因為身邊有朋友在“投資”他們(自己以為)稱為“cryptocurrency”的東西,其實到底投資了什麼,說真的我想他們並不清楚。Bitcoin 的確是所謂的 cryptocurrency。但是,因為 Bitcoin 的技術而衍生的其他東西,就未必是 cryptocurrency了。他們是運用了 Bitcoin 的技術來開發其他的服務,當然他們也可能發布自己的 “token”,以便使用者用來支付使用那服務的費用(或成為服務提供者,貢獻你的資源來賺取那 token)。而很多的 ICO,只是一個概念,但是很多人還是因此而買單。這跟進賭場,用現金換取籌碼說真的好像沒什麼不同。當然,無可否認總有好的,創新的 idea,但是,能在那泡沫中脫穎而出的又能有幾個?

MIT Technology Review – What the hell is an Initial Coin Offering?

The acronym probably sounds familiar, and that’s on purpose — an ICO does indeed work similarly to an initial public offering. Instead of offering shares in a company, though, a firm is instead offering digital assets called “tokens.”

Some people think ICOs could lead to new, exotic ways of building a company. If a cloud storage outfit like Filecoin were to suddenly skyrocket in popularity, for example, it would enrich anyone who holds or mines the token, rather than a set group of the company’s executives and employees.

Someone has to build the blockchain, issue the tokens, and maintain some software, though. So to kickstart a new operation, entrepreneurs can pre-allocate tokens for themselves and their developers. And they can use ICOs to sell tokens to people interested in using the new service when it launches, or in speculating as to the future value of the service. If the value of the tokens goes up, everybody wins.

In July, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said that DAO tokens were indeed securities, and that any tokens that function like securities will be regulated as such. Last week, the SEC warned investors to watch out for ICO scams. This week, China went so far as to ban ICOs, and other governments could follow suit.

Many of the companies launching ICOs haven’t produced anything more than a technical whitepaper describing an idea that may not pan out.

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Quartz Media – A high-profile ICO is touting its latest invention: a dividend

Unlike an initial public offering (IPO), the disclosures accompanying an ICO often consist of a white paper detailing technical specifications for building a computer network.

Many ICO backers say they aren’t issuing securities because their digital tokens merely relate to a product they intend to create, designed for use within an application.

Byrne said a lot of the ICOs to date haven’t thought through their business models, and the tokens are likely to become worthless eventually.

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Others

Bitcoin white paper

Ethereum white paper

Filecoin white paper