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全球区块链资产项目大热 带动早期融资模式转变

从2016年年初开始,比特币不仅带动了一系列区块链相关资产项目的产生,同时也在悄悄改变着早期融资的模式。

现在,年轻的区块链创业公司不再一味为迎合传统资本市场的天使投资人和风险投资公司而努力。取而代之的是,全球大量投资人对区块链资产产生了大量需求,而且他们对于在线发送电子货币给素未谋面团队、以促进他们生产出最佳产品毫无疑虑。

区块链创业公司不断增长的电子货币需求吸引着越来越多投资人的注意,他们将目光从传统众筹和IPO转移到了被称为“首次货币发行”的ICO。

这条电子货币资金链显示出无数诱人的机会,其中包括全世界范围的潜在投资者池、有限的认证准则和全球多家交易所通过深层订货单和用户对于新型资产的追逐提供7天24小时的服务,而这些都是在模糊的法律和监管标准下完成了初期发展。

如今,完成融资的效率达到了全所未有的水平。区块链公司可以在几天、几小时甚至几分钟之内募集数百万美元的资金——而在这之前,项目融资方可能需要好几个月进行关系建立、谈判和对产品和盈利增长的证明。

从传统角度来看,创业公司最初会通过自己的朋友或家人为他们提供起步资金,然后在打造出产品模型后通过天使投资人手中获得几十万的天使轮投资。之后,他们会祈祷一年后能够从风险投资公司手中获得几百万的A轮投资,这个投资将会提供给他们很多帮助:市场机会、产品增长、团队背景、资金帮助甚至是已经参与到此轮投资的人的帮助。

区块链创业公司从去年开始也采用了这种传统路径。2012年,Ripple获取了20万美元的种子轮资金;2013年,获取了两轮100万美元的天使轮投资;2013年末,获取了另外350万美元的种子轮投资,并最终在2015年中期获得了2.8亿美元的新一轮投资。与此类似,Factom在2015年4月获取了14万美元的最初种子轮投资,并在接下来的8个月内获得了总计300万美元的三轮投资。Ripple和Factomd都有来自他们的网络的区块链资产——XPR和FCT,并选择风险投资作为将货币卖给公众的路径。

然而仅仅在2016年一年里,我们就发现了3个通过出售自有电子货币实现快速募资的区块链创业公司:Lisk一个月内募资500万美元,Digix在14小时内集资超过500万美元,就在不久前,First Blood在五分钟内募资超过500万美元。这三个平台都处于非常早期阶段。

区块链资产集资并不会限制于几百万美元的规模。比如,今年Waves募资1500万美元,DAO也在被黑客攻击前获1.5亿美元资金,并使得Ethereum(ETH,另一个获取超过1500万美元资金、现在估值超过10亿美元的著名crowdsale公司)舍弃一个分支(Ethereum Classic,ETC,现在估值超过1亿美元)。

目前来看,这种趋势还将持续下去,比如Lcomomi就在几天前获取了超过500万美元的资金,并高度参与到Golem、ZCash等项目里;Gnosis计划在接下来的几周开始他们的募资。

传统的早期融资和投资模式已经发生了改变。如今,全球涌现出了无数的区块链公司和项目,而这个市场正在开始吸引全世界企业和投资者的目光。

In early 2016 it started becoming obvious that Bitcoin hadn’t just given rise to a full new asset class of blockchain related projects but that these entities were reinventing how early stage fundraising is done.

No longer are young blockchain startups laboring in the traditional capital markets of angel investors and venture capital firms. Instead, we’re seeing massive demand for blockchain assets from investors globally who have no qualms about sending digital currencies online to teams they’ve never met in person who have yet to produce even an MVP product.

The continually growing number of massive digital-currency raises among blockchain startups has shifted the attention of many investors from conventional crowdfundings and IPOs to what have now been dubbed “Initial Coin Offerings” or ICOs.

This digital-currency funding path presents numerous alluring opportunities, from a worldwide potential investor pool to limited accreditation standards to multiple global exchanges providing 24/7 trading with deep order books and clients hungry for new assets —  all with vague legal and regulatory compliance standards completely in their infancy.

The speed and ease of closing a round has never been so efficient. Blockchain companies are now raising millions of dollars in days, hours, or even just minutes  —  a process that used to require months upon months of relationship building, negotiation, and proof of product and revenue growth.

Traditionally, a startup would dream of initially tapping friends and family for money to get off the ground, building a prototype to help raise a seed of a few hundred thousand from angels, and then praying to close a Series A of a few million over a year later from established VC firms who would drill them on everything from market opportunity to product growth to the background of the team to its financials to who else is already committed in the round.

And blockchain startups were taking this traditional path as recently as last year. We saw Ripple raise a $200,000 seed back in 2012, two $1 million angel rounds in 2013, another $3.5 million seed in late 2013, and then eventually raise a massive $28 million round in mid 2015. Similarly, Factom raised an initial seed of $140,000 in April 2015 and three subsequent rounds in the following eight months to total around $3 million. Both Ripple and Factom have blockchain assets native to their networks, XRP and FCT, yet chose the VC route as opposed to selling tokens to the public.

But in 2016 alone, we’ve seen three extremely fast blockchain-startup fundraises based on the sale of their native digital tokens: Lisk (LSK) raised over $5 million in a month, Digix (DGD) raised over $5 million in 14 hours, and just yesterday, First Blood (1SŦ) raised over $5 million in less than five minutes. Each of these platforms is very much in its early stages.

Blockchain asset raises haven’t been limited to the few-million-dollar range either. This same year we’ve also watched Waves raise north of $15 million and The DAO notoriously raise north of $150 million before getting hacked and causing Ethereum (ETH, another famous crowdsale that raised over $15 million  —  now worth over $1 billion) to spin off another fork (Ethereum Classic, ETC  —  now worth over $100 million).

The trend is only continuing to pick up steam, and the calendar of live and upcoming blockchain asset crowdsales is getting more packed than ever, with Iconomi having collected over $5 million with several days left and highly anticipated projects like Golem, ZCash, and Gnosis scheduled to kick off their fundraisings in the coming weeks.

The traditional paradigm of early stage fundraising and investing has clearly shifted, and it’s clear we’re in for a world of numerous blockchains and projects with their own markets that have begun to attract the attention of both entrepreneurs and investors worldwide.


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