Notwithstanding ban orders from several countries and social platforms, volume of funding from initial coin offering (ICO) in the first three months of 2018 has surpassed what was raised from all of 2017.
A report from IdentityMind Global sent to BusinessDay, disclosed that more than $6 billion was raised via ICOs and security token offers (STOs) in 2017 up from $10 million in 2014. In the first quarter (Q1) of 2018 however, ICO volume was $6.3 billion.
“Looking out over the remainder of 2018, I anticipate continued robust ICO market growth coming with increased regulatory scrutiny,” said Garrett Gafke, CEO of IdentityMind Global. “Previously, there was an emphasis on utility-based tokens but we are now seeing a movement toward securities-based ICOs. We also expect that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) will increase their examination of ICOs and take actions against those not following US regulations.”
ICOs describe a fundraising mechanism in which new projects sell their underlying crypto tokens in exchange for bitcoin, ethereum or any other cryptocurrency. SureRemit, a remittance firm issued a token, Remit, during its ICO fund raise. The company raised a record $7 million in funding from investors.
The first token sale took place in 2014 when seven projects raised a total of $30 million. The largest that year was ethereum – over 50 million ethers were created and sold to the public raising over $18 million.
Countries like China and India have placed an official ban on ICO citing incidences of fraud and breach of financial guidelines.
Sentiments in these countries regarding ICOs is that of black market, especially considering its purely virtual presence and the fact that it was designed to operate on a peer-to-peer basis.
Apart from countries, organisations such as Google, Baidu and Facebook have all banned ICO advertisement on their platforms, leading many analysts to predict a difficult period for startups intending to raise funds by issuing tokens.
IdentityMind’s Q1 report suggests that ICOs when done right are not a threat to regulators. However certain regulatory requirements must be followed.
The IdentityMind platform is pre-configured with a set of know your customer (KYC) rules that map the US and the international community and allows ICOs to perform accredited investor validation on the participants.
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