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BTC Keychain / Flickr CC

"Initial coin offerings" are still in their early days, but they've already attracted a huge amount of interest (or hype) as well as scrutiny from regulators. At least two of these new tokens or digital currencies recently reached a new milestone: $1 billion in market cap. At the same time, others are folding in the face of potential legal troubles with the Securities and Exchange commission.

Why it matters: Expect more of both of these. Initial coin offerings are an unregulated way to raise funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. Tokens and cryptocurrencies are still in the honeymoon phase, drawing interest from everyone. But this hype is also putting pressure on regulators to step in.

Unicorns: As TechCrunch reported, OmiseGO (OMG) and Qtum both crossed that mark this week within mere months after their initial token sales.

  • OMG's tokens rose in value from $0.27 to over $11. Qtum's went from $0.30 to more than $18.
  • Of course, these valuations are volatile and could come down below the $1 billion mark.
  • Both have yet to release their planned products (as is the case with most ICOs, through which investors fund the development of an idea).

Meanwhile: Protostarr, which raised roughly $47,000 through its token sale in August, has decided to shut down and refund investors after it was contacted by the SEC, Forbes reported on Friday. Protostarr was described as a way for rising internet stars on video streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch to get funded by their fans.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
36 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

40 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
51 mins ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.