Undertakings of great advantage: The market in Initial Coin Offerings risks becoming a bubble

  • ICO “coins” are essentially digital coupons, tokens issued on an indelible distributed ledger, or blockchain, of the kind that underpins bitcoin, a crypto-currency.
  • In a way, bitcoin was the first ICO—except that instead of putting money in directly, investors had to buy computing gear to “mine” (ie, mint cryptographically) the tokens.
  • And since most ICOs have no link to any particular jurisdiction, it is hard to see what investors could do if issuers abscond with their money.
  • Even ICO fans fret that an offering will blow up, as did Mt. Gox, an early bitcoin exchange, in 2014.
  • Albert Wenger of Union Square Ventures, another venture-capital firm, argues that ICOs help finance projects that today remain unfunded, in particular “protocols”—code enabling computer systems to work together.

WOULD you care to invest in Gnosis, a prediction market where users can bet on outcomes of events such as elections? Or in ZrCoin, a project to produce zirconium dioxide, used to make heat-resistant alloys? How about an “immersive reality experience” called “Back to Earth”?

@TravinKeith: Nice to see @adelphoi_io mentioned in @TheEconomist. #blockchain #ICO

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Undertakings of great advantage: The market in Initial Coin Offerings risks becoming a bubble