University of British Columbia Study: Compliance Trilemma’ Limits Potential of ICOs

University of British Columbia Study: ‘Compliance Trilemma’ Limits
Potential of ICOs

Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are facing a regulatory
“compliance trilemma,”

according to a recent study released Nov. 19. The research, funded by regtech platform iComply and “supported by” Canadian non-profit national research organization Mitacs Canada, was carried out by the University of British Columbia (UBC).To prepare the report, UBC’s research team investigated the ICO space over the course of six months, focusing primarily on North America, but also delving into some other countries and jurisdictions. The team conducted 45 qualitative interviews with individuals in the ICO space, including representatives of the finance, law, and science sectors of the field.

Per the study, ICO issuers face a “trilemma,” wherein they can only address two of three objectives at a time, those being “having a compliant offering,” “reaching a distributed pool of investors,” in a manner that is “cost-effective.” The researchers define compliance as following regulations in the home jurisdiction of both the issuer and investor. While a broadly distributed pool of investors is said to be the principal benefit of an ICO as a funding mechanism, the cost of complying with financial regulators becomes “much greater” if the investor pool becomes more distributed.

“If issuers forgo these costs, the risk of being non-compliant rises significantly. The result is a trilemma, whereby issuers currently must forgo one of these goals to realize the other two, or to compromise on all three,” the study explains. The trilemma further reveals four basic approaches available to ICO issues, which are “the Maverick ICO,” “the Private ICO,” “the Hybrid ICO,” and no ICO at all. The first option refers to ignoring compliance for maximizing ICO reach and cost effectiveness, which reportedly runs a huge risk of regulatory enforcement.

The second approach focuses on targeting only accredited and institutional investors by sacrificing distribution, which may not affect cost-effectiveness but raise challenges in secondary market trading control. Regarding the Hybrid ICO, the report reads that it “compromise[s] on all three dimensions by issuing in select markets, resulting in bounded cost effectiveness, compliance and investor scope,” resulting in a combination of risks.

The researchers found that companies wishing to undergo an ICO sought relief from the trilemma through relevant regulatory authorities. Participants in the study reportedly called for amendments to regulation, including clarifications of existing regulation and development of “fundamentally new” regulatory definitions and frameworks. The study concludes that this “trilemma” has “substantially limited [the] potential” of ICOs,

noting:

“Many actors with legitimate ventures that could benefit from ICOs are likely holding back, due to combination of confusion over how exactly they might comply with financial regulations within and across jurisdictions, and the prohibitive costs of doing so manually.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, ICO performance in the third quarter of 2018 was in part characterized by “overall disappointment," in comparison with previous quarters. Last week, Cointelegraph reported that in a self-described “first,” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had imposed civil penalties against two ICOs over their failure to register their token sales with the agency.

Article Produced By
Ana Alexandre

Total change in her career took Anastasia into the world of analytics and business information as a researcher and translator in 2010. Some time later she got into FinTech, a dynamically developing segment at the intersection of the financial services and technology. Ana joined Cointelegraph in September 2017.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/study-compliance-trilemma-limits-potential-of-icos

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Crisis: After 30 Billion Invested Most Crypto ICOs Have Nothing to Show

Crisis: After $30 Billion Invested, Most Crypto ICOs Have Nothing to Show

Over the past two years,

initial coin offering (ICO) projects in the crypto market have raised more than $30 billion. Yet, most ICO projects have little to show, especially pertaining to user growth, blockchain adoption, and overall user activity on decentralized systems.

It Will Only Get Worse

A handful of tokens have demonstrated success in establishing clear vision, growth paths, and valid use cases of blockchain technology that benefits users. Binance Coin (BNB), for instance, which already operates as the base cryptocurrency of the Binance exchange, will be extensively utilized to process peer-to-peer trades upon the launch of the Binance decentralized exchange (DEX). Tens of thousands of merchants have also recently started to use BNB to accept crypto payments.

0x (ZRX), the native cryptocurrency of the 0x decentralized exchange protocol, is necessary to facilitate liquidity amongst many decentralized exchanges that operate on top of the 0x protocol. While there are several tokens in the market that represent viable applications of the blockchain, the vast majority of projects have ambiguous roadmaps and long-term strategies.

As Uber’s Sam Gellman said:

“After $30 billion invested in the past two years in ICOs there still isn’t a single crypto app with a real user base for anything other than speculating on crypto. The BTC price movement is tough, but the lack of real user base for anything they’re investing in is tougher.”

