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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Investing in ICOs - Accounting Angle

Was chatting with Ning about ICOs and we got stuck at accounting post ico. So did some research and below are some comments and link to good article.

1)  equity type tokens are cleanest but they are regulated by securities laws. So few ico do this. 

Utility tokens are liabilities and from investment standpoint it would appear that if token price plunges, its actually good for equity owners. Whereas if token price goes up a lot, equity holders get wiped out. Of course if we hold mix then we can have some inbetween configuration.

2) the above means it will be a nightmare to value the company in future and that creates big barrier for future round equity investors.

3) audit and ipo becomes very tricky and expensive. I think pre ipo auditors and accountants will need to charge a lot just to figure all this out properly.

4) using utility tokens to pay staff and founders is just the same as paying staff via an asset the company owns. 

Knowing above, I think it is risky and more complex to invest in the equity round of a pre ico startup. Basically need to expect more costs and less access to fiat capital in future rounds. But in exchange a successful ico gives you a lot more cash than a Vc round at similar stage. Of course, the ico still needs to execute well like any startup!

Side note : ico valuations are high because of crypto whales who made 100-1000 times returns via crypto bull. But that’s over for now. Believe it will come down. So I don’t think it’s a smart time to change fiat to crypto now.



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