It’s not (only) about the yogurt

Jacobo Elosua
May 16, 2018 · 3 min read

On the reasons why Iris.ai has picked Bulgaria for the AIUR token sale

You have two sets of reasons to pick a legal jurisdiction when planning a token sale. There are what we consider to be the legitimate ones, and then there are the others.

As a company founded by a Norwegian, a Finnish, a Spanish and a Bulgarian national, with additional current ties to both Germany (operational) and the US (legal), the first decision we made was to stick to the former, i.e. to pick the most suitable location among the ones that fundamentally made sense for us, as an existing, impact driven, corporate venture.

And we did it this way because we chose to disregard the siren songs sung by many about the supposedly great merits of opportunistically shopping for an ad hoc jurisdiction.

Sorry, plethora of advisors and other candid and not so candid fellow ecosystem members. That is just who we are. No Zug, Estonia, Lichtenstein, Gibraltar, Malta, Cayman Islands or other fashionable destination of the day was to be the answer. At best, that would amount to letting the tail wag the dog.

With that out of the way, I wanted to draw some attention to a few little known facts about Bulgaria, our very conscious choice, as an alternative-circuit jurisdiction to run an ICO in 2018:

1) Punching above its weight. Beyond its widely recognized great engineering and math-based talent pool, per Atomico’s The State of the European Tech 2017 report, Bulgaria already ranks high in terms of jurisdictions from which ICOs have been launched (Top 5 in the EU), as Central & Eastern Europe dominates the number of ICO projects launched from Europe.

2) Positive regulator attitude. Government officials have displayed favorable views on the blockchain’s future potential as a driving force of innovation. Plus a Bulgarian national, Mariya Gabriel, as current European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, has lead the recent signature of the declaration to create a European Blockchain Partnership.

3) Simple tax treatment. Whilst an ICO-specific regulatory framework does not yet exist, Bulgarian regulators have not applied existing local securities and financial market regulations to ICOs. Token sale proceeds are only taxed at a clear point in time, i.e. at conversion to fiat currency. And they are taxed at a straightforward, flat rate of 10%.

4) Coins held by the government. As reported in December 2017, a crackdown on organized crime by Bulgarian law enforcement in May resulted in the seizure of more than 200,000 bitcoins. Where else in the world are coin issuers aligned with the government’s own exposure to crypto assets?

But above all, I must say that what we really like about Bulgaria as a jurisdiction is that we know the culture, its people and we truly appreciate the immense talent and incredible degree of professionalism we have found there since our first visit in the second half of 2017.

That is our choice and we will happily live with its pros and cons going forward. And if you are around in Sofia, do ping us and come say hi in our really cool office!

Entrepreneur. Founder at https://iris.ai/. Chairman at http://civio.org. Digital knowledge fanatic. Former investment banker. Singularity University alumnus.

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