BnkToTheFuture Taps ICO Demand with Investment Product Launch

Investment platform BnkToTheFuture is expanding its service to let equity buyers tap into the growing market for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

An investment hub for industry startups that has helped investors back firms like Bitwage and Unocoin, BnkToTheFuture is moving to allow investors to buy so-called Simple Agreements for Future Tokens, or SAFTs, a legal framework for token issuance developed by startup Protocol Labs.

Modeled after Y Combinator’s Simple Agreements for Future Equity, or SAFEs, via which investors can fund startups and receive equity at a later time, SAFTs similarly let investors pay to receive tokens in the future.

Notably, Protocol Labs utilized the framework for its Filecoin ICO yesterday, which was hindered by technology issues yet raised as much as $200 million in just an hour.

Through BnkToTheFuture, investors would buy SAFTs, as well as equity from startups planning to launch a token sale at a later date. Next month, it will let investors buy pre-sale SAFTs, though without the option to purchase equity.

CEO Simon Dixon told CoinDesk that the launch came following calls from the site’s user base, as well as the recent rise in activity around ICOs.

He told CoinDesk:

“Our investors were demanding [that we] provide more liquidity in their investments and established companies wanted a way to access some of the new liquidity that is entering the market. It was all market driven as the ICO market booked.”

Data from CoinDesk’s ICO Tracker shows that more than $1.7 billion has been raised through the funding model to date, by which startups and project teams can raise funds through the sale of cryptographic tokens.

Regulators, though, are starting to pay closer attention to the market. Singapore’s central bank issued an investor warning on ICOs earlier this week, following statements from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that some tokens would be considered securities.

Further, the SEC yesterday moved to halt the trading of shares in a Nevada-based company following statements it made about a forthcoming ICO.

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Protocol Labs and Unocoin, and invested in the Filecoin pre-sale.

Gumball dispenser image via Shutterstock

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