StartEngine Drives the Path to Liquidity
On April 20th in downtown Santa Monica, CA, StartEngine hosted the second ICO 2.0 Summit. Over 1,041 people attended, and the event was a smashing success. Just ask the people who tried the hummus-quinoa wraps. They were delicious.
In total, there were 7 keynotes, 40 speakers, and 16 ICO pitches at the day-long event. The room was packed as industry leaders sat together to discuss the future of ICOs and the path to liquidity for security tokens.
The state of the industry
Much has changed since StartEngine’s first ICO 2.0 Summit on November 10, 2017. After many statements from the SEC, the regulatory climate is shifting as the definition of a utility token narrows. The turning tide was clear from the very first panel at the ICO 2.0 Spring Summit when moderator Jay Samit asked, “what type of clarity would you like from the SEC [on what makes a token a security]?” That question echoed throughout the day as industry leaders debated the differences between utilities and securities and, in turn, what that means for the businesses issuing tokens.
That question and many more were addressed as attendees heard from keynote speakers, including Chia co-founder Ryan Singer, Upfront Ventures managing partner Mark Suster, angel investor Gil Penchina, and CryptoOracle partner Lou Kerner. Panelists covered everything from ICO litigation to the path to liquidity in the secondary marketplace to structuring a regulated ICO, the ICO 2.0’s namesake.
What makes a token a security?
The consensus of the ICO 2.0 summit was that the vast majority of ICOs have historically been the sale of securities, a fundraising model that requires the regulatory measures put in place by federal securities laws. As Ryan Singer puts it, “If you are doing an investment round, where people are giving you money, and they believe they may make a profit, not that you’re telling them that they might, but they believe they might make a profit, and you’re going to spend that money on doing a thing, that’s a securities offering.”
Or, put more succinctly, Linda Lerner, Senior Counsel at Crowell & Moring, said, “if you are offering tokens to raise money for your business, then you’re selling securities.”
There were also several announcements from the summit, including PrimeTrust’s CEO and Chief Trust Officer Scott Purcell telling the crowd that PrimeTrust is working on a Regulation Crowdfunding crypto escrow. Josh Stein, the CEO of Harbor, one of the event’s panelists, also announced the week of the summit that Harbor had successfully completed a $28M raise to develop its securities token platform.
After the summit, attendees gathered in the courtyard for a cocktail hour and an artwork raffle as the sun set over the Pacific. Missed the summit? While you can’t recreate the magic of a happy hour past, you can join over 6,000 people that have already watched the summit online.
If you’re interested in being a part of the tokenized future, don’t miss the next ICO 2.0 Summit on October 19, 2018 in Santa Monica, CA!