The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has jumped on the regulatory bandwagon along with numerous regulators around the world, warning consumers in a recent report that Initial Coin Offerings are essentially the Wild West and they should be careful investing. But it’s still a green light for their upcoming friendly regulatory environment planned for January 2018 for token sales.
The Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) has noticed the increasing use of tokens or coins based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) as a means of raising finance, especially by early-stage start-ups. The sale of such tokens is often conducted using terms such as initial coin offering (ICO), token sale, initial token offering and the like.
A new regulatory framework for DLT which will become operational as from January 2018 will regulate the activities of firms, operating in or from Gibraltar, that use DLT to store or transmit value belonging to others, such as virtual currency exchanges.
Gibraltar is committed to being a sound and safe place to do business with and is considering a complementary regulatory framework covering the promotion and sale of tokens, aligned with the DLT framework.
ICOs are an unregulated means of raising finance in a venture or project, usually at an early-stage and often one whose products and services have not yet been significantly designed, built or tested, yet alone made operational or generating revenue. Such forms of crowdfunding are often used by start-ups to bypass the rigorous and regulated capital-raising process required by venture capitalists or financial institutions. In an ICO, tokens are sold to early supporters of a project in exchange for cash or cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin or ether.
Tokens vary widely in design and purpose. In some cases, tokens represent securities, such as shares in a company, and their promotion and sale are regulated as such. More often, tokens serve some cryptocurrency or functional use that is unregulated, such as prepayment for access to a product or service that is to be developed using funds raised in the ICO.
New ventures are highly-speculative and risky, and early-stage financing is often best undertaken by experienced investors who are familiar with assessing the nature of a project and its business plan, the technical characteristics of proposed products, the market for those products, and the capabilities of founders and their team. Experienced investors know how to evaluate the likelihood of success and that more high-risk ventures fail than succeed, and they understand only to invest such sums as they can afford to lose.
Anyone considering investing in tokens through an ICO is advised to consider the following:
– Regulation: Do you understand that tokens and ICOs are unregulated and that you have no recourse to any regulatory authority, financial compensation scheme or ombudsman?
– Volatility: Are you aware that the value of a token may be highly volatile and there may be no way for you trade or sell tokens?
– Disclosures: ICO whitepapers are unregulated and may contain inadequate, inaccurate or misleading statements and disclosures. Are you satisfied you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision?
– Risk appetite: Recognising that investing in early-stage startups is high risk and speculative, can you afford to lose your entire investment?
In common with regulators around the world, the GFSC continues to monitor the use of unregulated tokens as a means of raising finance.
Here’s a list of other regulatory announcements, compliments of the brilliant Tim Swanson, at the Great Wall of Numbers Blog.
- Brazil’s equivalent of the SEC, the Comissão de Valores Mobiliários (CVM), published (July 13th) initial legislation instruction (Instrução CVM No. 588) regulating crowdfunding via ICOs: (Portuguese announcement)
- The United States SEC published on July 25th on ICOs: (Report on investigation) (Investor bulletin) (Investor alert)
- Monetary Authority of Singapore published its views on August 1st on ICOs: (Clarification statement) (Consumer advisory)
- Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA), including the Ontario Securities Commission, published its views on August 24th on ICOs: (Staff Notice)(Announcement)
- Israel Securities Authority announced on August 30th that it is forming a committee to look at ICOs: (Hebrew announcement) (English)
- The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) in South Korea announced on September 3rd that it held a joint task force meeting to strengthen regulations around digital currency trading, including fundraising with ICOs: (BusinessKorea)
- Central Bank of Russia issued a public statement on September 4th that included its views on ICOs: (Russian announcement) (English)
- The People’s Bank of China, along with 6 other Chinese government bodies including the national securities regulator (CSRC), publicly banned ICO fundraising in China on September 4th: (CN announcement) (English) (Bloomberg) (Reuters)
- SFC in Hong Kong announced its views on ICOs on September 5th: (Announcement)
- The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that it was keeping a close eye on ICOs on September 6th: (FT)
- The Securities Commission (SC) of Malaysia issued a press release cautioning investors in ICOs on September 7th: (DNA)
- Sun Exchange Raises $1.6 Million Seed Investment to Catalyze Global Shift to Solar Power - October 22, 2017
