Regulation Ramps Up on ICOs as Celebrities Endorse Offerings


OH SNAP, here come the “party poopers”. But NOBODY should be surprised. Just as soon as things get wild and fun and the money is flowing someone always comes along to spoil it (parents, teachers, police, etc). This time it’s……..“THE REGULATORS”. But let’s give them credit. After the past year or so of ICOs becoming a huge factor in capital raising the “reg-cops” now kind of maybe think they should be regulated, as they see celebrity endorsements from Floyd Mayweather, Paris Hilton and the like.  And, THEY SHOULD. To be a legitimate source of capital, there needs to be some oversight and regulation. Note to the global regulators; don’t overdo it. Raising capital for smaller ventures (cheaply) is extremely important and the ICOs serve a great function. Mumble mumble…….stupid fun killers.
(Bill Taylor/CEO)

“I’M GONNA make a $hit t$n of money on August 2nd on the ICO.” Written in July on Instagram, these words made Floyd Mayweather, a boxer, the first big celebrity to endorse an “initial coin offering”, a form of crowdfunding that issues cryptographic coins, or “tokens”. Stox, an online prediction market, went on to raise more than $30m, some of which seems to have gone directly into Mr. Mayweather’s pocket. Other VIPs, including Paris Hilton, a socialite, followed suit and endorsed ICOs. But this source of easy cash may now be drying up: on November 1st America’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) warned that such promotions may be unlawful, if celebrities fail to disclose what they receive in return.

The endorsements and the SEC’s attempt to rein them in are the latest episodes of token mania. Virtually unknown a year ago, ICOs are now more celebrated than initial public offerings (IPOs), the conventional way of floating a firm. Over the past 12 months $3.3bn has been raised in more than 200 ICOs, according to Coinschedule, a data provider—compared with only about $70m in the same period a year ago. This surge is one reason for the boom in bitcoin, a crypto-currency, which was worth around $7,500 on November 2nd. As Benjamin Lawsky, a former securities regulator in New York, put it recently: “Regulators have never seen a new financial product explode with the speed and velocity [of ICOs]…”

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