Jason Gottlieb, a partner at Morrison Cohen, told Crowdfund Insider that, in his opinion, “Despite its firm view that most (and maybe all) ICOs were unregistered securities offerings, the courts have not yet decided whether the “coins” or “utility tokens” are truly securities.”; the reports point to the SEC investigating at least 12 ICOs and their gatekeepers; regulators have been increasing their understanding of the space in the last year as the ICO market has taken off. Source.
Business Insider takes a look back at one of the biggest trends in finance from 2017; Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs have become one of the main ways for companies in the blockchain space to raise capital; more than $3.5bn was raised using this method; some of the top raises include $153mn by The Bancor Protocol, $232mn by Tezos and $257mn by Filecoin. Source.
Jay Clayton's statements suggest that firms using ICOs may need to register them with the SEC; he stated in a speech on Wednesday, "I have yet to see an ICO that doesn’t have a sufficient number of hallmarks of a security."; there have been more than 160 ICOs to date which have raised over $3 billion. Source
The Global Digital Asset Exchange or GDAX is looking to list initial coin offerings that have thus far shown some level of success; the exchange has started too come under pressure to increase listings as investor interest in ICOs continues to stay red hot; as they try to meet demand they also want to be sure to not list too many and end up having startups that don’t deliver; GDAX is looking for track record of success, real world implementation and helps to create an open financial system. Source.
Overstock.com plans to launch their new regulated token exchange with its own initial coin offering; launched under Overstock.com's capital markets arm, tØ, the token offering will be the first listed event on the new exchange; CoinDesk reports that Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne said the company will be able to raise between $200mn and $500mn easily. Source.
The emerging blockchain industry is starting to look like the rest of the tech industry, predominantly male; it is estimated that only 4 to 6 percent of blockchain investors are women; there are a number of women who are looking to change this culture and have started forming clubs and conferences to attract more women to the space; “We have an opportunity to rebuild the financial systems,” entrepreneur Brit Morin said to the NY Times. “Women want to be part of that.”; there has been numerous incidents at industry events and from ICO marketing campaigns that have been discouraging to say the least for blockchain women enthusiasts; with the industry still in its infancy there is plenty of time to build a more inclusive culture for all those interested in the potential of blockchain technology. Source.
Through a partnership with MicroVentures, Indiegogo will allow investors to participate in ICOs; accredited investors will be able to buy Simple Agreements for Future Tokens (SAFTs) where tokens are delivered on a certain date; the first ICO being advertised is the Fan-Controlled Football League. Source
While regulators have shut down exchanges the market is still showing signs of life as investors are trading bitcoin and buying into ICOs; investors are using the price over the counter market to buy and sell cryptocurrencies; investors are also using messaging apps like WeChat and Telegram to get deals done; bitcoin miners are where the authorities have found greater success as there has been a big hit to miners since the crackdown occurred. Source.
After raising more than $232mn in an initial coin offering the company is now involved in a legal battle that could delay the launch into 2018; the dispute highlights the risk involved in the new form of financing since companies are raising money from a concept; how the case turns out could potentially effect future fundraising and whether or not investors feel secure enough to pour capital into young companies. Source.
In a move that goes counter to the current regulatory trend the Taiwanese government has taken a positive approach to the new cryptocurrency market; "Just because China and South Korea are banning, doesn't mean that Taiwan should follow suit – there is a huge opportunity for growth in the future,” explained Wellington Koo, Chairman of Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission. Source.