If you’re familiar with the crypto world you’ve undoubtedly heard of SafeMoon. The Utah-based company is less than a year old but has gained an impressive following, with millions of users holding SafeMoon tokens or coins.
Ever since Bitcoin came into being several years ago, thousands of entrepreneurs have created their own cryptocurrencies. SafeMoon is one of these thousands and has had success in part because their push on social media platforms got millions of retail investors on board.
What entices some investors to SafeMoon is the company’s claim that the structure of buying and selling tokens will cause the price of a token to go up over time. “On every buy and sell transaction, there’s a 10 percent fee,” SafeMoon CEO John Karony explains. “I call that the great compromise between those who want to day trade, and those like me who just want to put money into a cryptocurrency and then just hold. With Bitcoin, what’s the reward for holding? It’s this speculation that after a year or so, it’ll be worth more than what it was before. Now with SafeMoon, you have more SafeMoon after that year. With Bitcoin, you don’t have more Bitcoins at the end of the year.”
Some crypto experts, however, are skeptical of SafeMoon’s model, which also “burns” some tokens with every transaction, reducing the available supply of the original one quadrillion tokens available. “You have this game of chicken where, if other people are selling, there’s less supply in the world of supply and demand,” explains Anthony Bertolino, VP of growth at iTrustCapital. “Theoretically, it incentivizes it to go up over time. But this is a double-edged sword—at the end of the day, if no one wants to buy it because it doesn’t do anything and people only want to buy it because it goes up, that sounds sort of like a Ponzi scheme just built on blockchain. It’s a crazy interesting experiment … but most of the time you don’t just make a coin because a coin is cool—you make a coin because maybe you’re going to build a global bank that allows people to deposit money and borrow money.”
Since its launch earlier this year, SafeMoon experts have pointed out that the company’s token has fluctuated quite a bit, reaching a peak market capitalization of $5.7 billion in May and now with a market cap of just under $1 billion, still an impressive sum.
Karony has heard these critiques of SafeMoon before and counters that the company has products in the works. “People like to focus on the token, but SafeMoon is actually a tech company, it’s a blockchain innovation company,” he says. “We have a very successful wallet that was launched. Within three months we were top of the charts, we still are.”
According to Karony, SafeMoon’s roadmap includes building a macro Internet of Things infrastructure on a SafeMoon-created blockchain, which he says is currently in development along with a central exchange. Once SafeMoon’s blockchain is out, Karony says, the company will then expand into other industries. “We’re innovating in multiple spaces, with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology being essentially the proverbial train track, and then the different products we build upon it being the train carts,” he explains.
The company is about to open its 9,000-square-foot headquarters in Pleasant Grove on January 1st, 2022, and one of the first products the company is working on—wind turbines—emphasizes the breadth of SafeMoon’s ambitions. “We have a proprietary nanotechnology that we apply to [wind turbines], nanoparticles that create a hydrophilic and hydrophobic layer over the top of the wind turbines to increase efficiency,” Karony says. “We’re implementing to start about a megawatt worth of wind turbine and tying that into the rest of our ecosystem.”
This is just the beginning, Karony promises, and his emphatic #safemoonarmy fanbase on Twitter are diehard supporters. Still, it might be too early to predict success. “We’ve seen hundreds of these types of crypto startups that have promise, that’s not the issue. But they rarely deliver something that is differentiated enough to be important and many of them actually don’t ever deliver a product at all or a service that actually materializes,” explains Hamiz Awan, founder and partner of Plutus21 Capital, a blockchain investment firm.
“SafeMoon, from what I can see so far, there’s not really much of a differentiation… I’m not saying that SafeMoon is not going to get there, I’m saying that we’ve seen thousands of these names before. They promise the world and garner people’s attention, but it doesn’t really mean that whatever platform they’re coming up with is, first, ever going to get delivered; and second, if it does get delivered, will ever be differentiated enough.”
But maybe that emphatic fanbase will be just what ultimately helps it succeed. Karony, his leadership team, and the 2.9 million SafeMoon holders argue that its SafeMoon’s fast development cycle and the leadership team’s strong connection to SafeMoon holders make the company different than others out there. “A lot of other tech companies don’t allow a level of access to the CEO and the decision-makers the way SafeMoon does, and it’s been super beneficial to us,” Karony says. “It’s been beneficial to our development cycles, and it’s been beneficial to our teams within the company, where I don’t have to guess, the leadership doesn’t have to guess—we can just ask.”
That connection to the SafeMoon community will help Karony and the rest of the leadership team fulfill the vision described above, which Karony says, more than money, is the main motivation for the company.
Karony is looking to fulfill that mission in Utah, with expectations to hire locally. “There are massive amounts of tech talent,” he says about the state. “It’s a great environment to work in, it’s a great environment to innovate in, and it’s a great environment to live in. So I’m really excited to expand our footprint there.”