So you’ve got a great idea for an ICO. Something along the lines of Stretch, a currency for tall people. Cocaine on the blockchain with CoCoin. Or barta token which, through smart contracts, only allows the trade of chickens and goats in precise proportion.
Whatever your idea, you’re going to need to a team around you. You’ll need some skinny Russians to do the programming and some skinny Americans to do the marketing.
And now, with the SEC’s beady eye fully on the ICO space, you’ll need some (less skinny) lawyers too. Finding such a team takes a lot of money and time. Without large supplies of both, your idea is stuck.
Responding to the demand for ICO launches, several “ICO in a box” services have sprung up, offering substantial support… for a price, of course.
“ICO in a Box”
Canadian “ICO as a service” platform CoinLaunch is one of the options. Cofounder Reuven Cohen elaborated on the complexity of launching an ICO: “the only real option is to hire a team of blockchain developers, lawyers and accountants, and marketing gurus,” he said, adding that it is “time-consuming, complicated and expensive.”
With CoinLaunch’s CoinCreator, non-programmers can develop their own ERC20 tokens and smart contracts. The user enters data like the coin name, totals to be issued, and the CoinCreator puts it together. Smart contracts can then be created to control how the tokens will be used.
Cohen describes the service as “free and easy to use.” That is technically true – it is free to use the CoinCreator – but CoinLaunch will take a percentage in Ethereum of any funds you manage to raise.
ICOBox offer a similar service with a different payment structure, requiring an upfront payment and a smaller percentage of revenues. The price for them to start working on your idea is currently 19 BTC, around $317,000 at time of writing.
Though that’s a lot of money to put into anything, Nick Evdokimov, co-founder of ICOBox, identifies the difficulty in finding the right expertise, particularly if you’re not one of the lucky ones living in Zug: “As ICOs explode in popularity, access to ICO technology, expert legal and marketing help is increasingly challenging to find.”
ICOBox offers a module-based solution where you can buy what you need – tech, marketing or legal. Their clients include crypto bank Cypterium which raised $37 million in its recent ICO.
Both services offer regulatory support, guiding ICOs through Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering regulations, and can help with promotional campaigns.
All tokens will need to have some utility attached to avoid being classified as a security, though whether that will now be enough is another question. Giga Watt were recently hit with a lawsuit over its ICO and the key issue for ICO-watchers is how to define a token – utility or security?
David Silver, one of the lawyers behind that suit, argues: “Just because utility tokens might one day have a consumptive use does not remove them from being a ‘security’ prior to that use.”
Which way the courts go on this issue could have a major impact on all coin offerings, underlining the importance that all ICOs have top legal advice throughout the process, whether they go through an “ICO as Service” company or not.
So with these services taking care of the skinny Russians, skinny Americans and not-so-skinny lawyers, all you now need is that killer idea. Unfortunately, at least for now, they won’t do that bit for you too.