We may be over the first rush of ‘initial coin offerings’ (ICOs) given the growing number of blockchain startups announcing funding from more traditional sources. Singapore-based MusicLife is the latest example around music, raising a $5m Series A funding round led by Metropolis VC.
Ceek is one of the startups looking for a business model in broadcasting music concerts in virtual-reality. Now it’s adding a splash of blockchain technology into its mix, and yes, inevitably this involves a token sale.
“Ceek tokens can be used to purchase VR event tickets and access VIP interactions with artists,” explained tech site TheNextWeb. “Users will even have the chance to vote on what performances they would like to see – using their tokens.”
What’s more, Ceek is planning to launch something called the Celebrity Coin Mint, which will enable individual artists to create their own tokens, rather than go through the entire process of launching their own initial coin offering (ICO).
Fears that the mania for blockchain startups and initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a bubble will hardly be assuaged by a new report published by news site Bitcoin.com.
“Tokendata, one of the more comprehensive ICO trackers, lists 902 crowdsales which took place last year,” it explained. “Of these, 142 failed at the funding stage and a further 276 have since failed, either due to taking the money and running, or slowly fading into obscurity. This means that 46% of last year’s ICOs have already failed.”
Dutch startup Guts Tickets is one of the companies exploring blockchain technology’s potential for the music industry – but in its case, the focus is on selling tickets rather than recorded music.
The company has just raised $2.5m through 2017’s buzziest funding mechanism: an initial coin offering (ICO). However, this is just from the pre-sale: Guts Tickets says it expects to raise another $17m when the ICO gets officially underway on 17 November.
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.
The Chinese government has banned initial coin offerings (ICOs), claiming that businesses raising funding through offers of virtual coins or tokens are engaging in “essentially a form of unapproved illegal public financing behaviour”.
The government has also suggested that ICOs “raise suspicions” of financial fraud and other criminal activity, and is warning Chinese companies that have raised money through ICOs already – as much as $766m in July and August according to the Financial Times – that they must refund the money to investors.
We’ve written a few times recently about the boom in ‘initial coin offerings’ (ICOs) for blockchain-based startups.
It’s a way of raising money by selling ‘tokens’ for a new cryptocurrency in exchange for an existing one, like Ether or bitcoin. One analyst recently claimed that more than $1.2bn has been raised in ICOs in the first half of 2017 alone.
There are concerns: first about the impact on the wider market – for example the value of Ether shot up from $8 at the start of 2017 to nearly $400 last month, before tumbling again – and also about the lack of regulation of ICOs compared to other kinds of funding. Now experts are speaking out about these.
The New York Times has a good piece on one of the new tech-funding trends of 2017: initial coin offerings (ICOs for short).
It’s an alternative to VC investment or crowdfunding for startup entrepreneurs: “Instead, before they even have a working product, they are creating their own digital currencies and selling so-called coins on the web, sometimes raising tens of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes,” is its handy definition of an ICO.