Brave’s BAT Pre-Sale ICO May Have Comprised the Sale of Unregistered Securities

A discussion pertaining to the legality of ICOs is overdue. With a flood of new projects entering the markets recently, developers are seemingly printing money out of thin air in the form of cryptographic tokens on a weekly basis, which are then passed onto greedy investors seeking to find the next big crypto. With ICOs raising almost half a billion USD in the last 2 years, it is unsurprising to see the SEC taking an interest in the current ICO landscape.

A recent article posted on Medium has sought to argue that Brave’s BAT pre-sale ICO and others like it may comprise the sale of unregistered securities, and are thus illegal.

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$150 Million: Tim Draper-Backed Bancor Completes Largest-Ever ICO – CoinDesk

An initial coin offering (ICO) for a blockchain project called Bancor has set a new industry record, raising approximately $153m in ether, the native currency on the ethereum blockchain, as part of a crowdsale that concluded today.

Data shows a smart contract connected to the sale had collected more than 390,000 ether by the time it ended at 18:00 UTC, an amount worth $152.3m at current prices. As such, the figure is higher than even the funding raised by The DAO, the notorious failed fundraising project that made headlines last year when it lost the millions of the $152m in investor funds it raised in a similar sale.

Overall, 79,323,978 Bancor network tokens (BNTs) were created as part of the ICO, with the top token holders now possessing 83.96% of the tokens, or 66,601,702 BNT. Fifty percent of the total tokens, or 39,661,989 BNT, were sold to the public, while the remaining 50% were allocated for future use.

The ICO attracted 10,885 buyers, according to available data, with more than 15,000 transactions sent to the address for purchases during the sale. One buyer went so far as to purchase 6.9m BNT, or roughly $27m, in the sale.

Launched in 2017, Bancor, overseen by the Bprotocol Foundation, has been pitched as a platform designed to make it easier for users to launch their own blockchain tokens.

Of the remaining funds, a blog post by the company states token capital will be directed toward partnerships, community grants, public bounties and project advisors.

Issues with the sale

As with past sales of this kind, the ICO was accompanied by reports that the ethereum network faced significant transaction loads, resulting in delays for buyers.

However, the project itself was adversely affected by long wait times on ethereum.

According to the Bancor website, an initial funding target was set at 250,000 ether, though this figure was not hard-coded into the smart contract deployed. As a result, a transaction sent on the ethereum blockchain in an effort to change the contract and limit the crowdsale in length did not work as desired.

Due to network disruption and delays holding up this transaction, the company said the crowdsale ended up continuing longer than initially desired. Overall, it lasted an two additional hours as a result of the delay.

Posts on social media further suggest that at least some users saw transaction issues during the sale. One thread on Reddit drew complaints about transactions being dropped as long as 35 minutes after they were sent to the ICO address.

Some participants who spoke to CoinDesk also said that they had experienced delays in transacting, including one who had issues moving their ethers off an exchange for the purposes of participating in the ICO.

One exchange operator went so far as to argue that the ICO had increased transaction congestion, colorfully remarking that larger ether buyers were disrupting the sale.

Source: $150 Million: Tim Draper-Backed Bancor Completes Largest-Ever ICO – CoinDesk

Blockchain, Crypto ICO Funding Gains Popularity Amongst Investors

Initial Coin Offering (ICO) funding, a means of raising funds from the crowd for a new cryptocurrency or blockchain venture, grew quickly throughout 2016 and Q1’17, while traditional venture funding to blockchain companies fell progressively over the same period.

28% of total early-stage blockchain funding came from ICOs over the past four quarters, a figure that’s continuing to grow, according to CB Insights. In Q1’17, 37% of all blockchain funding came through ICOs.

ICO activity significantly picked up in 2016 with US$78 million being raised by cryptocurrency and blockchain startups that year (excluding Q2’16’s US$150 million failed ICO by The DAO). Notable ICOs in 2016 include ICONOMI (US$10 million), SingularDTV (US$7.5 million) and Waves (US$15.5 million).

ICOs VC Funding 2016 2017

Source: Blockchain, Crypto ICO Funding Gains Popularity Amongst Investors