ICOs revolve around virtual currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. In these events, startups sell a percentage of newly issued cryptocurrency in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies.
The law firm acted on the ICO of Power Ledger, a peer-to-peer energy trading company. The event involved the creation and sale of 190 million “POWR” tokens to fund its prospective platform build and help to accelerate its development.
Power Ledger uses a blockchain-based platform to allow consumers with solar panels and batteries to trade their surplus energy with other consumers across regulated networks and within buildings.
The public sale raised $16.9m, while more than $17m was secured in pre-sale offerings. Allens’ technology, media, and telecommunications team acted on the documentation for the event, and also provided limited advice on the regulation of cryptocurrencies in Australia.
According to the law firm, ICOs come in many different forms. They can be speculative and require a close analysis of the applicability of existing legal and regulatory regimes.
Earlier this month, the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) released guidance on ICOs under the 2001 Corporation Act, and recognised their potential to provide options for investors and raise funds for businesses. But the regulator said such events must be conducted in a manner that promotes investor trust and confidence, and complies with the relevant laws.
According to ASIC, the legal status of an ICO is dependent of the circumstances of the ICO, such as how the ICO is structured and operated, and the rights attached to the coin (or token) offered through the ICO.
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One of Australia's first initial coin offerings (ICOs) has raised $34m in a token-generation event advised by international law firm