Category Archives: Initial Coin Offering

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10-Year Token Payment Delay Show Rare Developer Commitment

Beijing-based startup Nebulas has made the decision to postpone the initial coin offering (ICO) team’s token payments. They added an additional seven years to prove their determination for the company’s success, in a rare case of altruism for the lambasted industry.

The ICO team were initially planned to be paid through reserves of the startup’s native NAS token over three years following the offering before they agreed this could take place over the forthcoming decade instead.

Nebulas’s marketing director Becky Lu said that the decision was made so that the team could focus their efforts on the ”technical vision” of the company. She said that the decision was not easy as there were still many risks surrounding the blockchain industry and the future value of NAS, saying ”I think that shows our determination”.

Further to this commitment, a blog post from the company on Medium says it will publish the addresses of the undistributed NAS tokens. These make up 55% of the total number of tokens, with 45.5 million currently in circulation.

With the number of ICOs failing to provide the business that they have promised at a shamefully high level, Nebulas’s commitment stands out and sets a high standard for quality.

Its ICO raised USD 60 million in December last year through sales of NAS. The current NAS market cap stands at approximately USD 54.9 million.

The Nebulas project

The Nebulas white paper describes the project as a “value-based blockchain operating system and search engine” with an objective of finding solutions to three key blockchain issues. These include measuring the value of blockchain applications, creating a prosperous and long-term ecosystem, and continuing the development of an existing blockchain.

It harnesses a measurement system titled the Nebulas Rank, developed to find real values using “liquidity, speed, width, and depth of capital”.

 

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Increasing ICO Interest in Thailand as 50 Apply for Licenses

In Thailand, initial coin offerings (ICOs) may soon be finding their legal footing after approximately 50 ICO projects displayed interest in applying for licenses to operate.

Application progress

According to local media outlet The Bangkok Post, the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has seen a growing interest in those wishing to raise funds through the crowdfunding method. Although, according to the SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul, it remains yet to be seen as to how many of those will be given the operating license.

Furthermore, there are roughly twenty other companies who have made applications for the licenses to operate as cryptocurrency exchanges.

He said, “Licence approvals are being processed,” adding, “Many companies interested in opening digital asset exchanges have said digital assets and cryptocurrency trading in the Thai market are quite active.”

ICO portal

Before the SEC licenses these projects, “ICO portals” will be the first to be selected. The portals are essentially online ICO marketplaces, offering platforms for ICO issuers to operate their sales. According to Sucharitakul, three out of five companies who are seeking to operate as ICO portals have filed their applications already.

In early May, proposals for cryptocurrency tax and regulations were slowly coming to fruition. This came at a time when many international governments and financial regulators were also beginning to formalize appropriate crypto-laws and legislation.

Chief executive Thuntee Sukchotrat of digital asset exchange JIBEX said, “I believe that investors will invest in digital assets instead of stocks in the future. The performance of ICOs will rise in line with ICO project performance. The investment ratio of ICOs to stocks will be on par within two years.”

Recent months

In late May, the Thai SEC established that it would monitor ICO operations and cryptocurrency related businesses. Furthermore, a regulated SEC ICO Portal was further discussed, which would allow for domestic ICOs to be issued legally.

In June, the SEC made further inroads upon the announcement of its cryptocurrency laws, though there are only seven legal cryptocurrencies, which are Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Stellar, and Ripple.

Shortly after, the SEC took five out of 50 ICO projects and announced they would be running them as pilots. Later on in August, Thailand reaffirmed its crypto-positive stance after the Bank of Thailand made it legal for local banks to issue digital tokens, provide crypto brokerage services, operate crypto-related businesses and invest in cryptocurrencies via subsidiaries.

 

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Philippine SEC Shares Draft ICO Regulations

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released a report detailing the country’s proposed initial coin offering (ICO) regulatory guidelines.

The 37-page document released by the SEC reportedly comes after consultancy with several Philippine cryptocurrency companies, including Satoshi Citadel Industries and Coins.ph.

The proposed rules would require Philippines-based startups and corporations to file applications with the SEC detailing the function of the tokens and the business operations of the company. Prior to receiving the go-ahead to hold an ICO, companies would be required to submit an initial assessment request that follows the rules of the Commission within 90 days before the beginning of the token pre-sale.

The white paper, including an operations manual detailing the system’s structure, must also be submitted, alongside the evaluation of an independent legal counsel in evidence that the tokens do not meet the requirements necessary to be registered as securities with the SEC. The proposal goes so far as to request source codes and commands in attempts to expose potential scammers.

Further to receiving approval, advisers and members of the company holding the ICO are required to undergo police clearances to show they are of ”good repute“. The report offers nine instances that a team member could disqualify the ICO, including if they are found to have made any false statements regarding the project during the process, or if they have ever been convicted of offenses including embezzlement, misappropriation, or perjury.

