Despite being banned in China and regulated more strictly in the US, initial coin offerings (ICOs) for blockchain-based startups are going to be drumming up large amounts of funding for a while yet.
A new report by Coindesk quantifies the ICOs market before the two crackdowns above were announced: it claims that ICOs raised $797m in the second quarter of 2017 alone, taking the total for the year so far to more than $1.7bn – including around $650m in the third quarter so far.
As we’ve explained before, ICOs involve startups selling ‘tokens’ for their new cryptocurrencies. Some of the concerns around this method of funding concern the lack of regulatory oversight compared to traditional IPOs and VC funding – startups can promise the earth in an ICO without having to deliver real proof that they can deliver it.
Which is far from saying they’re all crooks: some serious, well-managed blockchain startups are using an ICO to raise funding, but others are… less so. Some blockchain music startups have gone down the ICO route already: in recent months we’ve covered Voise, Musiconomi and Aventus.