With regulatory hurdles set forth by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the ICO ecosystem will become even more difficult for both innovators and projects. This week, the U.S. SEC cracked down on two ICO projects called AirFox and Paragon, characterizing their token sales as unregistered security offerings and requesting the two tokens to refund all of their investors. “They have also agreed to compensate investors who purchased tokens in the illegal offerings if an investor elects to make a claim. The registration undertakings are designed to ensure that investors receive the type of information they would have received had these issuers complied with the registration provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 (“Securities Act”) prior to the offer and sale of tokens in their respective ICOs.”

The U.S. SEC emphasized that it is in support of the blockchain and the usage of newly emerging technologies. But, the commission said that market participants must acknowledge and adhere to local regulations. “We wish to emphasize, however, that market participants must still adhere to our well-established and well-functioning federal securities law framework when dealing with technological innovations, regardless of whether the securities are issued in certificated form or using new technologies, such as blockchain.

Importance of Bear Market

The bear market of 2018 will filter good projects from the bad, and those that survive will be projects that have a clear vision, roadmap, active user base, and a competitive model. As the capital in the market drops, investors who previously invested in every new project in the market will become more cautious and it will be challenging for token sales without competitive strategies to appeal to the public. Over time, as investors learn to conduct due dilligence and the market evolves into a more competitive sector, underperforming projects will naturally see a decline in investment opportunities, user activity, and demand.

Article Produced By
Blockchain News

https://www.ccn.com/crisis-after-30-billion-invested-most-crypto-icos-have-nothing-to-show/

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All About Airdrops

All About Airdrops

What is an airdrop?

An airdrop is simpy a marketing tool that many companies are using to drum up press for new blockchain projects. The concept is simple: You help a company with some of their initial marketing efforts by following them on social media, and they reward you with free tokens once the project launches. In many ways, airdrops represent free money. Using Quarry, you can apply for most airdrops in just a few minutes, and the rewards can range from a few dollars in value all the way up to hundreds in rare cases.

What do I need?

The first thing you need is an ERC20-compatible ETH wallet. If you’re using Quarry, don’t sweat it, because this has already been made for you. Airdrops will ask for your public address (not your private key!) in order to send you the tokens.

Beyond that, the majority of airdrops require:

  • an email address
  • a Telegram account
  • a Twitter account
  • a Facebook account

Rarely, a small number of airdrops may optionally require:

  • a Reddit account
  • a Medium account
  • a Discord account
  • a LinkedIn account
  • an Instagram account
  • a Steemit account
  • a Bitcointalk forum account
  • an Altcoinstalks forum account
  • a VK account
  • an AngelList account

If possible, you might want to consider using alternate social media accounts, instead of your personal pages. This will avoid cluttering your feed with too much token-related news, but it’s up to you. In Quarry, we even highlight on the airdrop page what accounts you will need ahead of time, so that there are no suprises on the page. Note that you never have to give any information that you aren’t comfortable sharing.

Are Airdrops Scams?

No. It’s a very fair trade. For one, having a lot of people following and reposting a project’s content on social media helps a company with brand awareness, much like advertising. Ideally, by the time the project launches, there are already thousands of people aware of the concept and excited to see it in action. Additionally, distributing airdrop tokens to participants actually helps the economics of the token on public exchanges, since the tokens are not concentrated in just a few locations.

In the past, a small number of scammers have pretended to run airdrops in order to steal information from unsuspecting partipants. One of the advantages of using Quarry is that we screen all airdrops before they enter the app to ensure that they are legitimate. However, just in case, please be vigilant. No airdrop should ever ask for:

  • your wallet’s private key (note: your public address is fine to share)
  • any kind of password
  • any amount of money

As long as you don’t hand out this information, you have nothing to fear.

When do airdrops pay out?

In general, an airdrop will pay out several weeks after completion. In some cases, it could take a few months. If you completed an airdrop and don’t see the coins yet, don’t panic! Most likely, the airdrop will distribute when the token crowdsale is complete.

What do I do when the tokens are paid out?

That’s up to you. Because projects doing airdrops are in very early stages of development, it is possible that the tokens will increase in value over time (remember when Bitcoins cost $5 each?), so it might be worth it to hold onto them for a while. However, if you would prefer to sell them once they hit the market, there are many token exchanges available online and on the Quarry “Discover” menu.

