Utility Token Offerings and Crypto Exchange Listings: How Regulation Can Help?
74 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2019 Last revised: 7 Aug 2019
Date Written: November 13, 2018
The majority of utility token fundraising models (Initial Coin Offerings, ICOs) de facto favor speculation over consumption. The public interest is hence to protect investors’ rights by application of a new or traditional regulatory regime to such offerings. However, given that ICOs and crypto markets are a globally unregulated phenomenon, direct regulation threatens to stifle innovation and be unenforceable when startups and investors move supply and demand to unregulated markets. This article advocates for a balanced principle-based approach to direct regulation of utility token offerings. Further, the majorly unregulated market of crypto exchanges fuels crypto economy but provides for no gatekeeper’s function: no standardized token listing practices which would cater for commercial viability and innovativeness of the listed startup. Building upon the results of an empirical and case study this article argues that the new inclusive governance models applied by crypto exchanges in startup pre-vetting may fill this void.
Keywords: financial regulation; ICO; utility token; crypto exchanges; governance; community voting
JEL Classification: D46, G10, G12, G18, G38, K22, K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation