The Price of Bitcoin Cratered in 2018. But Here’s Why ICOs and VC Funding to Crypto Is Breaking Records

The Price of Bitcoin Cratered in 2018. But Here's Why ICOs and VC Funding to Crypto Is Breaking Records

WAN CHAI, HONG KONG, HONG KONG ISLAND
A Bitcoin ATM machine in Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

The value of cryptocurrency poster child Bitcoin may be flagging heading into the second half of 2018, but excitement in the space only appears to be increasing—at least, when considering venture capital funding and initial coin offerings (ICOs) during the first half of 2018. Indeed—if 2017 was a windfall for Bitcoin owners, 2018 has so far been a nightmare. The cryptocurrency has shed roughly 50% in value since the new year and is now at about $7,400, far from its all-time high of $20,000 in December. Similarly, jobs listings related to Bitcoin and blockchain appear to have followed the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency’s price.

Amid the dark days for crypto enthusiasts, however, are signs that investors still believe that cryptocurrency trading will continue to grow, and are also betting on the future of its underlying technology—blockchain. Take venture capital funding that goes to early-stage, often highly risky, startups, as an example. Globally, venture investors poured in $964 million into blockchain or cryptocurrency-related startups in 2017. Now, not even half way through 2018, investors have already exceeded the prior year’s funding by plowing $1.4 billion into such startups.

Though cryptocurrency values have fallen 46% to $329 billion according to CoinMarketCap, venture capitalists such as David Pakman, a partner at Venrock, still think trading of such assets will rise in the long run. “There is so much institutional money waiting” for a properly regulated cryptocurrency exchange, said Pakman, whose firm struck a partnership recently with New York-based firm CoinFund, which helps entrepreneurs build startups using blockchain. “We’re not watching the price of the cryptocurrencies as a barometer of the health of the industry. We are wondering which projects will gain large market share, and what new problems they may solve.”

Much of those gains in venture capital funding have also been driven by investors who see promise in blockchain, a database held by multiple parties that updates in real time, says Nizar Tarhuni, associate director of research and analysis at PitchBook. Developers have looked into using blockchain to solve a host of problems, from tracking pork and diamonds to solving the refugee crisis. With increasing regulatory scrutiny on ICOs, which became popular in 2017 as a way for startups to raise funds more cheaply and quickly, some investors may also be looking instead to get into crypto by funding companies through more traditional means such as venture capital, says Andy Tang, managing director at Draper Dragon Fund.

“We see more investors investing in equity rather than tokens themselves. Because tokens are still a grey area in the U.S. Equities are not,” he said. That continued bullishness in the crypto space has led to the four largest venture capital deals in the industry yet, including a $133 million fundraise for Basis, a firm creating a coin with a set value, and $122 million to R3, an enterprise blockchain startup, according to PitchBook data. But here lies the paradox. Despite this increased regulatory scrutiny in nations such as the U.S. and China, fundraising from ICOs has only risen since last year.

The hot new thing of 2017, initial coin offerings were billed as a way to raise startup funding quickly, and cheaply—cutting out advisors and middlemen. But government officials have questioned issuers’ claims that some ICOs don’t involve equity stakes, and therefore are not subject to more onerous securities regulations. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has recently cracked down on the space, while the Chinese government has sought to ban ICOs outright. Still, investors and ICO issuers have continued seemingly without concern in 2018. Investors have poured $9.2 billion year-to-date into ICOs, according to Coinschedule, into a total of 343 offerings so far. Notably, Coinschedule also includes pre-sales, such as that of secure messaging platform Telegram’s massive $1.7 billion raise. That dollar amount this year dwarfs what ICOs raised a year earlier: about $3.9 billion spread across 210 deals.

