While the cryptocurrency market has been making more waves for its bearish volatility than for solutions to existing payment infrastructure, Initiative Q has been garnering attention from millions of people worldwide. However, the starting point for most people just hearing about Q is inevitably: What is it?
Initiative Q is a payment network being proposed by Israeli tech entrepreneur Saar Wilf. It’s important to note the word *proposed* in the last sentence because that’s all Initiative Q is at this point. In interviews, Wilf has stressed what he calls the chicken and egg problem of payment networks: Merchants don’t want to onboard a payment network that nobody uses, and customers don’t want to use a payment network that merchants don’t accept. For a payment network facing this type of quandary, where to begin?
Initiative Q's Big Promises
First of all, it has to be made clear that Initiative Q isn’t a cryptocurrency — yet. Because the network is still a concept and hasn’t reached development, Wilf and his team haven’t decided how they’ll build the network. That leaves the door open to Wilf potentially deciding to build on top of a blockchain platform like Ethereum.
So, if Initiative Q isn’t a cryptocurrency, and isn’t a digital payment network for fiat currencies like PayPal or Payoneer, then what exactly is it?
Initiative Q is a proposed payment network that aims to replace existing payment infrastructure with a cheaper, faster, and more efficient version that runs on a currency called *Q*.
Beyond that, there are scant details about how the network would work because Wilf believes to overcome the chicken and egg problem, Q will first need to reach a critical mass of users. Think of this as a reversal of *if you build it, they will come*. Instead, Wilf is approaching Initiative Q as *if they come, we will build it*.
To reach this critical mass of users, Initiative Q is giving users who register with an email and name a portion of future Q tokens. Moreover, if they invite yet others to the platform, then they’ll receive an even greater future stake of tokens.
The Initiative Q team goes to great lengths to emphasize that they have the potential to become the world’s leading payment network, making Qs a precious currency that will “…eventually be granted at a value of roughly one US dollar per Q.” With a total supply of 2 trillion Qs forecasted, the network sees itself eventually valued on the level of national currencies.
Here’s where the real fun begins. Since Initiative Q has already set a future valuation for itself, they’ve begun valuing the limited allocations given to users who register. A countdown on the Initiative Q website shows the value of the next spot which, as time goes by and more people register, is continually diminishing, creating a sense of urgency. At the time of writing, the value of the next registration was $52,444.
For doing nothing more than signing up and inviting some friends to Q, you’ll potentially be rewarded with tens of thousands of dollars in the near future — if everything goes to plan.
If It Sounds Too Good to Be True, Then...
Initiative Q has turned into something of an internet hit — Wilf claims more than a million registrants have added their names to the list. According to the payment network’s roadmap:
It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. As millions join, advanced payment technologies are deployed, the payment system becomes even more popular, the Q currency becomes valuable, and rewards given to early users reach their potential value.
Sound a bit too good to be true? It very well may be, and not least of all because it’s overtly reminiscent of a classical pyramid scheme model. In a pyramid scheme, the earliest to join up receive the most significant rewards, and each generation of participants is incentivized to rope others in with promises of an increase to their bottom line. In Q’s case, registrants receive an additional 40% allocation if they invite 5 friends.
However, the Initiative Q FAQ tackles the pyramid scheme question head-on, stating that “…joining initiative Q is completely free. So, clearly, there is no money to hand up the “pyramid” to earlier members.”
Wilf believes that Initiative Q’s viral marketing tactics should be seen as similar to those used by Airbnb, Uber, and others, who encourage existing members to invite new ones with promises of rewards.
While Wilf may not be entirely off the mark, the database of valuable email addresses he’s collecting will turn out to be a great payday if the network itself doesn’t pan out.