Article Produced By
Token Block Friends

We’re Token Block Friends, your buddies in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain applications.

https://tokenblockfriends.com/all-about-airdrops/

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France Attempts to Attract New Cryptocurrency ICO Token Issuers with New Legal Framework

France Attempts to Attract New Cryptocurrency ICO Token Issuers with New Legal Framework

France Tries to Attract Crypto-Issuers

France is looking to improve its stance toward cryptocurrencies by allowing their use, but with regulations in place to provide oversight. If France does establish regulations to oversee cryptocurrencies, it will be the first country in the world to do so, insofar as it relates to initial coin offerings. Those who are pro-regulation argue that coin issuers that agree to the regulation will be viewed as more trustworthy by investors, thus leading to more credibility in the long-term. Regulatory authorities will also issue a certification to issuers. It is important to note that issuers will also need to relent to having their profits taxed.

According to Fabrice Heuvrard, an auditor with a government task force responsible for developing accounting-related rules for ICOs, “The community is ready to pay taxes as long s they are not confiscatory.” France is looking to release new rules regulating the industry by next year. By regulating the industry and coaxing cryptocurrency platforms out of the shadows, so to say, the country may be able to create a market for companies interested in raising capital for ICOs and all the while receiving revenue and enhancing security for those who invest.

France is not the only country moving in such a direction. For example, though England does not regulate ICOs, it does have some financial oversight to determine whether the issuance of an ICO is under the purview of regulatory authority. As for the United States, the Securities and Exchange Commission has been considering establishing that ICOs and cryptocurrency are subject to the commission’s purview. However, the country has yet to establish strict rules. On the far end of the spectrum, China has completely banned cryptocurrencies due to concerns about fraud.

The position that France is taking may be a positive approach because it allows investors to verify the parties involved in the issuance of a new coin and they can also determine what happens if a project is unsuccessful. This ultimately leads to more confidence in the process. As of late, the country has had ICOs that have raised 90 million euros. According to businessman and CEO of a Canada-based company, “The different regulators have been hyper, hyper proactive.” A French official also pointed out that there are still issues related to the tax status and whether it has been settled. Right now, the country needs to consider how much revenue is being raised and what is the best tax rate.

Allard stated,

“Our plan is to declare the money raised as revenue and pay taxes on the profits we will make on those revenues. Since we are not close to making any profits, it doesn’t really affect us.”

Article Produced By
Bitcoin Exchange Guide News Team

https://bitcoinexchangeguide.com/france-attempts-to-attract-new-cryptocurrency-ico-token-issuers-with-new-legal-framework/

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What Is An ICO Token And How Does It work?

What Is An ICO Token
And How Does It work?

What’s the definition of crypto token?

It's an entity with a value specified by the eminent. If it's a fashion startup, one token can be equal to one dress or a yearly license of a software in case of a hi-tech startup. You even can issue tokens of yourself and a token holder will be able to buy an hour of your work with the token. You can “tokenize” everything.

What’s the difference between cryptocurrency coins and tokens?

This is a difficult part. The easiest answer: tokens are not a currency. You don’t need to create a Blockchain to issue tokens, which is a must-have for a cryptocurrency, but you use an existing one (usually Ethereum, which was originally created as a platform for smart contracts and evolved to be a currency). A coin is a money equivalent, something that defines value and serves as a value transfer. A token is a symbol of a contract, the value does not depend on mining, gold price or any dynamic market criteria. A friend of mine once gave me a note saying that he will always make me a coffee on demand. He still does it, after 10 years, it was a heck good token!

What is a token contract and how does it work?

Ok, a token is not a coin, got it. But still, something should regulate it’s transaction, value etc? How does that work? You do need a platform for it. Let’s take Etherium as an example, since its one of the most popular platforms for smart tokens.

Here is the full contract cycle:

  1. Tokens creation: a company writes the basic rules (tokens amount, token value, special conditions). Once created the platform will serve as a very smart notary for all the future transactions, making sure all the conditions are carried out.
  2. Tokens acquisition: when somebody wants to buy a token, the process is really similar to buying a coke in a vending machine. You approach a machine, drop the coin and push the button “coke” (choose the token you want to buy). The machine checks if there are “cokes” in stock and if you are eligible to buy it. If everything is fine- you get your drink (or token in our case). The machine says “have a nice day” and updates the stock info (one coke less now).
  3. Token transaction: In case you have a coke, you can just pass it to your friend. For money or for free. In tokens reality, you have your token wallet which is supported by the same platform that issued the token. You can transfer your token using the wallet. And again, a virtual notary, powered by a smart contract, will make sure you do it according to the rules. Moreover, all the wallets activity is constantly recorded and being updated.