So who is investing in ICOs? Mostly investors outside of the U.S. and China, says Coinschedule CEO Alex Buelau, in countries with more ICO-friendly regulations. “Most ICOs now have a clause that you can’t be an American or a Chinese investor to be a part of this ICO,” he said. “So now ICOs are based out of Singapore, Estonia, Malta, or Gibraltar.” In some cases, governments, such as Venezuela, have even embraced cryptocurrency, with the country’s $735 million pre-sale of Petro coin, a digital currency pegged to the price of oil, now considered the second largest ICO of the year.

Less regulatory oversight though, may not always be a positive sign. Included in Coinschedule’s ICO figures may be fundraises by startups with shoddy track records, buoyed by investors who similarly, may not have enough experience to make such investment decisions. Meanwhile, the infrastructure to deal with hackers and scammers seeking to get a piece of ICO funds is still weak. During the anticipated $4 billion EOS ICO, which is set to conclude 7 p.m. Friday, some investors said they had fallen prey to phishing scams.

And there lies the flip side to the increasing funds moving into crypto. The bottom line for venture capitalists: Early stage companies are risky, and much of the dollars going in may never come out. “There’s high amounts of early stage speculation in cryptocurrency startups that could be really risky,” said Pakman. “And a bunch of those projects could never ship, or ship and end in failure.“

Article Produced By
The Ledger-Bitcoin

http://fortune.com/2018/06/01/bitcoin-price-ico-2018-record-billions/

 

How to avoid getting duped by a bogus initial coin offering

How to avoid getting duped by a bogus initial coin offering

  • 271 initial coin offerings have appeared so far in 2018, according to Coindesk. In 2017, there were 340.
  • In the last several years, investors have poured more than $12 billion into ICOs.
  • Red flags include promising high investment returns and accepting credit cards for investors to buy in.

"There's a real chance the [Securities and Exchange Commission] or another regulator won't be able to recover your investment, even in cases of fraud," said Lori Schock, director of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.

An ICO involves the sale of digital coins or tokens, which are typically used to fund a project that involves blockchain technology. In simple terms, this technology — which underlies bitcoin and its crypto brethren — ensures that all transactions using it are secure. Some ICOs are pitching either a new cryptocurrency (i.e., the next bitcoin wannabe) or could be exchangeable for one that is planned by the ICO's promoters. Others might give investors the right to use the coins toward a product or service that

will be offered.

"There's a real chance the [Securities and Exchange Commission] or another regulator won't be able to recover your investment, even in cases of fraud." -Lori Schock, Director of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy

While not all of these digital assets are considered securities — regulators have said it depends on the specifics of each ICO — many meet the definition of a security and therefore are subject to U.S. securities laws. Already this year, 271 of these offerings have appeared, according to Coindesk. That's on top of more than 340 in 2017. In the last several years, investors have poured more than $12 billion into ICOs. However, the SEC says no ICOs have been registered to date.

Rather, the SEC's Cyber Unit — which has only been around since last September — has brought several fraud cases against operators of ICO offerings. Just this week, the agency announced that it has obtained a court order to shut down an alleged ICO scam that pulled in $21 million in investor money. In total, the SEC alleges $600 million has been raised in fraudulent schemes.

State securities regulators also have been busy. During the first three weeks of May alone, the North American Securities Administrators Association's "Operation Cryptosweep" resulted in nearly 70 inquiries and investigations and 35 pending or completed enforcement actions related to ICOs or cryptocurrencies. Additionally, other investigations into potentially fraudulent conduct are under way, and that's on top of more than a dozen enforcement actions previously undertaken by state regulators.

Even if a particular ICO is held with good intentions, there's no way of ensuring you'll ever see a return on your money. In fact, as is the case with any investment, you could lose all of it. Worse, you face the risk of criminals being behind the ICO and absconding with your money. And if the perpetrators are located overseas, the task of tracking down your investment could be impossible.

"The currency might be virtual, but the pain is real," Schock said. Both federal and state securities regulators have been engaged in public outreach to warn investors about the risks associated with ICOs and cryptocurrencies. The SEC even created its own bogus website to show investors what an ICO scam could look like.

