The Case for ICO's
The moment someone mentions ICO's (Initial Coin Offerings) they immediately describe the Lovecraftian horrors that were the scams. They passionately talk about how much money newbies lost and how the government came to the rescue and shut them all down. Maybe they'll even mention the current state of the ICO witch hunt by the SEC, FINRA, or IRS as "completely legitimate".
Oh... how far we've philosophically fallen. Either our collective memories are so short that we have completely forgotten what they were and what they stand for or we're treating ICO's like some awkward mistake no one wants to face. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter why. Excuses are never meaningful.
This, unfortunately, is the number one excuse people use to justify hating ICO's.
Yes. There were a lot of scams.
That doesn't mean they still aren't the most powerful tool to supercharge innovation we have in this space (or others). They absolutely are. Period.
In that time between 2017-2018, where we saw countless ICO's emerge from the ether, we saw one of the most interesting periods of innovation and individual empowerment since the inception of Bitcoin.
ANYONE... literally... ANYONE could create an ICO.
It instantly changed the game for how money can be raised.
That's the point. For anyone that's ever tried to raise capital the "traditional" way, ICO's are a godsend. Raising capital is one of the most painful things an entrepreneur goes through. All the hassle of jumping through hoops, years of ambiguous closed door meetings, and mountains of legal paperwork can be circumvented with an ICO and a weekend.
This is why government's hated them enough to squash them early on. I don't care about their slick definitions for a "security" or whether or not it's a "utility" token or whatever con game they want to play. Neither should you.
[It's sad that many traditional investors love their government definitions and sit around debating all the ways something of value can be defined- by government. Especially so in the crypto space.
And I don't think I can roll my eyes back any farther.]
The market defines what something is. End of story. That definition can change but it'll happen gradually and organically just like everything else in the free market.
As far as ICO's were concerned, the financial regulatory bodies bullied the fledgling cryptocurrency industry, prosecuted many innocent businesses (and still do), and the crypto "influencers" turned on ICO's. Just because something is illegal doesn't mean it's immoral. Those influencers couldn't tell the difference and proceeded to attack all ICO's as scams while ignoring both their true power and the actual success stories. Most new to the space bought the lie while the veterans said nothing and the era of the ICO died with a pathetic whimper.
We can't afford to let ICO's fall into the dust bin of history. Their power to raise money incredibly quickly and with minimum effort is exactly what we need in this world. Money is the energy of human interaction. That's why government wants to control it. Furthermore, controlling who can raise money and how is a form of financial tyranny. And blockchain technology solved that problem by elegantly solving the entrepreneur cash-raising problem.
In the meantime, what's happening is the BIG government-supported institutions are now arriving with grand fanfare. Not the small startup. Not the fly-by-night developer with an amazing idea. These are the very institutions we once jeered as an enemy of the people. (How many times in the past couple month have you heard some influencer absolutely giddy that the banks are getting involved?) Now they're celebrated because "my bagz are growing". The end of the ICO era ushered in the era of corporate crypto.
[I'm not ignoring the small teams currently doing fantastic work. I'm pointing out that we don't see as many new small projects in the wake of the government caused ICO-aggeddon. In 2018, it seemed like you couldn't go a day without hearing about some new project by unknowns getting funded. You just don't see that any longer. What we've lost in a huge innovative resource is incalculable.]
Yes, I'll entertain for a moment the mythical notion that there might be a hundred Bitconnect's for every legitimate ICO- even though there wasn't. But we cannot allow scams to be the sole excuse to not pursue ICO's.
[Imagine using the lame excuse that peer-to-peer technology is only good for piracy. What if Satoshi agreed?]
Think of it:
An ICO for Bitcoin Cash could make moot the miner tax debacle.
ICO's could have quickly raised funds to help businesses and individuals affected by the unjust lockdowns
ICO's could have expanded to or competed against GoFundMe's, KickStarter's, or other crowd-funding platforms for non-crypto related projects
Imagine if Nikola Tesla had a way to raise money for his inventions without needing to woo intimidating "shark tank" investors. History shows he wasn't a savvy businessman. Had he lived today an ICO would've been an easy way to realize his inventions.
Imagine how private ICO's would supercharge innovation in those places where governments subjugate it
A hundred extra-small development teams, funded through ICO's, means a hundred teams that can rapidly prototype and deliver on proof-of-concepts faster than other larger teams in the space. Innovation speeds up where the energy of money can flow.
There's a millions things the free market could do with the ability to raise capital extremely fast if we would only allow ourselves to reconsider ICO's.
That's true especially now in 2020- in the midst of a worldwide governmental power grab.
I really do hope ICO's comeback with an unstoppable, decentralized vengeance.
Just a thought.