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The Hard Truth About ICOs

In Episode 4, we explore new crowdfunding mechanisms made possible by the advent of blockchain technology and smart contracts called Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and Initial Token Offerings (ITOs).

We speak to the leaders of two regulated platforms that seek to employ this new mechanism to help entrepreneurs in Canada and how they’re playing by the rules amid all the hype. We also speak to  a blockchain-based social media network who used their tokens to sponsor a Canadian athlete.

Our guests on this week’s episode are:

-Christopher Kramer, President and CEO, OneName Global

-Adrian Rosenbusch, Chief Visionary Officer, OneName Global

-Peter-Paul Van Hoeken, President and CEO, FrontFundr

-Alan Wunsche, CEO and Chief Token Officer, Token Funder (exerpt below)

Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates. 

A portion of our discussion with Alan Wunsche is transcribed below. Subscribe here to have the Navigator’s latest insights delivered right to your inbox.

Clare: I guess this is one of the harder questions out there almost as hard as asking you know what is blockchain. But today we’re going to be talking about inital token offerings and I’m wondering if you could in the very simplest of terms explain what that might be for listeners.

Alan:  So in order to understand initial token offerings what we should do is take a quick step back to what happened in 2017. Most your listeners will probably be very familiar with the initial coin offering craze and hype cycle that that happened throughout 2017. Many projects spun up with the intent of essentially exchanging your base currency such as Bitcoin and Ethereum for example and exchanging your crypto currency for one of their new project crypto currencies. So many of these new crypto currencies where we’re called coins on on their platforms, on these projects platforms. So what we have is essentially a new mechanism for projects around the world getting funded through cryptocurrency and this this whole initial coin offering craze took off.

Now tokens are the more generic term, tokens are the more, are the term that we actually  in the Ethereum space and there’s a standard around an Ethereum token that these projects we’re using and it’s the more it’s the more generic term because not everything ends up being a coin. So initial token offerings now is going to be and is the the next evolution of the initial coin offerings and what that will mean is a creation of an entirely new asset class because as these tokens don’t need to represent coins per say or as some call them utility tokens or utility coins for platforms they can now represent real world assets and real world value. As we all talk about it in the industry blockchain allows us to transfer value from from peer to peer and then and Bitcoin basically was the first transfer value and it was meant to be digital cash. Now we’re able to very frictionlessly and rather easily through the blockchain and securely I should add be able to transfer value that could represent shares in a business, shares in areal asset, shares in a royalty stream, many different applications. So these are not coins anymore. These are tokens and that’s where our marketplace will evolve to.

Clare: That’s interesting because I often heard those terms used interchangeably so it’s good to have that sort of differentiation in our listeners minds. As I understand it your company TokenFunder is Ontario’s first regulated blockchain venture funding platform. Can you tell us a little bit about it and what exactly that means for the market.

Alan: Definitely and by venture funding we come back around to one of the one of the initial use cases here, allowing for new projects and new businesses to take advantage of this very frictionless funding mechanism. So we were starting there as one of our first applications. It’s not the only application but as a platform, and we are the development phase of the platform, we’re currently in the token offering phase. So the the story is or are the backdrop and the story goes like this, the the coin offering craze is going on and we see that with my background, I mean you mentioned that I’m a chartered accountant, chartered professional accountant and I’ve worked in the capital market space for a long time, you can just imagine how how the regulatory environment is going to evolve and to allow this space to mature. So I envisioned and those those around me, we envision how frankly this can’t be unregulated and be sustainable going forward. There’s reasons for that which we’ll get into I’m sure and other questions that you have. The fact that we’re regulated what we did was we started working with the Ontario Securities Commission as soon as they came up with their launch pad and we brought in a new idea and that was that we would apply this token offering model to allow for all kinds of start ups in mainstream ventures to take advantage of this technology.

Now the first step in this is to launch our own initial token offering and that is a regulated security financial instrument. So by being a regulated security we’re in the process of developing a regulated platform but the regulated side of this is that we actually have, we’ve got real disclosure beyond white papers that that provide you with vision. We’ve got disclosure, we’ve got credit, we’ve got audited financial statements, we’ve got an offering memorandum, and this is how the industry in terms of creating a new asset class will emerge will emerge in ways that allow investors to feel more safe and to kind of understand what they’re buying and the nature of the regulated aspect is really that we’re accountable to the to the regulator to do as we say we were going to do and if anything even if investors have questions or concerns they know how to get a hold of us and you know we’re not in some other country asking for their crypto.