Here are some of the big red flags to watch for.

Promise of huge returns

Generally speaking, investing comes with no promises. So if you're looking at an ICO that is pledging a certain return on your investment, you probably should walk away. "There are no guarantees when it comes to investing,"

Schock said. "A guaranteed return is a major red flag."

"There are no guarantees when it comes to investing. A guaranteed return is a major red flag." -Lori Schock, Director of the SEC's Office of Investor Education and Advocacy

 

Credit cards welcome

If you're invited to use your credit card to buy into the ICO, be very wary. Most licensed and registered investment firms don't let their clients use credit cards to buy investments or fund an account. Remember, too, credit card debt typically comes with interest charges if you can't pay off the balance immediately. So that investment could cost you more than anticipated. "If you don't have the money to buy it outright, you certainly can't afford to go into debt for it," Schock said.

 

The deal will disappear

Often, scammers will use high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency in the deal."Anything that pushes you to take action now, or discounts that disappear or countdown clocks … those are red flags of fraud," Schock said.

What else you should do

Even if the ICO's white paper — which details the investment and has become a standard with ICOs — looks legit and makes sense to you, don't let that be the end of your due diligence. Look into the people behind the offering. Scam ICOs have included pictures and bios of nonexistent workers. Make sure you can independently confirm that the executives listed are real people with credentials. Additionally, don't let a celebrity endorsement — real or fake — draw you in. The SEC has warned that it could involve a paid promotion, and that the person pitching the ICO might have little understanding of what they're recommending.

Article Produced By
Sarah O'Brien

Personal finance reporter

Sarah O'Brien reports for CNBC's personal finance team.
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/30/how-to-avoid-getting-duped-by-a-bogus-initial-coin-offering.html

 

South Korea’s National Assembly Makes Official Proposal to Lift ICO Ban

South Korea’s National Assembly Makes Official Proposal to Lift ICO Ban


Nearly eight months after a blanket ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs),
 
South Korea’s National Assembly has reportedly made an official recommendation to allow domestic ICOs in the country. According to a report by Business Korea on Tuesday, the 300-member national legislature has made an official proposal to allow domestic ICOs in the country by preparing and adhering to relevant investor protection provisions.

The National Assembly’s special committee on the fourth industrial revolution even accused the government of ‘neglecting its duty’ in responding to the blockchain sector, the report suggests. The much-publicized ICO bans by Korea and China before it has seen an exodus of domestic companies going to friendlier jurisdictions in Singapore and Switzerland to conduct ICOs.

Discussions on blockchain and ICOs between the National Assembly and the government will ‘accelerate’, the report suggests. More pointedly, the National Assembly has put forward a legislative and policy proposal to recommend allowing ICOs. The committee on the 4th industrial revolution also called on the government to form a task force comprising of both public officials and private experts to “improve transparency of cryptocurrency trading and establish a healthy trade order.”

It further stated:

“The administration also needs to consider setting up a new committee and building governance systems at its level in a bid to systematically make blockchain policy and efficiently provide industrial support. We will also establish a legal basis for cryptocurrency trading, including permission of ICOs, through the National Assembly Standing Committee.”

The legislative effort first came to light earlier this month when a group of lawmakers led by Rep. Hong Eui-rak of the Democratic Party of Korea – the ruling government – began drafting a bill to legalize the launch of new ICOs in the country. “The bill is aimed at legalizing ICOs under the government’s supervision[…],” he said at the time. “The primary goal (of the legislation is helping remove uncertainties facing blockchain-related businesses.”

The embracive turn follows recent remarks from the new chief of Korea’s financial watchdog who has chosen to put the spotlight on the “positive aspects” of cryptocurrencies while suggesting authorities will relax cryptocurrency curbs in what is among the world’s largest crypto trading markets.

Article Produced By
ICO News

https://www.ccn.com/south-koreas-national-assembly-makes-official-proposal-to-lift-ico-ban/

 

 

What is an ICO, Exactly?

