If you have heard of an ICO, chances are someone was trying to sell you a “coin” that sounded like bitcoin but cheaper, faster, and better. Diving into the ICO phenomenon that is quickly gaining in popularity amongst blockchain startups, BTCManager had a conversation with the man who started it all.
Brock Pierce is a venture capitalist and something of a celebrity in the cryptocurrency space. You may know him as the child actor in the 1992 film, The Mighty Ducks, but in the blockchain sector, Pierce is an early stage investor and a serial entrepreneur, known for inventing the ICO, or Initial Coin Offering.
In 2013, Pierce created the very first ICO of its kind, Mastercoin (since rebranded to Omni), in an unprecedented move where a development team sold “tokens,” rather than equity, to a global audience of investors—none of which were accredited. The fundraiser was a huge success, raising 5,000 BTC, which was worth about $500,000 at the time. It changed history, setting the stage for future blockchain-based projects to come.
Now, well into 2017, the blockchain space has seen upwards of ninety-five ICOs.
BTCManager spoke with Pierce about the past, present, and future of venture capital and ICOs.
What is Your Relationship to Projects doing ICOs?
I could’ve been a founder of a lot of the big ICOs. You take Ethereum—I wouldn’t have wanted to be a founder—I would’ve gotten 200,000 ether for being a founder. My crew put in 500 bitcoin, we got a million ether—and I wasn’t a director or officer. So I would much rather have been an investor all these years than someone with the liability because there’s a lot of legal concerns.
Fast forward, the ICO market was slow. It was only last year (2016) when venture capital plateaued. But the entrepreneurs