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What the heck is an Initial Coin Offering anyway?

 Wither the I.C.O.

By MIT Technology Review


You may have heard a buzz surrounding the new fundraising tool known as an ICO, which is how many new blockchain startups are raising cash.

But for those of you who are too embarrassed to ask, let us tell you what they’re all about.


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5 Responses

  1. More on Bit Coin

    The ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ says ICOs are ‘the biggest scam ever’




  2. Why People Get Religious About Bitcoin

    The Bitcoin phenomenon isn’t about a bunch of people all believing the cryptocurrency is a good investment. That’s part of it. But for many, the passion runs deeper—to a point where you could almost call their belief in Bitcoin’s power to transform society an article of faith. Where does this fervor come from? To understand, it’s important to keep in mind that “the blockchain” is not really a thing.

    A blockchain is a shared, permanent, encrypted dataset, created by a network of computers according to a set of software rules. But there are different ways to set up those rules. The word “blockchain” is like the word “vehicle,” explains Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at Coin Center, a blockchain-focused think tank. Saying you are putting something on “the blockchain” is like saying you are going to use “the vehicle” to travel overseas. It makes more sense to talk about “about cars, trains, boats or rocketships, depending on what it is about the vehicles that we are interested in,” Van Valkenburgh argues.


    Bitcoin is one type of vehicle that gets the most attention, and deservedly so. Its blockchain was the first, it’s been running the longest, and its network is the biggest. To many people, Bitcoin’s breakthrough is just as much about social innovation as it is technical. They believe the new model it represents can revolutionize how people share value and do business online.

    There’s a good reason for that—Bitcoin’s revelation has been profound. It has shown that it is possible to use a network of computers, connected via the Internet, to build and maintain a set of valuable shared data—in this case a ledger of account balances that prevents counterfeiting—without the need for a trusted authority. Think about that: from a bunch of anonymous computers that have no reason to trust one another, an iron clad network has emerged that can support a whole currency—literal money, what could be a more valuable target for hacking or compromise? And yet there it stands, unperturbed amid the chaos of the Internet.

    It’s heady stuff. And little wonder, then, that people seem united in their belief that the incorruptible math underlying Bitcoin’s blockchain could, if adapted properly, make business processes in a range of industries vastly more efficient.

    Still, Bitcoin faces big questions over how it should modify its software to adapt to its growing popularity. Keeping the system running uses vast amounts of energy. And its blockchain, though encrypted, is public, meaning transactions can be traced. Bitcoin’s younger cousin Ethereum generally shares these characteristics. Meanwhile, some industries that stand to benefit most from blockchains—finance and health-care, for example—are also highly regulated with respect to data privacy and security. Some say the best course is to pursue different kinds of vehicles, like blockchains that have been modified to require permission to access.

    To Bitcoin acolytes, though, that misses the point. Bitcoin’s scaling issues, energy use, and even its privacy challenges can be addressed through research and development, they argue. They say “permissionless” blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum, whose networks are open to anyone who wants to use and build on them, can form a new kind of Web in which we won’t have to trust banks, corporations, or governments with our valuable data.

    In other words, as author and MIT blockchain researcher Michael Casey argues in his latest CoinDesk column, open blockchains could “save us from the Internet’s original sin.”


    Ann Miller RN MHA


  3. The ICO bubble could be bursting

    The bottom is falling out of one of the biggest initial coin offerings of the year, and it could be a harbinger of turbulence to come in the frothy token market, into which investors have poured more than $2.3 billion in 2017. A new class-action lawsuit against the project’s organizers alleges that they violated securities laws and defrauded investors.


    Alarms began sounding a few weeks ago, when Reuters reported that a fight had broken out between the founders of Tezos, which raised $232 million in an ICO earlier this year, and a Swiss foundation they had partnered with. But Kathleen Breitman, one of the lead developers of the Ethereum-like cryptocurrency (which has yet to launch), assured a conference audience in Las Vegas two weeks ago that the controversy surrounding the project would would soon “blow over.”

    More like blow up.

    The lawsuit, which refers to the Reuters reporting, seeks refunds and damages, claiming that Breitman and her fellow organizers illegally sold unregistered securities.

    It’s a safe bet that there will be more ICO-focused lawsuits in the coming months, perhaps even more aimed at Tezos. As we’ve explained, although there is a genuine innovation at the heart of the novel fundraising craze, governments are still sorting out the legal implications of the practice, and the ICO market is crawling with scammers.



  4. The SEC speaks

    Hours after the Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had halted a second initial coin offering in less than a week, SEC chair Jay Clayton published a lengthy statement expressing his views on the controversial new fundraising schemes.


    Among other things, Clayton warned investors to be wary of cryptocurrency and ICOs, and urged them to do their due diligence. But he also said not all tokens are necessarily securities, so they may not all fall under the SEC’s jurisdiction.

    Dr. David Marcinko MBA


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