What is an ICO, Exactly?

crypto

From Wall Street brokers to small time investors,

finance can be a dangerous game. The world’s currencies are constantly in shift, falling in and out of favour, and the results can often be disastrous (or highly fortuitous) for those involved. People win and lose big. That’s a fact of life, and it’s no different when cryptocurrencies are involved instead of regular cash. Having taken the world by storm in the past decade, the blockchain tech behind Bitcoin, Litecoin and other altcoins has changed finance – and money itself – forever. But how does one go about bringing a virtual currency into existence? Well, that’s where ICOs come in.

A Dictionary Rundown

An ICO is an initial coin offering much similar to an IPO. An initial public offering involves a new company selling shares to investors, the process underwritten by an investment bank. The company stocks are then listed on various markets. When it comes to an ICO however, no stocks or shares are sold.

Instead, it’s all about coins.

When somebody wants to launch a new cryptocurrency they’ll advertise its perks with something called a White Paper, then ask for investment from the public. Interested parties then donate existing cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, and in return receive some of the first rounds of, let’s say, ProfitCoin. The hope is that ProfitCoin will gain popularity, be used a lot, and as such rise in value. The investors will then, well, make a profit from their ProfitCoin ICO. Either way, they’re supporting the ecosystem and development of cryptocurrency in general.

ICOs vs Standard Investing

But why bother with an ICO? There are stocks, gold, oil, salt and pepper to be bought and sold after all. Forex already exists. Why venture into this new zone of risk and exploration? Well, put quite simply, because you may regret it otherwise. How many tech savvy folks and investors are kicking themselves for not jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon years ago? With ICOs, said folks now have a second chance to find the next cash cow. It’s a gamble, yes, but a relatively informed one if you take the time to research. If you were to head over to the Paddy Power Casino, make your deposit, get your bonus and take to the roulette table, for example, you’d be taking a similar informed risk. You can work out the odds, see the potential for a win, and decide whether or not to take it.

An ICO is similar, but instead of knowledge of cards or probability, you need knowledge of the cryptocurrency world. You need to read the new coin’s White Paper first things first, and then you can decide whether or not to go ahead.

The All Important White Paper

An ICO White Paper is the cornerstone of any new coin campaign. It lays out what this new currency can offer that others have not, it explains how the idea works, why it works, and why it’s better than what’s come before. It is, in essence, a business pitch; interesting, thorough, well-explained. A White Paper is addressed first and foremost to you, and to other potential initial coin investors around the globe – so best brush up before trading in your precious Bitcoin for ProfitCoin. The world of finance changed when cryptocurrency came into existence, even more so when it grew into a global market. Now the world of crypto is changing thanks to ICOs, and with every White Paper comes a new opportunity to win big.

Article Produced By
FinSMEs

http://www.finsmes.com/2018/11/what-is-an-ico-exactly.html

What Is An ICO Token And How Does It work?

What Is An ICO Token
And How Does It work?

What’s the definition of crypto token?

It's an entity with a value specified by the eminent. If it's a fashion startup, one token can be equal to one dress or a yearly license of a software in case of a hi-tech startup. You even can issue tokens of yourself and a token holder will be able to buy an hour of your work with the token. You can “tokenize” everything.

What’s the difference between cryptocurrency coins and tokens?

This is a difficult part. The easiest answer: tokens are not a currency. You don’t need to create a Blockchain to issue tokens, which is a must-have for a cryptocurrency, but you use an existing one (usually Ethereum, which was originally created as a platform for smart contracts and evolved to be a currency). A coin is a money equivalent, something that defines value and serves as a value transfer. A token is a symbol of a contract, the value does not depend on mining, gold price or any dynamic market criteria. A friend of mine once gave me a note saying that he will always make me a coffee on demand. He still does it, after 10 years, it was a heck good token!

What is a token contract and how does it work?

