Dell announced that it is considering an IPO (Initial Public Offering) of its common stock, a reverse merger with VMware Inc. (VMW.N), in which it already owns an 80% stake, or an asset sale. One of the goals of this action is to enable them to continue to participate in the highly competitive data storage market, where cloud-based companies such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Azure dominate. But there’s one thing that Dell should consider instead: an ICO (Initial Coin Offering). Let’s look at the landscape.
Dell is the world’s largest privately held technology company. With the proliferation of smart phones and tablets, the demand for desktop computers, and even notebook computers, has plummeted. Outside of work, most people’s needs are served by small, portable, internet-enabled devices.
If we look at the story of Apple as a case study, they were losing in the PC market. How did they survive? They completely reinvented their business model. They became the makers of trendy, functional portable music devices, and eventually the iPhone. Today, the iPhone has nearly 20% of the global smartphone market. Could Dell reinvent itself in a similar manner, and capture a previously untapped market? Of course they can, and an ICO could be the vehicle that could help them achieve such a feat.
If the only objective were to raise money, then I would say that an IPO would be perfectly fine. But I would argue that this is not enough to remain competitive. Like Apple, Dell needs a facelift. Using cloud storage as an example, more money isn’t going to take market share away from Amazon or Google. They already dominate the space. But what if they could approach it from a different angle?
There are several blockchain companies that are already approaching cloud storage from a different angle. They’re offering decentralized file storage, using the blockchain to facilitate the process. Taking it one step further, one of the latest players in this space is SONM (SNM), offering a decentralized cloud computing solution. This company gives people the ability to lease out unused computing power to other users on the network, using SNM coins as the network’s currency. Rather than just leasing out storage space, a user can earn coins for letting others use their otherwise unused GPU or CPU power. Not bad, right?
Dell could explore cloud storage and computing from many angles. Certainly a centralized component to it would be necessary from a profitability standpoint, but imagine a scenario where users could utilize a decentralized Dell token in a similar, decentralized manner to SONM. To maintain profitability, Dell would sell custom hardware that takes advantage of such technology, similar to ASICs and other mining rig hardware that’s being sold today.
Companies like Dell need to rethink traditional solutions if they want to survive this century. Things are moving fast, and arguably, an ICO would provide them with a greater competitive advantage than an IPO ever could.