Increasing Interest of VCs in ICOs
Despite the growing concerns of regulators over the ICOs, venture capitalists (VCs) have shown increasing interest in these offerings. However, what they are more interested in is the equity stakes rather than the proceeds from coin sales. Moreover, the growth of security tokens is expected as regulators intervene.
According to the statistics by CoinDesk, the funding has increased dramatically in the blockchain based firms, and startups have managed to raise about $434 million in just 3 months since December. Although, the token industry in the United States is under the scrutiny of the Security and Exchange Commission, piqued interest by VCs is an indication that digital currency business will experience growth.
Frank Meehan, the partner in SparksLab Group, said that if a firm gets an initial coin offering, the value of his equity will increase; this is exactly what it is all about. He also added that they have invested in 6 blockchain companies. In fact, the blockchain fund of 100 million dollars that was launched at the end of 2017 is a part of the Group.
Betting on Blockchain Companies
As discussed, investors have increasingly funded the blockchain startups during the past three months. CoinDesk data releaved that token sales have surged and startups raised funds of over $3 billion via ICOs during the first 2 months of 2018. It is more than 50 percent of what they raised in 2017.
According to the statistics by TokenData, last year 46 percent of the token startups either suffered from failure after the offering or could not complete funding. It further revealed that so far in 2018, a total of 50 startups have failed out of 340. There is no surprise as to why the failure rate is so high. After all, it is just a white paper and many of the products they are offering are not even functional — the technology has not even been tested on a mass scale.
VCs Are Cautious About Investing Too Much Too Soon
Therefore, some investors would wait for these firms to mature, while waiting for the decision regulatory authorities might take in future. Investors are looking for established companies, which means startups should raise money to fund their marketing and developing activities.
A managing director of Insight Venture Partners, Lonne Jaffe, acknowledged it by saying that it is a good time for them to be cautious, as they won’t be missing out on anything big. He furthered it by saying that they will start investing once firms begin to scale up; they have also been communicating with their portfolio firms about how they can serve the startups and use blockchain technology. He also revealed that they have a total of $18 billion in raised-capital for over 300 firms, which also includes Twitter Inc.
Pressure from the Regulators?
Although, there is a well-established regime by the regulatory authorities, the regulations for initial coin offerings are still evolving. The Treasury Department in the United States issued a letter on March 6, in which, it was stated that issue tokens will be considered as money transmitters; they will be required to follow the know-your-customer and bank secrecy guidelines.
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of SEC said that every offering he has come across is a security, even if token startups believe they are not. In fact, last month in March, Google, Facebook, and Twitter joined hands to ban advertisements for coin sales and ICOs. Also, the leading digital currency, Bitcoin, reduced in value by 8.7 percent.
Investors are interested to purchase security tokens with some kind of security attached in the form of equity or other assets as it will serve as a cushion in case there is some kind of regulatory shock in the future.
The co-founder of Securitize.io, Jamie Finn, has revealed that they plan to raise billions and have more than 100 startups in the pipeline. They provide a platform to issue tokens that have some sort of backing, such as company revenue or equity.
Currently, there is hardly any exchange that trades security tokens. An SEC-registered broker-dealer, Templum LLC, has been offering this service. It is an alternative trading system.
Besides, compared to a conventional startup equity that remains tied up for years, tokens backed by equity are traded more easily. Finn also added that after the end of lockdown, a person can even sell the equity-backed tokens. Moreover, one can easily purchase and sell them online. Similarly, family offices can directly invest in these securities rather than investing via funds.