Ferry Biedermann; special to CNBC.com
Blockchain is a distributed and cryptographically secured database method best known for its use in Bitcoin and other more recent cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum’s Ether. Bancor, which is still under development, sets out its business model in a ‘white paper’ on its website. Using its own tokens, it seeks to provide a method to easily switch between different cryptocurrencies, thus addressing the market’s liquidity problems. It intends also to allow users to create tokens for use in their own projects, for example for their own ICO.
It’s these virtual tokens that Bancor, which is registered in Switzerland, sold off this week to anyone who was interested. In an ICO investors don’t get equity in a venture, nor do they lend money, they speculate on the future value of the tokens they buy. Even some of the people close to the startup warn about the uncertain and unregulated nature of such investments.