As startups around the world rush to embrace initial coin offerings (ICOs), regulators are struggling with this new form of fundraising.
At one extreme, China has banned ICOs, while the U.S. has been regulating them aggressively. But there are plenty of other nations trying to plant a flag and declare themselves to be the world’s ICO capital, hoping to attract entrepreneurs, startups, and the potential economic windfall they believe will follow.
Last month, the French government announced its intentions to develop a regulatory framework that would allow it to become a leading hub for ICOs and startups using cryptocurrencies. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Minister of Economy and Finance, wrote that ICOs offer a potentially revolutionary way for the country’s startups to gain access to the funding they need to become global winners.
“This revolution could upset our daily practices in the banking and insurance sectors, financial markets, but also patents and certified acts,” he wrote. “It raises the question of consequences for both savers and traditional players such as banks and investment funds … Let’s not be mere spectators, but instead become actors in this revolution.”
By coincidence, as the government was announcing its regulatory push, a startup called Talao, based in the southwest city of Toulouse, was making preparations for what could prove to be the country’s largest ICO to date at $60 million.
Talao, which offers a blockchain platform for finding talent for a variety of projects, has started presales of its ICO and will open the process to the public in June. The ICO will…