The CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has made a positive case for initial coin offerings (ICOs). In a recent blog post, Changpeng Zhao argues that the digital crowdfunding method adopted at large by blockchain startups are “not just good-to-have”, but necessary.
Out with the old
At the crux of the blog post is a debate between traditional venture capitalism (VC) and ICOs; Zhao highlights several differences while acknowledging the present issues with the ICO markets.
For entrepreneurs, Zhao argues that the process of acquiring funding through VCs is tedious, time-consuming and requires startups to relinquish some or all control of their project. He writes:
“Courting VC investors, doing powerpoints, business plans, pitch decks, executive summaries, due diligence, term sheets, investment agreements, offshore company structure setup, board of directors, make reports for them, getting a bridge loan because the VC lawyers insist on some totalitarian terms that essentially gives them absolute power and ownership of your company and hence delays the whole investment process…”
He then compares it to the speed, effectiveness and control an ICO delivers to any entrepreneur:
“Writing an awesome white paper about your passionate dream project and raise USD 20M in 10 days, from thousands of people around the world who speak your language, understand your vision, use your product as soon as it is launched, spend all day beta testing your product, or discuss with you about new neat (and sometimes useless) features that you haven’t thought about.”
ICOs are still in development
Zhao admits that ICOs are still in their early stages, which is true considering that countries around the world are feverishly debating the validity and legalities of ICOs, which contrary to popular belief, is a good thing.
Concerns over ICOs having a myriad of security, fraud and other illegal activities tied to them has caused knee-jerk responses from governments and regulators everywhere in the world. However, Zhao makes a strong point saying:
“You can’t make advancements without encountering problems. Properly dealing with issues is how progress is made. If we had given up e-commerce/internet because there was identity theft or credit card fraud, where would the world be today? Whoever deals with the issues best will be the winners, that’s where the competition is.”
ICOs beat VC projects
Zhao is of the belief that ICOs will succeed more often than VC projects and makes three distinct points as to why he thinks this is the case. His first is that again, ICOs are extremely time and cost effective. Less time spent raising funds means the actual project itself receives the much-required attention it needs.
Furthermore, the higher amounts of funding received from ICOs allow for startups to better overcome weak points in the project. Finally, ICOs create a user base during the funding period, turning investors into users, which is an extraordinarily strong start for any company upon launch.
He concludes by noting that VCs are now investing heavily in ICOs, a factor which he believes speaks for itself regarding just how valid and useful the digital fundraising method is.