Three year-old Protocol Labs has raised around $193 million via an initial coin offering, for a pre-launch distributed computer memory storage project called "Filecoin Network." This comes on top of a pre-ICO raise of around $52 million from venture firms — Andreessen Horowitz, Sequoia Capital, Union Square Ventures and Winklevoss Capital — while the ICO itself had to be temporarily suspended due to overwhelming volume in its initial hour.
Why it matters: This already is the largest-ever ICO, if the pre-sale is included. But the offering suspension also reflects the tech challenges faced by this latest/greatest tool for capital-raising, and the size is sure to only increase SEC scrutiny.
Market size: We've already seen over $1.3 billion in ICO volume so far this year, excluding ongoing offerings like Filecoin, according to Smith & Crown.
Bottom line from WSJ's Paul Vigna: "Filecoin initiative is designed to allow users to exchange empty storage space on their computers for tokens. Users can earn tokens for contributing space on their hard drives, or can use tokens to buy space from other users. The way the public sale was orchestrated, the earliest investors would get the lowest price. This appears to have contributed to the rush in the first hour, as investors tried to get in and get the lower prices."