Ok, a token is not a coin, got it. But still, something should regulate it’s transaction, value etc? How does that work? You do need a platform for it. Let’s take Etherium as an example, since its one of the most popular platforms for smart tokens.

Here is the full contract cycle:

  1. Tokens creation: a company writes the basic rules (tokens amount, token value, special conditions). Once created the platform will serve as a very smart notary for all the future transactions, making sure all the conditions are carried out.
  2. Tokens acquisition: when somebody wants to buy a token, the process is really similar to buying a coke in a vending machine. You approach a machine, drop the coin and push the button “coke” (choose the token you want to buy). The machine checks if there are “cokes” in stock and if you are eligible to buy it. If everything is fine- you get your drink (or token in our case). The machine says “have a nice day” and updates the stock info (one coke less now).
  3. Token transaction: In case you have a coke, you can just pass it to your friend. For money or for free. In tokens reality, you have your token wallet which is supported by the same platform that issued the token. You can transfer your token using the wallet. And again, a virtual notary, powered by a smart contract, will make sure you do it according to the rules. Moreover, all the wallets activity is constantly recorded and being updated.

Is all this free? Nope. Somebody needs to pay for the notary, vending machine technician and coke delivery. In the token world – the operation processing called “gas.” So, each time you ask to buy or sell tokens, there will be some “gas” spent and you will pay its fee.

Note: the fee is not static. It depends on a number of transactions awaiting. You can define the max cap you are willing to pay for your gas. If the token cost is, say, $10 and the gas fee is $20 is not a great deal, isn’t it? So, you can say that you pay no more than $2 for your gas, click “submit” and find something else to do meanwhile. The system will serve the highest gas bids first and eventually yours when your time will come. There is a chance, you will wait for a long time (if others are willing to pay more than you). But you always can rise the gas cap.

Types of tokens

Let’s see the most common types of tokens.

Token – token (Utility tokens), the most popular type

Remember amusements parks from the childhood? Roller coasters, carousels, hot dogs and cotton candy? At the entrance, you’ve got tokens to buy food and enter the attractions. So, let’s pretend that a company is an amusement park and with the tokens, you can buy different services just as you do with carousels and hot dogs. Now, to make the analogy perfect, let’s say that you can buy lots of tokens before the park is officially opened, or when it’s just opened. If the park becomes popular, its tokens will be much more expensive. Like $10 for a hot dog. But a smart child who bought the tokens before the opening will still enjoy his meal for $1. This is basically the idea behind issuing and buying tokens. But if in the amusement park you buy the tokens at the entrance, where do you get a cryptocurrency token? The answer is ICO – Initial Coin Offering.

Token – stock (Equity tokens)

In this case, ICO is completely equal to IPO. Usually, token-stocks are issued when a startup does not require a crypto-technology. In this case, token holders will get dividend or fixed commission. They also will be able to take part is the company decisions. All this honor for supporting the project in the beginning of its life.

Token – credit

This is a loan; a holder gives to a startup. It’s another way to rise money. For example, you invest X to get X + 10 percent.

Token – combo

If you are not completely confused, you will be now: sometimes a token can belong to more than one type. For example, tokens Sia and Digix are both tokens and stocks. And Steemit has all the three types of tokens (Steem, Steem Dollars (SBD) and Steem Power (a denomination of VESTS).

How do you trade tokens?

This part is pretty similar to coins. You have to register on an exchange for buying and selling tokens. The transaction conditions can be really complicated: the contract can include multiple rules like “you can sell it only before a specified date” or “after some date but only for a certain vendor.” So, when investing in tokens, you should read the “small letters” really thoroughly.