Best Ad Strategies For Winning The Ontario Election

Political campaign veteran Jaime Watt outlines what he thinks are winning advertising strategies for Andrea Horwath, Kathleen Wynne and Doug Ford.

While most Ontarians are enjoying the first beautiful days of spring after what seems like an especially long and dark winter, the campaign teams of Ontario’s political parties are squirrelled away in dark editing suites putting their advertising campaigns together.

The pressure is on. And for good reason.

It is generally conceded in modern elections that, after the performance of the leader, advertising – whether mainstream or digital – can make the winning difference.

It is also well documented that although people routinely tell pollsters how much they hate so-called “negative” – I prefer the term comparative – advertising, it works. Like a charm. When executed effectively.

So just what are the campaigns thinking about when it comes to the messages they want to drive through advertising? And what are some of the pitfalls they should seek to avoid?

Let’s start with Ontario’s New Democrats. If there is an exception to every rule, then Andrea Horwath is the exception to the rule that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Despite being the leader for nine years, she is still unknown to many Ontarians. Her campaign’s advertising should focus on reintroducing her to the voter as the thoughtful, safe hand of change. Her message, repeated frequently, should be that you can have change that’s compassionate and sensible. In short, a 2018 version of that sage old Bill Davis adage that in Ontario “bland works.”

All of her spending should be on positive messaging. If she is clever, she will leave the fisticuffs to the others.

The Liberals have some tougher decisions to make. Their advertising has four objectives: remind Ontarians of the progress the province has made under their leadership; prove that the desire for change can be met by the Liberals themselves with a reinvigorated platform; demonstrate that Doug Ford‘s values are not Ontario’s values; convince Ontarians that Ford has not fully declared his agenda.

In doing this, they face a significant strategic challenge and that, simply put, is their length of time in office and current standing in the polls.

Voters will be skeptical that the Liberals, after 15 years in power, seem to all of a sudden have got religion.

To many, the response to a number of new Liberal proposals – especially the entitlement programs – will be, “If these are such great ideas, what took you so long?”

And with near-record-low approval ratings for both the party and the premier, messages around Ford’s unsuitability for office and fears of an undeclared agenda will be rejected as desperation tactics.

The PC’s choices are, like those of the NDP, quite straightforward.

First and foremost, the advertising needs to round out what voters think of Doug Ford and show him to be more than Rob Ford the second.

Self-deprecating humour that doesn’t have him taking himself too seriously connects with those who self-identify as his base, and delivers on his promise to be a refreshing change from the typical politician would be a great start.

But ads that are all puppies and sunshine will not be enough. The PCs must run tough ads that remind the electorate why they are fed up with the Liberals. Many at PC campaign headquarters will be arguing against such ads. Their argument will be that “with the lead we have, why take risks with upsetting people? Many voters already think Doug is a bully and that’s something we don’t need to reinforce.”

In my view, this is wrong-headed thinking. It would be a mistake for the Tories not to play back to the voter messages that reinforce the voters’ decision to abandon the Liberals and find a home, for this election at least, with the PCs.

Not necessarily a popular decision but an effective one to be sure.

A final note on the tactics of advertising:

  • Production values don’t matter. Your slogan isn’t “good lighting for a better Ontario.”
  • Minimize production costs.
  • Save money for buying advertising time and space.
  • Make visual clichés your friend.
  • And at all costs don’t let your ad agencies have dreams of winning awards in their heads.

Jaime Watt is the executive chairman of Navigator Ltd. and a Conservative strategist.

Toronto, Trudeau, Trump, and Kanye

On this episode of Political Traction, David sits down with Navigator Senior Consultants Morgan McLellan and Colin MacDonald to discuss the recent van attacks in Toronto, the Liberal convention in Halifax, and Kanye West’s tweets about his love for President Donald Trump.

Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of Navigator or its affiliates.