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.

Go deeper

Hong Kong police fire pepper pellets at demonstrators

Hong Kong riot policeissue a warning as they aim to clear away people gathered downtownon Wednesday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong riot police fired pepper pellets at protesters and surrounded the Legislative Council during demonstrations against a bill proposing to criminalize "disrespect of the Chinese anthem" on Wednesday, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The bill is the latest concern pro-democracy protesters have that Chinese authorities are encroaching on the high degree of autonomy the former British colony has retained since it was returned to China in 1997.

Minneapolis unrest as hundreds protest death of George Floyd

Tear gas is fired as police clash with protesters demonstrating against the death of George Floyd outside the 3rd Precinct Police Precinct in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Minneapolis police used tear gas during clashes with protesters demanding justice Tuesday night for George Floyd, an African American who died in police custody, according to multiple news reports.

Driving the news: The FBI is investigating Floyd's death after video emerged of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on his neck for several minutes, ignoring protests that he couldn't breathe. Hundreds of protesters attended the demonstration at the intersection where Floyd died, per the Guardian.

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced plans Tuesday to make wearing face coverings mandatory statewide for most people over the age of 10 when inside public places like retailers, on public transportation and government buildings. He announced the measure, effective Friday, as coronavirus case numbers increased to 39,342.

By the numbers: More than 98,900 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 384,900 Americans have recovered and more than 14.9 million tests have been conducted.