We will be looking into GAINS, a group that runs pools for ICO pre-sales. Alexandre Raffin is one of the co-founders of the group and we will be learning more about himself, the team behind GAINS, how the ICOs are chosen, a simplistic explanation of the service, and how it works.
Alex welcome! Could you tell us about yourself and how you got involved into cryptocurrency?
I’m a 24 year-old French guy. I have a master’s degree in Computer Science but I didn’t want to work long hours for a company, every day of the week, alienating myself and trading time for money. I wanted to try things out and live a more exciting life! I am very competitive, driven and I embrace challenges.
I tried to stream on Twitch for a few months but I discovered that it’s really hard to get noticed. I then tried to become a professional League of Legends player. Again, I didn’t succeed. But I did reach a rank I’m quite proud of: Master 300 LP which is about rank 300 EUW.
When partying for New Year’s Eve with some friends, I met a friend of a friend who had been in crypto for about 2 years. I had heard about bitcoin but my knowledge at the time was very shallow. As the night progressed, a new world was opening up to me. There were still many things I didn’t understand so I set my mind to learn more about the blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. I basically spent all my free time learning about crypto and asking him questions for the next month. There was always something new to learn, something new happening.
How did the idea of GAINS come to be?
I’ve started investing in ICOs in late January and I quickly realized there were many
issues with participating in the public phase of ICOs. If there is a lot of hype, you can’t be sure to get in. You may have to wake up in the middle of the night just to try to get in and eventually fail to do so… There are individual caps that sometimes restrict the amount you’d like to invest in a project you really like.
All these issues are solved by participating to presales. On top of not having to deal with all the negative points, you can also enjoy really interesting bonuses. Participating to presales is really valuable but not easy: you usually need to contribute 100 ETH or more. The idea behind pool groups is to join our forces to reach this high cap we can’t attain on our own.
After missing out on a few good ICOs, my friends and I started to research pool groups. However, our research was quite unsuccessful. For one group, we couldn’t trust the admins, for another, there was no or bad communication and for another one just not enough people. We weren’t satisfied. So we decided to take action and create our own pool community!
You can find more about this here: https://medium.com/@gainsicopool/read-this-before-investing-in-an-ico-pool-ff0c75329af3
Could you please talk about the team behind GAINS and how you know each other?
We are 4 friends and 2 Alexandres: Reda Sabir, Lotfi Zouad, Alexandre Patry and Alexandre Raffin (myself).
We all met at and graduated from the same engineering school in Computer Science but we took different paths career-wise. There is a strong synergy in our team due to our different experiences. Two of us are working in IT: Lotfi is a back-end web developer and Reda is a cyber security expert. Alexandre P. is a risk analyst. We all have a strong entrepreneurial mindset. We kept strong links of friendship and a same passion for technology and innovation.
Lotfi is living in Berlin, a great city for IT. He’s been developing a significant network through jobs and IT meetups.
Reda and Alexandre Party have won the Atos IT Challenge in 2015: https://atos.net/en/2015/press-release/general-press-releases_2015_06_17/pr-2015_06_17_02. They’ve launched their app and website and are looking to create their startup soon!
Consider that I am an average Joe that you meet at a gas station and we had small talk while pumping gas in our cars. I have heard about cryptocurrency but not ICOs before. I am looking to diversify my portfolio. How would you explain what an ICO is to me as well as what GAINS is in a simplistic way for an average Joe like myself to understand?
ICO means Initial Coin Offering. It’s the equivalent of an IPO but for a company that intends to run its business on the blockchain. However, there is one key difference. IPOs are usually reserved only to accredited investors while everyone who owns cryptocurrency (Ethereum in this case, for most of the time) can participate to ICOs. It’s like investing in a business but you don’t get yearly or monthly returns while keeping your share. Instead, you buy tokens which can be used to purchase a service the company is or will be offering. You’re betting that the company is going to offer a great service that will be in demand which will then drive up the price of the tokens needed to pay for it. You buy the tokens very early on at a cheap price when very few people believe in an idea and the team behind to deliver on it. Later, you sell for a greater price when the company becomes known, and their service used by many. Keep in mind that the greater the potential returns, the greater the risk. When you invest early, it’s hard to predict how and where things will go.