Is all this free? Nope. Somebody needs to pay for the notary, vending machine technician and coke delivery. In the token world – the operation processing called “gas.” So, each time you ask to buy or sell tokens, there will be some “gas” spent and you will pay its fee.

Note: the fee is not static. It depends on a number of transactions awaiting. You can define the max cap you are willing to pay for your gas. If the token cost is, say, $10 and the gas fee is $20 is not a great deal, isn’t it? So, you can say that you pay no more than $2 for your gas, click “submit” and find something else to do meanwhile. The system will serve the highest gas bids first and eventually yours when your time will come. There is a chance, you will wait for a long time (if others are willing to pay more than you). But you always can rise the gas cap.

Types of tokens

Let’s see the most common types of tokens.

Token – token (Utility tokens), the most popular type

Remember amusements parks from the childhood? Roller coasters, carousels, hot dogs and cotton candy? At the entrance, you’ve got tokens to buy food and enter the attractions. So, let’s pretend that a company is an amusement park and with the tokens, you can buy different services just as you do with carousels and hot dogs. Now, to make the analogy perfect, let’s say that you can buy lots of tokens before the park is officially opened, or when it’s just opened. If the park becomes popular, its tokens will be much more expensive. Like $10 for a hot dog. But a smart child who bought the tokens before the opening will still enjoy his meal for $1. This is basically the idea behind issuing and buying tokens. But if in the amusement park you buy the tokens at the entrance, where do you get a cryptocurrency token? The answer is ICO – Initial Coin Offering.

Token – stock (Equity tokens)

In this case, ICO is completely equal to IPO. Usually, token-stocks are issued when a startup does not require a crypto-technology. In this case, token holders will get dividend or fixed commission. They also will be able to take part is the company decisions. All this honor for supporting the project in the beginning of its life.

Token – credit

This is a loan; a holder gives to a startup. It’s another way to rise money. For example, you invest X to get X + 10 percent.

Token – combo

If you are not completely confused, you will be now: sometimes a token can belong to more than one type. For example, tokens Sia and Digix are both tokens and stocks. And Steemit has all the three types of tokens (Steem, Steem Dollars (SBD) and Steem Power (a denomination of VESTS).

How do you trade tokens?

This part is pretty similar to coins. You have to register on an exchange for buying and selling tokens. The transaction conditions can be really complicated: the contract can include multiple rules like “you can sell it only before a specified date” or “after some date but only for a certain vendor.” So, when investing in tokens, you should read the “small letters” really thoroughly.

Article Produced By
Cointelegraph

https://cointelegraph.com/ico-101/what-is-an-ico-token-and-how-does-it-work

 

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A token airdrop may not spare you from securities regulation

Blockchain token based projects need network effects.

There needs to be a mechanism for fairly and widely distributing tokens to in order for the project to function well upon launch. A popular method thus far has been to sell those tokens in advance to prospective users of the network that are interested in crowdfunding its development. Another, lesser known, strategy is an “airdrop.”

In an airdrop, a project’s creators can take a snapshot of a public blockchain, such as Bitcoin’s or Ethereum’s, and send tokens to all wallet addresses containing some number of bitcoin or ether at the time the snapshot was taken. This requires no action on the recipient's part other than to take whatever steps are needed to take control of the tokens once they have been gifted. It can be a way to jumpstart a community by instantly putting tokens in the hands of a lot of people with a proven level of cryptocurrency savvy. This seems like something totally new and unique to token projects, right? Not really. It turns out people have tried airdropping before, but with stocks. And the SEC did not look favorably

upon the tactic.

In each of the four cases, the investors were required to sign up with the issuers' web sites and disclose valuable personal information in order to obtain shares. Free stock recipients were also offered extra shares, in some cases, for soliciting additional investors or, in other cases, for linking their own websites to those of an issuer or purchasing services offered through an issuer. Through these techniques, issuers received value by spawning a fledgling public market for their shares, increasing their business, creating publicity, increasing traffic to their websites, and, in two cases, generating possible interest in projected public offerings.

