The trinity of financial innovation: debt, equity and ICOs

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It’s not often at FT Alphaville that we got to combine two of our favourite subject matters in one post to make an FTAV fusion, if you will.

There’s been exceptions. There was that time time our Elon decided to tweet about Dogecoin. Or when the Tory grandee Michael Green Grant Schapps decided to dip his toe into blockchain. And who can forget when Neil Woodford invested in a cold fusion business that, quite literally, was making claims that were scientifically impossible.

Yet, perhaps the greatest FTAV fusion is of the crypto chart crime flavour.

With cryptomania now a phenomenon of yesteryear, we thought we’d seen the end of this particular dish. After all, with enthusiasm for the space now waning versus the madness of 2017, there’s less reason to over-egg an ICO, or a Bitcoin price target, via the medium of a chart. Or so we’d thought.

How wrong we were.

INX Trading Solutions is a “fully-regulated digital asset trading ecosystem for listing and trading cryptocurrencies and security tokens for both institutional and retail investors.”

In just under a day it’s launching an ICO with the aim of raising $109m, net of commissions, from the sale of 130m tokens. On its website, it claims to have the “world’s first F-1 prospectus for a fully-registered security token IPO aimed at establishing an evolutionary financial trading market and to become a prime trading and listing arena for blockchain digital asset”. That prospectus, which has been filed with the SEC, can be read here.

Yet for all INX’s speak of its “strong adherence to laws and regulations from inception”, that doesn’t seem to have extended to its graphic design department which, delightfully, has conjured up this in an attempt to demonstrate just how much of a quantum leap in financial innovation this token offering is (h/t to Joe Weisenthal for flagging on Twitter):

There’s almost too much to unpick here. Why are the blue circles sized as such? Where is the advent of insurance and central banking in the 17th century? Why are these tokens, which pay a set distribution of cash flows, that different from other exotic forms of equity? And, most importantly, where, or what, is the Y axis?

We mean, we could go on. Or, as FT Alphaville is sure you’re doing, we could just continue gawp at it in all of its chart crime splendour. Enjoy.


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