Tim Draper, a prominent VC investor in Silicon Valley, will be participating in a funding round for blockchain-based platform Tezos through buying an ‘initial coin offering’ (ICO) later this month, Draper told Reuters in an interview.
Founded by a husband and wife team, Tezos is an independent smart contract platform built as an alternative to Ethereum.
Traditionally, venture capital firms are bound by agreements with investors that guide the types of assets they can allocate funds toward. Cryptocurrencies are rarely included in this list, but Draper said that the contract terms with his investors allow investing in pretty much any vehicle.
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Tim Draper is a famous venture capitalist, whose other notable investments have included Skype, Hotmail and Prosper Marketplace.
ICOs act as a new form of fundraising, somewhere between crowdfunding and VC investment. They are used by blockchain start-ups to fund their projects through the sale of crypto-tokens to investors. According to Neufund, blockchain startups have been given much more than $250 million in funding through ICOs.
ICOs are different from IPOs because they take place before a company has any real offering, and they’re different from traditional crowdfunding because rather than being a donation, they give participants a stake in their respective companies and a right to vote on decisions and actions taken in the future.
Commenting on his plan to participate in Tezos’ token offering, Draper said: “The best thing I can do is lead by example. Over time, I actually feel that some of these tokens are going to improve the world, and I want to make sure those tokens get promoted as well. I think Tezos is one of those tokens.”
“I think most investor contracts did not anticipate something like an ICO. But we did anticipate that certain things are going to happen and finance is going to be transformed,” he added.