So, since the SEC has found that some tokens can be securities, if you are considering using an airdrop token distribution be warned that even giving away tokens is not necessarily free from scrutiny under securities law.e briefed Congress on tracking illicit cryptocurrency use and moderated a convening on ICO regulatory uncertainty.

This was a big week for cryptocurrency in DC.

On Tuesday, members of Congress and over 50 representatives from the crypto industry convened at the Library of Congress for a roundtable entitled “Legislating Certainty for Cryptocurrencies.” The event was organized by Rep. Warren Davidson and also attended by Reps. Tom Emmer, Ted Budd, and Darren Soto. Coin Center executive director Jerry Brito moderated the event, and entrepreneurs voiced their concerns about the lack of clarity around when exactly a cryptocurrency token is or is not a security.

Following the roundtable, 14 members of Congress, led by Rep. Budd, sent a letter to SEC Chairman Jay Clayton echoing the concerns of cryptocurrency innovators and asking for more clarity around the regulatory treatment of these networks. In another event in Congress on Wednesday, in conjunction with the the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, Coin Center put on a briefing about the tools law enforcement has to track illicit use of cryptocurrencies. Blockchain forensics company Elliptic presented how their product works with real-world examples of illicit funds being traced by law enforcement. Reps. Emmer and Schweikert also gave remarks highlighting the importance of getting the regulatory approach to these technologies right and preserving a fertile climate for innovators in America.

Article Produced By

Peter Van Valkenburgh

https://coincenter.org/link/a-token-airdrop-may-not-spare-you-from-securities-regulation

 

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What is an ICO Exactly?

What is an ICO, Exactly?

crypto

From Wall Street brokers to small time investors,

finance can be a dangerous game. The world’s currencies are constantly in shift, falling in and out of favour, and the results can often be disastrous (or highly fortuitous) for those involved. People win and lose big. That’s a fact of life, and it’s no different when cryptocurrencies are involved instead of regular cash. Having taken the world by storm in the past decade, the blockchain tech behind Bitcoin, Litecoin and other altcoins has changed finance – and money itself – forever. But how does one go about bringing a virtual currency into existence? Well, that’s where ICOs come in.

A Dictionary Rundown

An ICO is an initial coin offering much similar to an IPO. An initial public offering involves a new company selling shares to investors, the process underwritten by an investment bank. The company stocks are then listed on various markets. When it comes to an ICO however, no stocks or shares are sold.

Instead, it’s all about coins.

When somebody wants to launch a new cryptocurrency they’ll advertise its perks with something called a White Paper, then ask for investment from the public. Interested parties then donate existing cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin, and in return receive some of the first rounds of, let’s say, ProfitCoin. The hope is that ProfitCoin will gain popularity, be used a lot, and as such rise in value. The investors will then, well, make a profit from their ProfitCoin ICO. Either way, they’re supporting the ecosystem and development of cryptocurrency in general.

ICOs vs Standard Investing

But why bother with an ICO? There are stocks, gold, oil, salt and pepper to be bought and sold after all. Forex already exists. Why venture into this new zone of risk and exploration? Well, put quite simply, because you may regret it otherwise. How many tech savvy folks and investors are kicking themselves for not jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon years ago? With ICOs, said folks now have a second chance to find the next cash cow. It’s a gamble, yes, but a relatively informed one if you take the time to research. If you were to head over to the Paddy Power Casino, make your deposit, get your bonus and take to the roulette table, for example, you’d be taking a similar informed risk. You can work out the odds, see the potential for a win, and decide whether or not to take it.

An ICO is similar, but instead of knowledge of cards or probability, you need knowledge of the cryptocurrency world. You need to read the new coin’s White Paper first things first, and then you can decide whether or not to go ahead.

The All Important White Paper

An ICO White Paper is the cornerstone of any new coin campaign. It lays out what this new currency can offer that others have not, it explains how the idea works, why it works, and why it’s better than what’s come before. It is, in essence, a business pitch; interesting, thorough, well-explained. A White Paper is addressed first and foremost to you, and to other potential initial coin investors around the globe – so best brush up before trading in your precious Bitcoin for ProfitCoin. The world of finance changed when cryptocurrency came into existence, even more so when it grew into a global market. Now the world of crypto is changing thanks to ICOs, and with every White Paper comes a new opportunity to win big.

Article Produced By
FinSMEs

http://www.finsmes.com/2018/11/what-is-an-ico-exactly.html

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