The ERC20 Token Standard, Token Summit, the explosion of token ICOs on the Ethereum blockchain, and whether this activity is premature in terms of security (and securities). Every million dollars you put into any token built with ERC20 creates a million-dollar honeypot test on the Ethereum virtual machine, implementations of Geth and Parity, the ERC20 codebase, and whatever poorly-tested code you added for your particular DAPP. The killer app for Ethereum is DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations), reinventing the modern corporation — just not that way, as venture capital firms… The security needs to be tested first with $10k, not $10 million; gradually escalating. The trade-off of flexible smart contracts is that every contract has to be independently tested. What happens to a brand-new start-up with a whitepaper but no management experience that suddenly comes across millions of dollars? Soon, not many dollars. ICOs right now are the biggest reputational risk for Ethereum. Opening up crowdfunding to a global audience is an amazing application, when you have governance, but when you do it prematurely you blow up the launch pad. Sometimes lessons have to be learned the hard way. The market will teach them when they lose their money. The purpose of this early stage experimentation should be to test the security of the protocols, not attempt to get-rick-quick. If we don’t remind investors of the risks, they will get a visit from the SEC, because one of the first rules is that you don’t promote securities to the unaccredited public.

CORRECTION: The “exit scam” allegation regarding Matchpool’s CEO (mentioned in the previous version of this video) was circulating in the news at the time this talk was filmed — but it was later shown to be false, and the ICO funds were accounted for:

This talk took place at the Silicon Valley Bitcoin meetup on April 11th 2017 at the Plug and Play Tech Center (@PlugandPlayTC) in Sunnyvale, California:

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) –
ICOs and responsible investment –
ICOs and financial regulation –
ICOs, disruption, and self-regulation –
ICOs and pyramid schemes –
Scams, gambling, and regulation –
Regulation and the bank boycott –
Unstoppable code –
The Lion and the Shark: Divergent Evolution in Cryptocurrency –
Ethereum: Consensus vs. Immutability –
How to get people to care about security –
Governance trade-offs in decentralised systems –
Impact of smart contracts on law and accounting –
Smart contract platforms –
The Scaling Rites of Passage –
Altcoins and the scaling debate –
Blockchain vs. Bullshit: Thoughts on the Future of Money -

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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Outro Music: “Unbounded” by Orfan (
Outro Graphics: Phneep (
Outro Art: Rock Barcellos (