Why would ICOs be limited to blockchain tech startups? It is like supposing that bank loans are for financial institutes only because the bank loan is a financial instrument hence it can only be used by the financial industry! Ridiculous!
My ICO vision is that one day any businesses (even regular, brick and mortar businesses) will launch ICOs at will if they need to raise funds for any sort of business purposes.
Today an ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is expected to be run by a startup with nothing more but a white paper about a strictly blockchain related tech project.
So currently an ICO is expected to be the riskiest project possible
The majority of current ICOs are run without
having either financial track records,
or business case track records,
and expected to be developed and operated in the youngest possible technological framework (aka blockchain).
How would a safe ICO look like?
What if a small business decides to raise funds for its business development by tokenisation? What if instead of begging a bank for a loan the business would offer tokens related to its service or product to raise the necessary funds? (with specific loyalty point-like, bond-like or share-like conditions) And what if the business would offer this token to its already existent organic community: its customers, suppliers and its business network?
This way the token holders would invest into a token
knowing the historical track record of the business,
being aware of the quality of service or product
and having personal experience about the skillset of the management.
Let’s say, a coffee shop owner decides to open his second coffee shop and instead of begging the bank for a loan he offers coffee tokens to its customers to raise the necessary funds for the new shop?
This way the token holders, the customers, would invest into a token knowing the historical track record of the coffee shop, the quality of service/product and the owner himself.
Let’s imagine the token characteristics that in 12 months when the new coffee shop is open you can use one token per week to get a cup of coffee. (not more than one cup per wallet to secure the slow rate of ‘installment re-payments’) A cup of coffee is currently 5 dollars but you could buy the token for 4 dollars. It is a 20% discount for any regular customer and if (s)he buys cc.200 dollars worth of tokens (s)he’s just prepaid for a year of his/her once a week coffee-consumption.
If such an offer is not enough the shop owner can decide to attach extra promises of service to the token (like further discounts, a token buyback program after 24 months at a fixed higher price, revenue share etc.)
If that shop has 1000 customers who buys such amount of tokens the shop owner ends up with cc.200k to start opening the second shop. And once the shop is open the shop owner has 12 months to ‘buy back’ the tokens by cups of coffee or after 24 months he can literally buy them back at a higher fixed price. During the token program period the token holders can decide at any moment to sell their tokens to each other or anyone else at any price. And the real intrinsic value of the token (a cup of coffee) could stabilise the price and work as a value guarantee.
The token holders can enjoy their discounts and any further benefits.
The shop owner can open a new shop.
The bank can be left alone. (As their 21st century business has nothing to do with collecting deposits for interest and creating repayable credits anyhow.)
The free technology for such an ICO project is all available: easy ways to create tokens, available mobile wallets to pay or collect payments, community communication management tools etc.
The only thing that is missing so far is the awareness of ‘coffee shop owners’ who already have their own communities but don’t know how to turn them into a crowdfunding ICO community.