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ICO backer blasts traditional venture capitalists

ICOs are replacing traditional IPOs for some companies. (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Raising funds through traditional methods backed by venture capitalists is dead, at least according to a press release by CryptoFriends. The sector’s failure to catch up to the innovations happening at break-neck speed might speed up its imminent demise with the involvement of blockchain-based start-up companies, the release said. Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) are predicted to reach a collective cap of $1 trillion in 2018.

This was a bold prediction mentioned by Blockchain Capital’s co-founder Brock Pierce, who is also the chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation. He made the following comments at a panel discussion at the CryptoFriends Hype Up in Singapore conference: “What venture capital has become today is a far cry from what it used to be, and it’s bad. The old-school venture capitalists were legit, unlike the fakers today. They showed up and helped entrepreneurs, rolled up their sleeves and provided advice and real work to help them. What’s happened recently is it was co-opted by financial engineers, who don’t actually do anything other than take advantage of entrepreneurs.”

Pierce was joined on the panel discussion by Anatolii Radchenko, Mike Costache, Sefi Golan, Daniel Shashoua and Eric Benz. Benz was the panel’s moderator. In the presence of fellow stakeholders in the cryptocurrency platform, Pierce continued. “They are supposed to fund innovation but haven’t innovated themselves. There are some legit venture capitalists out there, wonderful guys in our space like Tim Draper. Those are the guys that are still going to have a job, who evolve into the things that those of us up here are doing.”

While occasionally referred to as the cryptocurrency version of initial public offerings (IPO) in the stock market, The Economist summed up ICOs best in describing them as “token sales.” Funds are raised to make these tokens valuable and, in the process, produces digital coupons in the form of “ICO coins.” Several cryptocurrency companies from different industries have successfully raised funds with the sale of these tokens, according to Smith + Crown, the research firm from which The Economist gathered some numbers to use as basis in analyzing how successful ICOs have become.

Gnosis raised $12 million in less than 15 minutes for its platform that bet on electoral results. This escalated the perceived market value in Gnosis’ tokens by as much as $300 million.

“I was an entrepreneur and, believe me, this revolution is first and foremost for entrepreneurs. They now have another way to finance their ambitions. We must be vigilant with every project, but this is a great opportunity for exponential growth,” Pierce said.

Despite Pierce’s forecast as how “90% of startups will fail after 3 years,” ICO still ended up taking centerstage as the CryptoFriends event. A handful of blockchain start-ups were chosen to present their ideas in hopes of generating token sales. Most of the ideas for the event attendees may have been influenced by the insights shared in the panel discussion.

The 7 chosen start-ups were:

  • Moeco - a platform dependent on the blockchain for their IoT connectivity products and services
  • BetterBetting - a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency-based betting facility
  • United Traders - a solutions provider for crypto finance professionals and executives
  • Gladius - a blockchain-based, decentralized DDoS protection that delivers content
  • VR Token - a decentralized platform for VR content creation and distribution
  • Sensay - a marketplace for peer-to-peer conversations dependent on an app that uses blockchain-based smart contracts in chat.
  • DeHedge - a platform for cryptocurrency investors in the risk hedging business

The various platforms pitched at the event provided an optimistic outlook for CryptoFriends’ founder and CEO, Daria Arefeva. “The high level of the projects presented at the Singapore Hype Up event showed that ICOs are still a hot topic for investors,” she said. “CryptoFriends is all about mixing cutting edge thinking with eating and drinking, and we will continue to organize more high-end events that put both business and having fun on an equal footing.”

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