Article Produced By
Cointelegraph

https://cointelegraph.com/ico-101/what-is-an-ico-token-and-how-does-it-work

 

France Attempts to Attract New Cryptocurrency ICO Token Issuers with New Legal Framework

France Attempts to Attract New Cryptocurrency ICO Token Issuers with New Legal Framework

France Tries to Attract Crypto-Issuers

France is looking to improve its stance toward cryptocurrencies by allowing their use, but with regulations in place to provide oversight. If France does establish regulations to oversee cryptocurrencies, it will be the first country in the world to do so, insofar as it relates to initial coin offerings. Those who are pro-regulation argue that coin issuers that agree to the regulation will be viewed as more trustworthy by investors, thus leading to more credibility in the long-term. Regulatory authorities will also issue a certification to issuers. It is important to note that issuers will also need to relent to having their profits taxed.

According to Fabrice Heuvrard, an auditor with a government task force responsible for developing accounting-related rules for ICOs, “The community is ready to pay taxes as long s they are not confiscatory.” France is looking to release new rules regulating the industry by next year. By regulating the industry and coaxing cryptocurrency platforms out of the shadows, so to say, the country may be able to create a market for companies interested in raising capital for ICOs and all the while receiving revenue and enhancing security for those who invest.

France is not the only country moving in such a direction. For example, though England does not regulate ICOs, it does have some financial oversight to determine whether the issuance of an ICO is under the purview of regulatory authority. As for the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been considering establishing that ICOs and cryptocurrency are subject to the commission’s purview. However, the country has yet to establish strict rules. On the far end of the spectrum, China has completely banned cryptocurrencies due to concerns about fraud.

The position that France is taking may be a positive approach because it allows investors to verify the parties involved in the issuance of a new coin and they can also determine what happens if a project is unsuccessful. This ultimately leads to more confidence in the process. As of late, the country has had ICOs that have raised 90 million euros. According to businessman and CEO of a Canada-based company, “The different regulators have been hyper, hyper proactive.” A French official also pointed out that there are still issues related to the tax status and whether it has been settled. Right now, the country needs to consider how much revenue is being raised and what is the best tax rate.

Allard stated,

“Our plan is to declare the money raised as revenue and pay taxes on the profits we will make on those revenues. Since we are not close to making any profits, it doesn’t really affect us.”

Article Produced By
Bitcoin Exchange Guide News Team

https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/france-attempts-to-attract-new-cryptocurrency-ico-token-issuers-with-new-legal-framework/

Crisis: After $30 Billion Invested, Most Crypto ICOs Have Nothing to Show

Crisis: After $30 Billion Invested, Most Crypto ICOs Have Nothing to Show

Over the past two years,

initial coin offering (ICO) projects in the crypto market have raised more than $30 billion. Yet, most ICO projects have little to show, especially pertaining to user growth, blockchain adoption, and overall user activity on decentralized systems.

It Will Only Get Worse

A handful of tokens have demonstrated success in establishing clear vision, growth paths, and valid use cases of blockchain technology that benefits users. Binance Coin (BNB), for instance, which already operates as the base cryptocurrency of the Binance exchange, will be extensively utilized to process peer-to-peer trades upon the launch of the Binance decentralized exchange (DEX). Tens of thousands of merchants have also recently started to use BNB to accept crypto payments.

0x (ZRX), the native cryptocurrency of the 0x decentralized exchange protocol, is necessary to facilitate liquidity amongst many decentralized exchanges that operate on top of the 0x protocol. While there are several tokens in the market that represent viable applications of the blockchain, the vast majority of projects have ambiguous roadmaps and long-term strategies.

As Uber’s Sam Gellman said:

“After $30 billion invested in the past two years in ICOs there still isn’t a single crypto app with a real user base for anything other than speculating on crypto. The BTC price movement is tough, but the lack of real user base for anything they’re investing in is tougher.”

With regulatory hurdles set forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the ICO ecosystem will become even more difficult for both innovators and projects. This week, the U.S. SEC cracked down on two ICO projects called AirFox and Paragon, characterizing their token sales as unregistered security offerings and requesting the two tokens to refund all of their investors. “They have also agreed to compensate investors who purchased tokens in the illegal offerings if an investor elects to make a claim. The registration undertakings are designed to ensure that investors receive the type of information they would have received had these issuers complied with the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) prior to the offer and sale of tokens in their respective ICOs.”

