What You Need To Know About ICOs: Mohammed Alsehli, Founder And CEO , ArabianChain
Entrepreneur Middle East asked a few UAE-based investors and entrepreneurs about their thoughts on the brave new world of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Here's what Mohammed Alsehli, founder and CEO, ArabianChain, had to say about how potential ICOs can be realized in the Middle East.
“ICOs enable you to raise funds without needing a middleman, and that raises an issue for investors, because if you don’t know the person raising funds, they could be anyone, including terrorist organizations and so on. The other issue relates to entrepreneurs because they also don’t have control over who the participants will be. Anyone can participate and, for example, if somebody wants to launder their money through these ICOs, they can do that. At the same time, it is a fantastic tool to enable innovation. So, how can you get that value without bearing that much risk? This is where governments should work with ICOs to enable them rather than ban them.
For now, most of the regional regulators don’t yet recognize ICOs as an official way of raising funds, but at the same time they don’t prohibit it, so it’s in a grey area right now. I think that they are waiting to see how it’s going to evolve because the market is still very young in terms of ICOs, but we’ve witnessed more and more adoption. In Switzerland, for example, they have already established something that serves as a regulatory sandbox. It’s called Crypto Valley and it is the place where they work on these ICOs, but they have put some rules and regulations on top of it. So, since they already have these regulations put in place, they will get to benefit from these people because all the money raised in Switzerland is staying in Switzerland. That is the benefit of for the whole economy of Switzerland. I really urge all countries to establish these sandboxes for ICOs.”
Alsehli's tips on approaching ICOs- for investors and entrepreneurs
“When it comes to investors, the first thing on the list is to verify the people who are working on it, the team, the advisors, and so on. The second thing is to have Know Your Customer (KYC ) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes in place, and the third thing is that there has to be a registered company behind that ICO, somewhere in the world. So, it’s identification, registration, and KYC and AML processes. ICOs have already impacted their industry, and I think that VC s will move to a thing on the blockchain called DAO (Democratic Autonomous Organization), where this organization holds all the funds on the chain and then funds various ICOs. So, the VC s of today will evolve into DAO."
Tamara Pupic is the Managing Editor of Entrepreneur Middle East.