In Canada, steps are being taken to bring Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) within the regulatory framework. TokenFunder, a Toronto-based startup that helps other startups launch and manage ICOs, is the first company to win approval for an ICO by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).
While some ICOs have come under regulatory scrutiny lately, TokenFunder CEO Alan Wunsche believes that ICOs can be done right, with built-in safeguards to avoid fraud.
Wunsche said in a press release issued to Bitcoin Magazine:
“TokenFunder has been working with the Ontario Securities Commission’s LaunchPad for the past year to define an innovative funding model for businesses. Our offering will give investors the comfort of knowing that they are purchasing a security that can stand up to the scrutiny of regulation.”
TokenFunder ICO Launches November 1
The OSC decision allows TokenFunder Inc. to launch their ICO November 1, selling FNDR tokens to retail investors who can then launch their own ICOs on TokenFunder’s platform which is being built on the Ethereum blockchain.
TokenFunder was given “relief” for a year from current regulations covering investors. This includes an exemption from registering as an investor and an exemption from a limit to the amount that can be raised in one offering.
Wunsche notes that many firms using ICOs to raise investment funding are not able to verify where the funds are coming from making it risky to raise money this way. He believes that there is a safe way to use ICOs and is offering the expertise to provide investor protection within a sound regulatory framework.
Like many jurisdictions around the world, the Ontario government is looking for ways to regulate ICOs without stifling innovation and driving startups to other jurisdictions.
To date, some startups are holding ICOs without regulatory approval saying that their tokens or coins are not securities.
What TokenFunder Is Selling
TokenFunder offers an ICO process that they claim will build trust in digital finance through the use of best practices, including smart contracts to build in legal compliance and regulatory compliance to ensure that investor’s rights are protected.
TokenFunder offers token launch advisory services and is designed to operate within applicable securities laws and de-risk offerings and purchases of coins for both issuers and purchasers by providing, among other things, a regulatory approved platform and related support.
TokenFunder co-founder Laura Pratt said in a press release:
“A unique feature of our FNDR token is that it lets investors share in the future success of the platform. TokenFunder has innovative KYC and AML compliance safeguards, which investors don’t receive with unregulated ICOs. After the completion of our ITO, our vision is to enable other companies to launch ITO’s using our platform. It is a myth that regulation is in the way... it’s the right way.”
LaunchPad Regulatory Sandbox
TokenFunder is a graduate of the OSC’s regulatory sandbox, part of the Canadian Securities Commission network of sandbox initiatives.
LaunchPad is the Ontario sandbox with largely provincial jurisdiction but is also part of the federal securities experimental program. Its goal is to help new fintech startups work outside the current regulatory system and navigate a financial terrain that is largely based on traditional systems that may not work for new cryptocurrency and blockchain startups.
The Blockchain Association of Canada (BAC) has been lobbying the province’s finance minister and others for more appropriate regulations for the new digital age.
Executive Director Kyle Kemper, on behalf of the BAC told Bitcoin Magazine:
"This is a first step in building a common understanding between all stakeholders around the potential, risks and opportunities of the token economy.
“This ruling demonstrates that the OSC is adapting to a changing landscape and recognizes the need to support entrepreneurs leveraging blockchain technology. The Blockchain Association of Canada looks forward to assisting in developing a regulatory environment that supports continued innovation. The BAC congratulates the TokenFunder team for achieving this impressive milestone.”