A new open-source think tank oriented around blockchain technology has been formed and has announced its first initiative, JOBS Crypto Offering, which aims to solve the regulatory issues surrounding initial Coin Offerings (ICO).
The newly announced Institute for Blockchain Innovation (IBI) has nearly 60 members, including global leaders in banking and technology. Companies include Finova, Indiegogo, 500 Startups, Ausum Ventures, Salesforce, Raiffeisen Bank International and BPC Banking Technologies. According to the press release, “The new think tank brings together the world’s innovators in both the traditional and the blockchain/crypto financial systems, along with leaders from corporate, academic, regulatory, entrepreneurial, venture capital, and governmental backgrounds.”
IBI Founder and Chairman Gregory Keough said, “We believe that the blockchain will be a powerful engine for bringing more people into prosperity and encouraging innovation at an unprecedented level.”
Ausum Ventures CEO Jeremy Gardner, also an IBI founding member, said, “I fully expect the blockchain and crypto to completely eclipse our current financial services and Wall Street investment systems. IBI will play a pivotal role in achieving that vision on a global scale and creating a more inclusive system for everyone.”
An Alternative to the ICO
As part of its mission, the IBI will identify and support a key blockchain initiative. Their first initiative out of the gate is the JOBS Crypto Offering (JCO), which is intended as a new approach to trading what they refer to as “digital equity securities” (equity tokens) on the blockchain.
This new hybrid model for crowdfunding is meant to solve issues for companies struggling with the regulatory gap in ICOs and “provide a pathway from initial capital to IPO on the blockchain.” The IBI envisions this model as a way for companies around the world to be able to more easily access financial resources that can be used to grow their companies.
The JCO is based on the “Jumpstart Our Business Startup” (or JOBS) Act of 2012 and leverages the Delaware Blockchain Initiative to create a faster, blockchain-based path from startup to going public. The JCO works in three stages:
Stage One — Under Regulation D (Reg. D), a company offers purchase agreements to accredited investors in a presale. These purchase agreements are being referred to informally as a “Block-SAFE.”
Stage Two — Once the company meets the capital raise goal they have set, they submit documentation to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to get approval to issue digital equity securities to the public under Reg. A+, or by filing a registration statement under the Securities Act.
Stage Three — Under Reg. A+, the securities become available to both accredited and non-accredited investors, and can then be traded on an alternative or traditional exchange approved by the SEC. According to the IBI website, “These equity tokens represent one share of stock in the company, and they are able to pay dividends.”
The IBI says that this blockchain-based approach “provides liquidity in a crowdfunding model, creates a faster track to IPO, and expands funding opportunities beyond the traditional VC path.” Unlike ICOs, the JCO is “designed to offer the market’s first equity-linked token that can be traded in cryptocurrency and is also backed by assets in a U.S. corporation.”