, internal control and shipping management functions," it says. "We believe the blockchain innovation will bring disruptive advancement to our E-commerce and business operation systems."
Essentially, the company is begging investors to crowdfund backend system updates. It certainly doesn't help that the "risk factors" section of the SEC filing reads more like a cry for help than a warning to potential buyers.
"We have a history of operating losses, and expect to incur significant additional operating losses in the future if we fail to execute our strategy.
"We anticipate that we will incur operating losses for the foreseeable future. We may require additional funds for our anticipated operations and if we are not successful in securing additional financing, we may need to curtail our business operations.
"If we are unable to continue to develop innovative and popular products, our brand image may be harmed and demand for our products may decrease.
"If we are unable to obtain intellectual property rights and/or enforce those rights against third parties who are violating those rights, our business could suffer.
"We may not be able to compete effectively, which could cause our net sales and market share to decline.
"Our independent auditors have indicated, in their report on our December 31, 2017 financial statements, because of our recurring significant operating losses and net capital deficiency that there is substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern."
Will the ICO be successful?
If the Kodak brand name can do it, then maybe Monster can too. That's not to say people won't regret it, but there might be a too-decent-for-its-own-good probability of Monster raking in a few million.
Monster's main mistake, in the context of this ICO at least, might be moving too slowly. It would have been hard to imagine it failing just a few months ago before ICO regulations tightened and while blockchain hype was on the upswing. But these days, it might be harder to imagine it succeeding.
Prediction: The Monster ICO will easily blow past its $300 million mark, leaving people scratching their heads and wondering who was actually crazy enough to buy into it.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VEN, XLM, BTC and NANO.