Initial Coin Offering — investment ideas
Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a public fundraising with the purpose of issuing a new cryptocurrency, or so-called tokens, and in such cases the ICO is often referred to as Initial Token Offering. Similarly, ICO can be implemented with the purpose of making additional emissions for existing cryptocurrencies or tokens. One of the peculiarities of ICO is that issuers would often accept various other cryptocurrencies. It should be recalled that many virtual currencies and tokens are traded on the secondary market and can be exchanged for real money through specialized virtual stock exchanges.
Since currently there is no comprehensive ICO regulation in the world (but most often there is no such regulation at all), there are no uniform ICO standards, but investments in ICO are traditionally considered to be high risk investments. Such investments cannot be insured and most often the issuers are not obliged to repay investors the funds invested. Due to these reasons, with the popularity of cryptocurrencies and tokens, ICO also casts a variety of fraudulent intentions, and it is estimated that around 10% of these funds are ending up in the hands of fraudsters. Accordingly, before making decisions on investing, it is indispensable to find out how reliable the issuers are and how realistic are their plans.
By the beginning of 2017, the amount of funds raised during the ICO was Bilcoin — 257 million US dollars, but the second and third place on this list was respectively Tezos with 232 million and EOS with 180 million dollars. However, a new record holder has appeared, and it is believed to stay for a long time. At the beginning of this year it became known that Telegram Messenger LLP, a Russian company that manages Telegram’s messaging service, created and managed by Pavel Durov, is going to implement ICO. According to the plan, it is expected to create a blockchain platform called Telegram Open Network (TON), as well as its own cryptocurrency Gram. In the course of the ICO, Telegram planned to raise $ 3 billion to $ 5 billion, which would be the most ambitious in ICO history so far as the total amount of attraction in the event of success will be equal to or exceed the total ICO sum of 2017 (about four billion dollars).
Similarly, the company’s investment proposal indicated that the project aims to create a digital asset, which will become a widespread means of payment, while also providing the possibility to make payments with traditional monetary units. According to the Telegram plans, the TON will be a mixed, centralized and decentralized platform that combines the benefits of both solutions, thus able to handle up to a million transactions per second at a time. In addition to the TON Blockchain, or the Telegram blockchain network, TON Services (which will allow external developers to build their own blockchain solutions), TON DNS and, of course, TON Payments, will also be introduced. It is expected that the first version of Telegram External Secure ID and TON will be operational in the first quarter of this year, while the Telegram’s ‘wallet’ will be released in the last quarter of the year, and the entire ecosystem will be established in the first three months of 2019. The whole TON network will, in turn, begin to work well until mid-2019.
Given Telegram’s good reputation and the fact that the messaging service currently has almost 200 million users, 120–150 million of whom use it on a regular basis, and that the audience of Telegram is widely known for its interest not only in anonymity but also in cryptocurrencies, the interest in ICO has proven to be many times higher than the offer. While the closed round was supposed to raise $ 850 million, the offer amounted to 3.8 billion, and another closed round will be held. A total of $ 1.7 billion is expected to be invested in both rounds. It is not yet known whether plans for the total amount have changed, and if so, to what extent.
World’s First Science and Intellectual Property driven ICO
While Telegram ICO is essentially outside the competition, another significant ICO is expected, with all the chances to enter the ICO’s top ten. It is the Aeternum’s upcoming cryptocurrency BitLats, with the ICO’s so-called private round already in operation. Aeternum, the core of which consists of well-known Latvian scientists, aims to develop a blockchain platform, through which anyone can invest BitLats in research projects and science-based start-ups, or intellectual property rights, which is a unique and unprecedented solution. It is expected that in the course of the project implementation, the value of BitLats and, therefore, also the value of investments will increase accordingly In total, four ICO rounds are scheduled to attract planned EUR 300 million, although it is acknowledged that these plans can be adjusted depending on the demand.
Initially it is planned to collect the necessary funds for the development of its own blockchain platform through Aeternum, but further funding is already expected to be using BitLats. According to the plan, the BitLats Alpha version for Aeternum users will be available in the second quarter of 2018, Aeternum Finance App will be launched by the end of 2018, and later followed by Aeternum Finance Crypto Card. In the course of 2019, solutions for the needs of smart cities and smart universities will become available, which means that the platform will also be accessible to anyone interested, while BitLats can be used for payments for various goods and services. The project also includes the creation of its own cryptocurrency stock exchange. The entire Aeternum ecosystem will be fully operational by the end of 2019.