Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are on fire and now also publicly listed companies are getting in on the new funding type action. Macau-based Dragon Corp plans a 500 million USD ICO for its floating casino. Germany’s Naga announced a decentralized blockchain trading platform. China’s NEO is being embraced at a time when the government isn’t exactly known for its love of ICOs. Investors are clamoring for ever-more ways to participate in the innovative markets bitcoin has spawned.
Half Billion Dollar Floating Casino ICO
Dragon Corp CEO Chakrit Ahmad explained his company wishes to raise 500 million USD through an ICO. It’s the kind of gamble one might expect when money raised will be used for a floating casino in the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau.
Macau’s under-one million residents enjoy a special administrative region within the fold of China’s governance. Across from Hong Kong, Macau’s gambling enterprises are thought to be at least “seven times the size of Las Vegas, but really it’s probably about 20 times,” Mr. Ahmad noted.
The Dragon Pearl Hotel Casino will accept the company’s coins in exchange for casino chips. Or, as is the case with most ICOs, owners can choose instead to hold coins as they gain or fall in value.
Readers familiar with China’s bitcoin crackdown might wonder as to how this is at all possible under the circumstances. Business Insider observes, “Customers pay junket companies in China to handle their trips,” and once there, “the junket then gives the gambler an equivalent stake in non-negotiable gambling chips.” Running afoul of Chinese law is something every establishment must consider, and all the time.
The ICO, then, is a way to streamline regional frictions. According to Mr. Ahmed, “We charge 0.5% [each way], taking only 1%. It’s much quicker, cheaper, faster, more transparent. You have full ownership of the tokens. It’s better in all aspects.”
Decentralized Blockchain Trading
Germany’s Naga, a publicly listed company on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is promising a “decentralized platform [where] gamers can convert their in-game rewards into Apple shares and gold through Switex or leverage their trading prowess with the social network, stock trading tool, Swipestox,” a popular mobile application that has been called “Facebook for traders,” the company’s press release detailed.
ICOs didn’t exist little more than four years ago. At their inception, they were boutique offerings, a play on crowdfunding hardly anyone paid attention to. This year it hasn’t been unusual to see 50 a month sprout up, and by the year’s end total sales will be close to 3 billion USD.
“Naga Coin” the company continues, “is the cryptocurrency driving all interactions on the platform from rewards system to settlements. However, unlike most coins, Naga coin is not limited to financial settlements only. It also represents shares in the company and are backed by real assets.”
ICOs also face unprecedented scrutiny especially in the wake of lawsuits such as Tezos, but perhaps the biggest concern is government regulation and prohibition.
China Giving In?
Rumors coming out of China involve NEO, and the use of its platform to facilitate ICOs even though the government has expressly forbid them. China, it seems, is willing to allow such financial innovations so long as NEO is used, keeping money and tech in Chinese hands. It is partnering with Onchain in order to bring more ICOs to market this year.
China will not allow a financial revolution to pass it by again; however, such a revolution will be, it hopes, controlled by the government and its pace.
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