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Bitfinex, the cryptocurrency exchange that shares a CEO with stablecoin issuer Tether, announced today that it has another new IEO platform.
Bitfinex Token Sales replaces an earlier IEO platform iteration, Tokinex. The rebrand comes just four months after Bitfinex created Tokinex, which launched two projects: Ampleforth and Ultra. The company plans on making the updated platform's first project a token for a peer-to-peer network promoted by none other than Kim Dotcom—the Internet entrepreneur behind the infamous (and now-defunct) Megaupload file-hosting platform.
Dotcom, not unlike Bitfinex itself, is no stranger to the wrong end of the U.S. legal and regulatory system—which, incidentally, isn’t too fond of the new ICO-by-another-name fundraising mechanism known as an IEO.
What could go wrong?
An IEO, or initial exchange offering, is akin to an ICO, except the exchange runs the sale, making the coin offering exclusive to its users. It is, however, perhaps an awkward time to be promoting an IEO.
A Longhash report released earlier this month found that the average return on investment on nearly a dozen IEO platforms was minus 80 percent. However, some of the platforms—Binance, Gate.io, Huoi, and OKEx—did return profits for investors.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which has spent the better part of two years cracking down on ICOs and the unregistered sale of digital tokens that the Commission considers illegal offerings of securities, has said publicly that IEOs are on its radar. Bitfinex, for its part, is currently caught within the crosshairs of the New York Office of the Attorney General, which is suing Bitfinex parent company iFinex for allegedly violating securities laws.
Nevertheless, a Bitfinex spokesperson described Bitfinex Token Sales to Decrypt as “the evolution of Tokinex and token sales in general,” saying that unlike IEOs that have focused on short-term returns, “Bitfinex Token Sales is not a marketing tool. The platform aims to create the best conditions for the long-term, sustainable growth of the tokens offered for sale.”
Bitfinex’s press release adds that its new platform "will provide carefully vetted projects with the strategic guidance and resources needed to scale product development, talent acquisition and revenue growth."
And the first project it’s vetted (Bitfinex assured Decrypt that this involves “several layers of technical and commercial due diligence”) comes courtesy of Kim Dotcom.
Dotcom is the founder of the bygone peer-to-peer, file-sharing service Megaupload. For several decades, Dotcom has hopped the globe from Germany to Thailand to Hong Kong to New Zealand, leaving a trail of legal proceedings in his wake: a conviction for computer fraud in 1998, another for stock price manipulation in 2002, and an arrest for his involvement in Megaupload in 2012.
Since then, he's been in legal limbo as the United States seeks his extradition from New Zealand on racketeering and criminal copyright charges. But his legal troubles aren't stopping him from scheduling a token sale next month for his new project, K.im. Its placeholder website refers to K.im as "the ultimate content monetisation system."
In a press release announcing the project, Dotcom said: “I founded K.im to allow artists, content creators and digital businesses to cut out all the middlemen and sell content and digital goods without censorship and outside of monopolies. Bitcoin is now at the stage where it can scale with our vision."
Dotcom calls Bitfinex "the perfect partner to help us distribute KIM tokens, built on Bitcoin, to those who want to access the freedoms that our products provide.”