Havas Group launches blockchain offering

Havas Blockchain officially launches in May.

Fabien Aufrechter is leading Havas Blockchain.
Fabien Aufrechter is leading Havas Blockchain.

PARIS: Havas Group is launching a blockchain offering in May to support businesses and entrepreneurs trying to break through in the burgeoning space.

Havas Blockchain will launch with a focus on supporting initial coin offerings, or fundraising rounds for cryptocurrencies, but the Paris-based agency will be highly selective in its clientele.

"Let’s be honest, it’s what the cofounder of Ethereum [Vitalik Buterin] said himself: 90% of ICOs are going to fail," said Fabien Aufrechter, a Havas Paris consultant that leads Havas Blockchain. "So the idea is to go for the 10% that are going to succeed."

Last year, ICOs raised $5.6 billion, but about half of the 913 attempted ICOs failed. The 435 successful projects raised an average of $12.7 million.

As a result, Havas argues for "sustainable ICOs," or ICO projects with "strong teams, a clear structure and token model, and a rigorous methodology."

Its first project is an ICO scheduled for spring 2018 for Talao, a platform that connects freelancers and corporations, a statement said. Aufrechter said the agency won’t take on more than seven clients every year, pursuing "quality over quantity."

Havas has adopted a practice Aufrechter called "bounty." Essentially, the agency offers tokens to people who obtain PR actions, such as getting retweeted by two people. Since "the price of the token is based on repetition," advertising for the token will increase its value as more people buy it.

"It’s a brand new kind of communication and it’s interesting because you can be very fast at [creating] communities," Aufrechter said.

Havas will take payment in the form of both cash and tokens. For Aufrechter, having a direct stake in the ICO signifies a shift in the relationship between Havas and the company it’s supporting.

"We will always take a [portion] of tokens, because it means we’re not going to have a relationship of client-agency, but of one of being a partner in the project," Aufrechter said.

In Paris, Aufrechter oversees a team of five staffers. An additional three staffers make up the global team across seven different countries.

The offering will be supported by Blockchain Partner, a French consultancy formed as a result of a merger between Blockchain France and Labo Blockchain in 2017, its website states.

This partnership will give Havas Blockchain capabilities in strategic, technical, and legal advice. It will enable them to help navigate clients on issues such as regulatory compliance worldwide.

Also, AMO, a global PR network Havas is part of, will bolster the offering with its reach, particularly in the ICO hub of Asia, including Russia, Korea, Japan, and Singapore.

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