Are ICOs disruptive, democratic venture capital? Or bubbles fueling greed? Obviously, both. We’re re-defining entrepreneurial capitalism, corporations, securities, fundraising, stock markets – everything financial and the regulatory system around it. There is a certain contingent that is looking at ICOs and revealing their very statist, traditional ideas. The SEC, securities law, and restrictions on initial public offerings came out of an initial environment that was a crazy bubble, but that kind of regulation is the old way of dealing with things. This ICO bubble will have negative consequences and people will malinvest. It’s still created an opportunity to do something never done before: bridge the big gap between early-stage organic financing and stock market public offerings, for companies to fundraise from a completely globalised audience. What can we do with programmable money that’s decentralised, re-imagines funding and escrow structures, with protections driven by crowdsourcing? If the crowd is funding, the crowd should be vetting. Banking is not the primary incumbent being disrupted, it is regulators and the institutional, centralised regulatory environment as well. In the meantime, I will not be investing in 99.999% of these ICOs because I don’t invest in minimally viable whitepapers.

This is part of a talk which took place on June 6th 2017 at a joint meet-up with Blockchain Professionals, BitcoinSYD and SydEthereum in Sydney, Australia:

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) –
The token ICO explosion –
Altcoins and the scaling debate –
Irreversibility and consumer protection –
TheDao: Why failure is necessary for learning –
Programmable Money, Smart Contracts and DAOs –
The Killer App: Engineering the Properties of Money –
Blockchain vs. Bullshit: Thoughts on the Future of Money –
Bitcoin, Payment Security, and Consumer Protection –
The separation of money and state –
How to get people to care about security –

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a technologist and serial entrepreneur who has become one of the most well-known and well-respected figures in bitcoin.

Follow on Twitter: @aantonop

He is the author of two books: “Mastering Bitcoin,” published by O’Reilly Media and considered the best technical guide to bitcoin; “The Internet of Money,” a book about why bitcoin matters.




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  1. While very eloquently delivered, the speech completely misses the mark on what regulation is about, and even banalizes it to a large extent. Some of it is annoying red tape, of course. Its goal, however, will never be outdated. Oversight will be required as long as there are informational (and other asymmetries) in the market and as long as people are people. Now, monetary policy (i.e. what a central bank ACTUALLY does) is different from what is meant by regulation and supervision (i.e. what a central bank usually does not do, depending on the country), and monetary policy might have to be rethought. But to say consumer and fraud protection, various types of risk management (incl. systemic risk), etc. can now be eliminated shows a fundamental lack of hats. Which further underscores the need for many stakeholders to figure this out together.

    Let's not forget that the disconnect between math people and econ/finance people was a big cause of the 08 crisis. And, more importantly, lets not repeat the same mistake with crypto.

  2. decentralization and self governance are nice words to throw around, they sound good. but at the end of the day the whole ICO shit-storm has turned into a melee: a bunch of guys in suits put up a PPT, summon a few shills on utube and go after the gullible masses who are mesmerized by an exponential prize curve and want to get their hands on fast profits. now you might say, let them have it, the weak shall perish and the smart will prevail, but that's not what this whole bitcoin thing was about. how are today's ICO scammers better than the asshole bankers giving out free credit to people on foodstamps?

  3. Good advice, I hope folks heed these warnings and very carefully diversify in feasible projects. So many widows and orphans from crypto right now for darn sure. I've never seen crypto this volitile ever. So freakn sad, but I hope regulators remain light-handed though. Blockchain does / will do way more good than bad, just like the internet has. It's that simple.

  4. Hi Andreas,
    There's is a recent 5 min video called "Raoul Pal: Bitcoin Is Mania, Not a Store of Value"
    If you would like to check it out, maybe you'll find material for future talks, I'm sure many people would appreciate your opinion on these subjects.


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