- Brickblock And Nakamo.to Announce Partnership To Fuse Real-world Asset Trading With The Potential Of IOTA’s Tangle Network - October 22, 2017
- Wirex inks deal with SBI Holdings to establish Asia focussed joint venture – Japanese cryptocurrency payments card expected soon - October 22, 2017
- CrowdWiz successfully raises over $5 million in its pre sale to bring democracy to investing by cutting out the middleman - October 22, 2017
- Soma – launches ICO to tackle marketplace fraud and disrupt the $1.7 trillion global second-hand goods industry - October 22, 2017
- LiveEdu.tv Launches ICO and Announces Presale - October 22, 2017
- Yetta announces ICO of European Commission funded Blockchain Research and Development - October 22, 2017
- Pulsar Venture Capital Holds ICO to Raise Money Using Blockchain - October 19, 2017
- Dash Expands Reach In Asia Through Cooperation With Rising Fintech Company QUOINE - October 19, 2017
- Hacken and Neuromation Partnership Launched to Stomp out Blockchain Cybercrime - October 19, 2017
- Playkey Brings in $1 Million in Pre-Sale Campaign and Welcomes Dillon Seo as VR Advisor - October 19, 2017
- SolarCoin Founders Introduce New Blockchain-Based Network for Global, Decentralized Energy Trading - October 19, 2017
- Kazakhstan’s Lendex.io plans ICO in early 2018 - October 19, 2017
- Swissborg – The Blockchain Era of Swiss Private Banking – Announced ICO - October 19, 2017
- Bank4YOU Group’s launches ICO end of October – Investors Call to Action - October 19, 2017
- Live Pre-sale of Trive: Fights Fake News Using Cryptocurrency and Crowdsourced Research - October 19, 2017
- A New Ozone Layer? Arcona Plans for Augmented Reality Layer to Cover Earth Surface in new AR project - October 19, 2017
- Cofound.it Introduces Seed Program for Early Blockchain Startups - October 19, 2017
- LOOMIA Announces Collaboration With Storj Labs, Introduces Smart Fabrics and Consumer Data to Blockchain Technology - October 19, 2017
- DECENT Launches Beta Release of DECENT GO, The First Decentralized Marketplace for Digital Content - October 19, 2017
- Orebits Corporation, Inc. Announces Orebits Pool, LLC and Orebits.AU Eco-System - October 19, 2017
- Pareto – the Peer to Peer Financial Content Marketplace Announces Token Sale - October 19, 2017
- Appsolutely Launches the LoyalPlatform, LoyalCoin and LoyalWallet; Using Blockchain to Usher in the New “Loyalty Economy” - October 19, 2017
- Eidoo Raises $27.9m In Successful ICO To Bridge The Cryptocurrency Gap And Open The World Of Digital Currencies To The Masses - October 19, 2017
- Malta-based RoboAdvisorCoin (RAC) Launches Token Sale for Robo-Advisor Dedicated to Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets - October 19, 2017
- BLOCKv Announces the Availability of VEE Tokens Through Its Upcoming Token Generation Event – Open to Public on October 19, 2017 - October 19, 2017
- The Fundchain initiative starts again this year with new Research & Development roadmap for the investment fund industry - October 19, 2017
- Digital Cryptocurrency Vault DigiPulse Reaches $1 million in Token Sale - October 19, 2017
- Tickets Cloud Kicks off crypto.tickets ICO - October 19, 2017
- Ex-JP Morgan Vice President Dr Joseph Chen-Yu Wang Joins Ambrosus as Project Manager - October 19, 2017
- Russian Wood for Cryptocurrency – Timber! - October 19, 2017
- Proof Suite Announces Token Sale for Blockchain Platform Designed to Tokenize and Insure Real World Assets - October 19, 2017
- DataWallet Announces Blockchain-Based, Consumer-to-Business Data Exchange - October 19, 2017
- IEEE Releases Findings from First Detailed Study of Blockchain Adoption in the Pharmaceutical Enterprise - October 19, 2017
- Horizon State Launches Token Sale to Modernize Global Voting and Collaborative Decision Making - October 19, 2017
- Metaps Plans to Launch Time Marketplace ‘Timebank’ Token Sale on COMSA - October 19, 2017
- Lykke Vanuatu brings Binary.com tokens to Lykke Vanuatu Exchange - October 19, 2017
- After raising $15M in a pre-sale, BitClave is ramping up for its Nov 8 crowdsale, and its plans to redefine the search experience - October 19, 2017
- Kazakhstan Is About To Launch The First Cryptocurrency, Directly Backed By Fiat Money - October 19, 2017
- Positive.com launches to protect Initial Coin Offerings from cyber attack - October 19, 2017
- Latium Launches LATX Cryptocurrency Token Sale for Participation in AI-Based Tasking Platform - October 18, 2017
- IBM Announces Major Blockchain Solution to Speed Global Payments - October 18, 2017
- Launch of SMSCHAIN, a Blockchain-based SMS Gateway - October 18, 2017
- Streamr Concludes a 30 Million CHF Crowd Contribution Period to Build Decentralized Real-Time Data Economy - October 18, 2017
- Publica Building New eCommerce Platform for the Publishing Ecosystem – Token Sale Coming Soon - October 18, 2017
- BLOCKv Partners with Storj Labs to Provide Decentralized Storage Architecture and New Toolsets to Power Next Generation Digital Objects - October 18, 2017
- Coinme Announces the Start of the UpToken Sale Today With Over $40 Million USD in Pre-Registration Signups - October 18, 2017
- Blockbid Announces Launch Of ICO Backed By Multi-Cryptocurrency Trading Platform - October 18, 2017
- SportyFi – Decentralized Sports Investment Start-up Endorsed by Soccer Superstar Roberto Carlos - October 16, 2017
- Acronis Joins Runa Capital and Parallels In Accelerating Innovation and Supporting Blockchain Initiatives in Malta - October 16, 2017