An e-commerce platform that recently launched a token sale aimed to raise $50 million has become Singapore’s first public firm to hold an ICO. Y Ventures Group, which went public on the Stock Exchange of Singapore last year, announced a plan for creating a blockchain-based e-commerce system in July and sent the sale of its AORA token live at the end of the same month.
According to the firm, the tokens do not represent ownership of equity in the firm and, as such, should not be regarded as securities – a move perhaps aimed to sidestep concerns from market regulators. Notably, the Monetary Authority of Singapore – the country’s de facto central bank – halted one token sale in March as it deemed the tokens securities since, in that case, they did represent equity ownership.
Y Ventures may be the first, but it is not the only public firm in the city state looking to venture into the ICO space. Public entertainment company Spackman also said in February that it aims to issue a cryptocurrency called K Coin in an effort to raise funds for its celebrity business. It has not yet made any announcement about a formal launch, however.
Aside from directly conducting token sales themselves, some public firms in Singapore are also acquiring or managing projects that deal with ICOs as another route into the cryptocurrency space. In May, for example, real-estate developer Pacific Star Development signed an agreement with a startup called Crowdvilla in May to become its exclusive asset manager. Crowdvilla is now seeking to raise $18 million through an ICO to build a group of shared holiday homes.
Taking another route, MC Payment, a blockchain payments firm, acquired a lifestyle startup that raised $2.4 million through an ICO in 2017, and is now setting out to go public via the purchase of an already listed Singaporean firm called Artivision.
While Singapore currently has guidelines for ICOs, but no hard and fast rules, a spokesperson for the stock exchange said in a local news report on Friday that public companies must periodically report on their ICO status to ensure stock investors are properly informed.