The New ICO Intermediaries

by Vanessa Villanueva Collao and Verity Winship

Smart contracts promise a world without intermediaries. However, that promise has quickly proved elusive, including in the context of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a vehicle for funding startups built on smart contracts and blockchain. Particularly as ICOs attract retail investors who are not code-literate, the question arises: is there a role for new intermediaries? This article assesses the possibility of an ICO auditor, providing a framework for understanding potential audit functions. In particular, it identifies three main roles: to translate the code for retail investors who are not code-sophisticates, to reconcile the code with promises made in other materials aimed at ICO participants, and to verify offline activity and identity where these remain important to the transactions. It then maps these functions onto emerging models.

DOI 10.23815/2421-2156.ITALJ           ISSN 2421-2156

 Read the full article