To combat any illicit activities of investors in the ICO, know-your-customer and anti-money laundering policies would be required from all participants.

Similarly to the US, the Philippine SEC highlights the importance of registering tokens as securities should they fall within the legal definition. As stated by US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, tokens fall under the definition of securities if there is a ”reasonable expectation of profits to be derived from the entrepreneurial or managerial efforts of others“.

 

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ICOs Only Account for Less Than 2% of Securities Lawsuits

A report released by litigation consultancy firm Cornerstone Research indicates that initial coin offerings (ICOs) account for under 2% of securities class action lawsuits – just 12 of 750 cases.

ICOs are not the main offenders… are they even securities?

With the total number of securities lawsuits at levels unmatched since 1995, the report found cases involving ICOs hit just five in the latter part of 2017, and have reached seven in 2018 so far. There have been 111 suits filed in total since the start of the year. While cases filed against American companies are reported to be on the decline, there is a growing number opened against European and Asian companies, nearly double that seen in the last decade.

Whether ICOs even classify as securities is currently up for debate. Securities can be defined as financial assets that represent a proof of ownership in the stake of a company that has intrinsic monetary value, but some argue tokens and cryptocurrencies purchased during ICOs do not qualify under this definition. This disagreement has led many to question whether the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is even the correct entity to be investigating cases involving ICOs.

Despite much bad press regarding ICOs, several of these few cases opened against crypto-related companies found fault in their reluctance to file their tokens as securities, which is a legal requirement in the US.

In one instance, Ripple (XRP) is facing three separate lawsuits from investors who lost money when they sold the tokens on. The plaintiff in one of these cases argues the XRP classifies as a security because i) they must be purchased with money, ii) investors reasonably expect to profit from them due to Ripple’s own promotional efforts, and iii) the profits collected are determined by the company’s management decisions.

The Massachusetts branch of the SEC suspended five cryptocurrency companies offering ICOs in March this year because they had all failed to register their tokens as securities.

In February, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton declared that ICOs must meet securities regulations, ”end of story”, although in June the SEC voted that Ethereum did not meet the definition of a security. Ethereum and Ripple have fundamentally different structures and use-cases for them, but it indicates a more reasoned, practical approach may be taken by the SEC in the future.

 

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SEC Chairman Doesn’t Believe Every ICO is a Scam; Japan and South Korea Charge Ahead Toward Regulation

Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), gave a speech at a Princeton University event that provided fascinating insight into his evolving views on how to approach initial coin offerings (ICOs) as well as how to classify and regulate cryptocurrencies.

Not every ICO is a scam

Essential discussions that delve deeper into blockchain technologies, ICOs and cryptocurrencies are taking place all over the world. Perhaps now that the markets are cooling off, the topic of how to legitimize the lucrative technology is finally on the table.

During the event, the SEC chairman disregarded that all ICOs were fraudulent scams, bearing contrast to his position in February. At a Senate hearing, Clayton declared he was “unhappy” with how ICOs were conducted, based on the fact that they did not follow private placement rules, and that there were some fraudulent ICO operators.

Clayton made a potent remark that brought to light a solution for a lesser-mentioned problem: what happens if the technology continues to have fraudulent actors? He said:

“I think if we don’t stop the fraudsters, there is a serious risk that the regulatory pendulum – the regulatory actions will be so severe that they will restrict the capacity of this new security.”

Overseas efforts

The United States isn’t the only country wrestling with the ICO debate; in Japan, a recent government-backed study revealed that it now is looking to bring forth the proper legal and regulatory frameworks to give the go-ahead on the popular capital-raising method.

The report included guidelines that will identify investors, which will prevent money laundering, which acts as a protection for existing shareholders and debt holders, making “unfair” trading practices such as insider trading a thing of the past for cryptocurrencies.

The report also goes on to classify three types of ICOs:

The “venture company type” is the typical fundraising method and is defined as “fund-raising by venture companies through high-risk, high return investments”.

The second is the slightly lesser known “ecosystem type” which is described as “fund-raising for collaborative efforts in which multiple corporations such as companies and local governments are engaged”.

The third and probably least known of them all is the “large company type”, which is for “fund-raising by companies for certain in-house projects with high risk”.

Advancements in the United States and Japan are steering the future of cryptocurrency in the right direction; BitcoinNews recently reported that South Korea is making preparations to tax cryptocurrencies, which may come off as alarming, but can be a vital spoke in the regulatory wheel.

Rallying support

What makes it even less alarming is that the third largest fiat-to-Bitcoin market in the world is also preparing to have a cryptocurrency for its capital city, and in fact, the United States and Japan are above South Korea in the fiat-to-Bitcoin market listing.

It is evident that despite the constant negative press, cryptocurrencies are part of very progressive discussions taking place in the largest markets in the world. It is these serious pioneering efforts that will make blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies validated as part of the economy.

 

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