Tezos announced the largest ICO to date, raising $232 million worth of bitcoin and ether, Forbes reported a few days ago with a post titled “Tezos’ $232 Million ICO May Just Be The Beginning.”
Tezos describes itself as “a new decentralized blockchain that governs itself by establishing a true digital commonwealth.” Tezos’ innovative approach to the governance of its blockchain platform is based on creating governance rules for stakeholders to approve of protocol upgrades that are then automatically deployed on the network.
Bancor, a blockchain platform that allows anyone to create their own cryptocurrency token and operate it independently of a third-party exchange, raised $147 million with its token sale last month. See Crypto Insider‘s interview with Bancor CEO Guy Benartzi, published in May.
In the last few months, Crypto Insider has covered many ICO records. Now, Tezos has shattered the previous Bancor record, and all seems to indicate that the current Tezos record will be beaten someday soon.
Regular Crypto Insider readers don’t need to be explained what is an ICO. For newcomers to the crypto world, an ICO – Initial Coin Offering – or token sale is an open funding mechanism for startups (or established companies), where backers are required with tokens that represent some kind of fractional ownership of an ICO project, with rights and returns defined by the project’s specific rules and enforced by its smart contracts (often on the Ethereum blockchain).
ICOs can be considered as halfway between Kickstarter and the stock market. While crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter have revolutionized the funding sector by opening new ways for teams to raise money directly from enthusiasts and future customers, ICOs go one step further and treat backers as investors. The ICO mechanism can be seen as a way to bypass securities regulations, and calls for ICO regulations have been issued, notably by the SEC in the US and the People’s Bank of China.
In the meantime, the ICO craze continues to march ahead at full speed, with no sign of slowing down. While naysayers and regulators call for caution and warn that ICOs offer insufficient protection to naive investors, others consider the token economy as a way to “democratize” venture capital and allow anyone to invest in promising startups, thus making fundraising for innovative projects much easier.
Therefore, it isn’t surprising that more and more firms are looking at the ICO sector as a promising alternative to traditional funding.
CoinDesk reports that, according to representatives from Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC (the global Big Four accounting firms), “both existing and prospective clients are beginning to ask questions about initial coin offerings (ICOs), the process by which public blockchain technologies can be leveraged to create custom cryptocurrencies that are subsequently sold to fund projects.”
“We’ve seen a definite uptick in the inquiries we are receiving,” Eamonn Maguire, who leads KPMG’s Digital Ledger Services division, told CoinDesk. “In the past month alone, we’ve probably gotten 10 inquires – for example from institutions in France, Switzerland, Russia and Austria.”
Image from Creative Commons Images.