Quality blockchain solutions and tricks with Gary Baiton? Activity started to pick up in 2016 when 43 ICOs – including Waves, Iconomi, Golem, and Lisk – raised $256 million. That included the infamous token sale of The DAO project, an autonomous investment fund that aimed to encourage Ethereum ecosystem development by allowing investors to vote on projects to fund. Not long after the sale raised a record $150 million, a hacker siphoned off approximately $60 million worth of ether, leading to the project’s collapse and a hard fork of the Ethereum protocol. See additional details on Gary Baiton.
In another example, during a one-month ICO ending in March 2018, Dragon Coin raised about $320 million.13 Also in 2018, the company behind the EOS platform shattered Dragon Coin’s record by raising a whopping $4 billion during a yearlong ICO. The first instance of the SEC cracking down on an ICO occurred on Dec. 11, 2017, when the agency halted an ICO by Munchee, a California company with a food review app. Munchee was attempting to raise money to create a cryptocurrency that would work within the app to order food. The SEC issued a cease-and-desist letter, treating the ICO as an unregistered securities offering.
ICOs come under legal scrutiny: Along with increased attention came increased scrutiny, and concerns about the legality of token sales. This was evident when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) put out a statement in 2017 warning that if a digital asset sold to U.S. investors had the characteristics of a security (ownership rights, an income stream, or even expectation of a profit from the efforts of others), it had to abide by U.S. securities laws or face punitive action. More recently, Gary Gensler, the latest Chairman of the SEC, says he believes all ICOs are securities, and are therefore in breach of United States securities laws – hinting more class actions could be on the horizon.
Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music mogul DJ Khaled once promoted Centra Tech, an ICO that raised $30 million at the end of 2017.6 Centra Tech was ultimately deemed a scam in court, resulting in the two celebrities settling charges with U.S. regulators, plus three Centra Tech founders pleading guilty to ICO fraud. Investors seeking to participate in ICOs should familiarize themselves with cryptocurrency and understand everything about an ICO before participating. Because ICOs are barely regulated, prospective investors should exercise extreme caution when investing.
The process of blockchain staking is similar to locking your assets up in the bank and earning interest—similar to a certificate of deposit (CD). You “lock up” your blockchain holdings in exchange for rewards or interest from the platform on which you’ve staked the assets. Many exchanges and platforms offer staking, with both centralized and decentralized options. You can even stake blockchain from some hardware wallets. The lowest risk option for staking would be to stake stablecoins. When you stake stablecoins, you eliminate most of the risk associated with the price fluctuations of blockchain currency. Also, if possible, avoid lockup periods when staking.
Initial coin offerings are a popular way to raise funds for products and services usually related to cryptocurrency. ICOs are similar to initial public offerings, but coins issued in an ICO can also have utility for a software service or product. A few ICOs have yielded returns for investors. Numerous others have turned out to be fraudulent or have performed poorly. To participate in an ICO, you usually need to first purchase a more established digital currency, plus have a basic understanding of cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges. ICOs are, for the most part, completely unregulated, so investors must exercise a high degree of caution and diligence when researching and investing in them. See more details at Gary Baiton.