The reaction to ICOs and their marketing outreach has perhaps overshot the need for restraint and lost its perspective. Facebook, Google, Twitter, MailChimp are all taking a severe position that some ICOs may be suspect and have no viable business model behind them, so instead of taking a refined approach, we are going to cover our butts by banning any and all ICO initiatives from using our channels to promote themselves.
In this, they are perhaps too far out ahead of regulators, who seem to be trying to winnow rather than ban these fund-raising initiatives.
Water, as it flows to sea level, takes the path of least resistance. It furrows through mountains and carves canyons only when presented with an obstacle that does not allow a channel around. Advertising vendors seem to be taking the same unthinking approach. There is not enough money to be made, even with all ICO spending banded together, to make it worth their while to find a more refined solution.
Regulators, on the other hand (and reputation aside), want to protect unsophisticated investors while still not stifling the “animal spirits” that underlie these initiatives.
Some point to China as an example of where regulation might ultimately go, but the Chinese government will likely always take the most draconian regulatory approach, as that aligns with the government’s internal need to be in complete control of their citizen’s lives. Having currencies that allows a “shadow economy” to grow outside state control bothers them more than it does in the rest of the world. The SEC in the U.S. is taking enough action to send a signal that the sketchier ICO propositions will not be tolerated, but has not (yet) taken enough action to really dash cold water on the ICO wave.
Just some more thoughts on the quiet Saturday between Good Friday and Easter.