Sep 2, 2017

Two firsts for 'initial coin offerings'

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.

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Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.