By Glen Watson | What a difference a year makes. Back in 2017, token sales or initial coin offerings (ICOs) were all the rage and generating vast wealth for the issuers. This year, it’s a bit of a different story with coin prices tumbling and forecasters warning that they probably haven’t hit rock bottom yet. For those who worked in and survived the ‘dot-com’ boom in the late-90s, the situation in 2018 has a rather familiar feel to it.

Even the mighty Xiaomi – the fourth-largest phone maker – came up flat with its IPO in Hong Kong this summer. Rather than getting the US$100 million valuation that it was hoping for, the listing generated US$4.7 billion (instead of US$10 billion) to give it a valuation of about US$54 million. The shares began trading in July around HK$17, rose to about HK$21 and since then have fallen to HK$16.36 on Aug 17.

The company also shelved its issue of Chinese depositary receipts (CDRs) after failing to reach an agreement with mainland Chinese regulators over a number of issues, including the high valuation.

This disappointing result for Xiaomi has other large tech companies in China, Asia and even around the world delaying their plans to go the IPO route.

But one area that’s still buzzing, at least for now, is the blockchain. One media report recently said that 6X more new Chinese companies with ‘blockchain’ in their names were registered between January and July this year than all of 2017.

Long Blockchain

If it seems like everyone is trying to blockchain everything, you’re right. In December, the Long Island Iced Tea Corp changed its name to Long Blockchain and saw its Nasdaq-listed shares soar as much as 289%, basically doubling the company’s valuation to about US$70 million. It soon soured, and in April Nasdaq delisted Long Blockchain – accusing it of misleading investors and falling below the minimum value of US$35 million needed to maintain its placement. By August, Long Blockchain had a value of about US$5 million – and a subpoena to cooperate in an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.    

Rent A Celebrity

Portuguese footballer Luis Figo recently became an ambassador of STRYKZ, a token by Berlin-based Stryking Entertainment for football fans to use in fantasy football matches. He joins Brazilian football star Ronaldinho, English footballer Michael Owen, boxer Manny Pacquiao, socialite Paris Hilton and Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx among the list of celebrities who’re lending their fame and their legion of fans to token sales.

Not In China

The People’s Bank of China basically banned ICOs in September 2017, taking the largest market for token sales out of the picture. In addition to stopping future sales and halting ongoing events, the central bank’s directive also ordered all completed ICOs to liquidate and return funds to investors. Coins like Bitcoin and Ether tumbled in price, by double digits. Strangely, Cryptokitties are a big hit in China.

Singapore 

Singapore Exchange (SGX) to begin dual-share listings (Singapore). The country’s bourse has introduced rules to allow for the public listing of companies offering dual-class shares, following in the footsteps of its counterparts in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. The system essentially allows a single business to issue separate groups of shares that have differing features, such as different voting rights, and could prove useful for foreign tech companies and startups looking to list in the city-state.

Do Squats, Earn Crypto

Animoca Brands subsidiary OliveX (HK) recently struck a deal with “Latgala” OU to integrate the Lympo token in OliveX’s iOS mobile app 100 Squats Challenge.

The July announcement was made at NIFTY (nifty.gg),
the world’s first dedicated conference and hackathon on non-fungible tokens, blockchain gaming, and collectibles.

OliveX develops and publishes mobile apps, including apps powered by artificial intelligence (AI), that leverage gamification to improve the fitness and health of users.

OliveX’s 100 Squats Challenge is an app powered by machine learning for Apple mobile devices that challenges users to perform squats and tracks their performance using the device camera.

Lympo is a blockchain company developing a platform to reward people for exercising and leading healthier lives. This year, Lympo established partnerships with one of the most recognizable female athletes in the world – Caroline Wozniacki – and the professional NBA basketball team the Dallas Mavericks. Currently Lympo is expanding into the US and Asian markets.

By the way, you can also earn tokens through something called the CryptoTab Browser – “earn Bitcoins while you browse”. To be honest, it sounds like a scam – “Invite your active friends who will invite their friends – and start making real money!” But hey, it’s hard to tell these days.   

There are sites that list failed ICOs, such as deadcoins.com that has just crossed the 900-coin mark… and counting. It has categories such as Deceased, Scam, and Parody. Worth checking it out before you start buying or mining coins.

ICO, IPO & Blockchain – What You Need To Know

IPO (Initial Public Offering)

An unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture… In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies, but usually for Bitcoin.

ICO (Initial Coin Offering)

When a private company or corporation raises investment capital by offering its stock to the public for the first time. Growing companies seeking capital to expand are those that generally use initial public offerings, but large, privately owned companies or corporations looking to become publicly traded can also do them. In an initial public offering, the issuer, or company raising capital, brings in an underwriting firm or investment bank, to help determine the best type of security to issue, offering price, amount of shares and timeframe for the market offering.

Blockchain

A digitized, decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks (the most recent transactions) are recorded and added to it in chronological order, it allows market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically. Originally developed as the accounting method for the virtual currency Bitcoin, blockchains – which use what’s known as distributed ledger technology (DLT) – are appearing in a variety of commercial applications today.
– Source: Investopedia.com