Was This the First ICO Whitepaper in History?

Was This the First ICO Whitepaper in History?

“Please consult your financial adviser before investing in ANY wild scheme such as this (hint: they will probably tell you to RUN and not look back unless you assure them that it is money you are totally prepared to lose).”

So concludes a document which goes by the name of “The Second Bitcoin Whitepaper” by a certain J.R Willet which was first published in early 2012.

According to the white-paper of the Blockshipping token sale – Denmark’s first ICO – which provides a historical overview of the token crowdsale model, Willet’s document constitutes the earliest known example of an ICO white-paper.

“No Central Exchange”

The Second Bitcoin Whitepaper argues for the creation of a new protocol layer – known as Mastercoin – to be built on top of the existing Bitcoin protocol in order to facilitate the creation and use of new digital currencies without the need for users to resort to technical skills. 

The Mastercoin proposition also conceived of a world in which Mastercoin-derived currencies could be exchanged with each other “using simple rules and no central exchange.”

However, the Bitcointalk thread which had been created for community participants to discuss the proposition appears to have gone dead around September 2013, although it appears that Willet himself did update the thread in September of 2017 in order to alert readers to his newest project. 

According to the Blockshipping white-paper, however, Mastercoin went to ICO two years after the publication of the original white-paper and since renamed itself to Omni. And according to Coinmarketcap, Omni currently trades at around $40, although it is not entirely clear at what price it ICO’ed. 

The Blockshipping white-paper discusses the Mastercoin project in the context of the overall historical development of the ICO phenomenon, the regulatory issues it raises, and the reasons for its own participation in a Danish initiative known as the ICO 2.0 model, a set of guidelines which lays out best practices relating to law and smart contract code, amongst other issues faced by ICO project teams.