The U.S. SEC emphasized that it is in support of the blockchain and the usage of newly emerging technologies. But, the commission said that market participants must acknowledge and adhere to local regulations. “We wish to emphasize, however, that market participants must still adhere to our well-established and well-functioning federal securities law framework when dealing with technological innovations, regardless of whether the securities are issued in certificated form or using new technologies, such as blockchain.

Importance of Bear Market

The bear market of 2018 will filter good projects from the bad, and those that survive will be projects that have a clear vision, roadmap, active user base, and a competitive model. As the capital in the market drops, investors who previously invested in every new project in the market will become more cautious and it will be challenging for token sales without competitive strategies to appeal to the public. Over time, as investors learn to conduct due dilligence and the market evolves into a more competitive sector, underperforming projects will naturally see a decline in investment opportunities, user activity, and demand.

Article Produced By
Blockchain News

https://www.ccn.com/crisis-after-30-billion-invested-most-crypto-icos-have-nothing-to-show/

University of British Columbia Study: ‘Compliance Trilemma’ Limits Potential of ICOs

University of British Columbia Study: ‘Compliance Trilemma’ Limits
Potential of ICOs

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are facing a regulatory
“compliance trilemma,”

according to a recent study released Nov. 19. The research, funded by regtech platform iComply and “supported by” Canadian non-profit national research organization Mitacs Canada, was carried out by the University of British Columbia (UBC).To prepare the report, UBC’s research team investigated the ICO space over the course of six months, focusing primarily on North America, but also delving into some other countries and jurisdictions. The team conducted 45 qualitative interviews with individuals in the ICO space, including representatives of the finance, law, and science sectors of the field.

Per the study, ICO issuers face a “trilemma,” wherein they can only address two of three objectives at a time, those being “having a compliant offering,” “reaching a distributed pool of investors,” in a manner that is “cost-effective.” The researchers define compliance as following regulations in the home jurisdiction of both the issuer and investor. While a broadly distributed pool of investors is said to be the principal benefit of an ICO as a funding mechanism, the cost of complying with financial regulators becomes “much greater” if the investor pool becomes more distributed.

“If issuers forgo these costs, the risk of being non-compliant rises significantly. The result is a trilemma, whereby issuers currently must forgo one of these goals to realize the other two, or to compromise on all three,” the study explains. The trilemma further reveals four basic approaches available to ICO issues, which are “the Maverick ICO,” “the Private ICO,” “the Hybrid ICO,” and no ICO at all. The first option refers to ignoring compliance for maximizing ICO reach and cost effectiveness, which reportedly runs a huge risk of regulatory enforcement.

The second approach focuses on targeting only accredited and institutional investors by sacrificing distribution, which may not affect cost-effectiveness but raise challenges in secondary market trading control. Regarding the Hybrid ICO, the report reads that it “compromise[s] on all three dimensions by issuing in select markets, resulting in bounded cost effectiveness, compliance and investor scope,” resulting in a combination of risks.

The researchers found that companies wishing to undergo an ICO sought relief from the trilemma through relevant regulatory authorities. Participants in the study reportedly called for amendments to regulation, including clarifications of existing regulation and development of “fundamentally new” regulatory definitions and frameworks. The study concludes that this “trilemma” has “substantially limited [the] potential” of ICOs,

noting:

“Many actors with legitimate ventures that could benefit from ICOs are likely holding back, due to combination of confusion over how exactly they might comply with financial regulations within and across jurisdictions, and the prohibitive costs of doing so manually.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, ICO performance in the third quarter of 2018 was in part characterized by “overall disappointment," in comparison with previous quarters. Last week, Cointelegraph reported that in a self-described “first,” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had imposed civil penalties against two ICOs over their failure to register their token sales with the agency.

Article Produced By
Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/study-compliance-trilemma-limits-potential-of-icos