ICOs, like IPOs, have different stages of fundraising. The number of stages varies for each ICO but there is almost always a private sale or presale. This phase is even earlier than the public ICO. It is reserved to people who can put a lot of money on the table. To reward them for their trust so early, they get a bonus: more tokens for the same price paid compared to the public ICO. This makes it very interesting to invest at the presale stage. I have created with some friends a community dedicated to pooling for the presale of ICOs, it’s called GAINS: Grouped Action Is Never Small. It is strength in numbers. We merge a big number of small contributions to reach the amount needed to enter presales. Regular people like you and me can be on an equal footing with accredited investors and VC funds and obtain the same bonuses!
There is no other platform on the market like GAINS that I know of at least, I would like to know how GAINS chooses the ICOs?
To decide whether we’re going to pool for an ICO, we look at the ICO itself and at the deal we’ve negotiated. We have 2 members whose roles are researching and checking up on ICOs. Reda tries to see the technical part of the project: is it really new or is it just a copy paste from another project. Then we do classic due diligence that we then push much further if we think there is potential after a first overview. Keep in mind that we have to review tens of ICOs each month so we cannot spend a lot of time on each one. We first weed out the bad projects that we know by experience won’t last: copy paste idea, weak team, weird idea, you name it. We take a look at what famous people say of course but we like to take it with a grain of salt. From this shortlist, we start to get very thorough because we only want to pool for good ICOs. We check every LinkedIn profile, looking for inconsistencies that could indicate forgery. We assess if the team has experience, in general and in the required specific field to implement their project. We ponder if the idea has merit in general. We look at the token metrics: hard cap not too high and wise allocation of funds are what we watch out for first. We check the hype levels on their social media. Do they have partnerships with big names? We can also dig pretty deep technically and ask questions to the developers on telegram because we understand most of what is happening thanks to our background in IT. If we’re satisfied, we contact them and negotiate a deal. And if we like both the ICO and the deal they’re offering, we run a pool.
Is there a fee to get started? If not, how do I get started?
If you’re asking if you need to pay to enter the community, absolutely not. There is a 3.5% fee on all pools. In the fiat world, hedge fund managers take a much bigger fee.
We believe it is reasonable. It takes us a lot of time to research ICOs, negotiate deals, improve our back-end communication and tools, interact with the community and run the pools (at least 3–5 hours per day and 15 hours in the weekend FOR EACH MEMBER).
Keep also in mind that the fees will be next to nothing compared to the bonus you’ll be getting. To get started, just join us:
- Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/344896579323582
- Telegram group, for discussion: https://t.me/GainsPreICODiscussion
- Telegram channel, for announcements: https://t.me/GAINSPreICOAnnouncements
- website: https://icopoolsgains.com
Any additional information you would like to give the Altcoin Community?
Something I haven’t mentioned is that we understand trust is paramount when it comes to trusting strangers with your money online. That’s why we’re going to great lengths to build trust with our community. We’re as transparent as we can. We welcome discussion and answer every question. We’ve made an AMA video. We’re using our real Facebook and Linkedin profiles. We even shared our IDs (with some fields hidden to prevent impersonation: https://icopoolsgains.com/ids.html).
We hope to offer new and better ways to invest. Optimize profits and reduce stress. Bitcoin is about taking back the power from the banks and governments and giving it to the people. We’re giving back the power and privileges of the already rich people to normal people.
Thank you very much for this interview Moses, it was a blast!
My final thoughts on GAINS is that the project seems promising. It is true that pre-sales are usually dominated by large investors and GAINS seems to solve this issue. From my interaction with Alex, and the exposure of their actual ID’s on their website, GAINS seems to be quite genuine as they actually seem to be solving a real world problem. Cryptocurrency has numerous untouched industries within itself, this is merely one that some college friends decided to pursue. Will I dabble with GAINS? Perhaps in the near future. No risk no glory right?