Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Odd Lots: History Has a Warning for Investors in Initial Coin Offerings

Previous attempts at tokens haven’t necessarily gone well.

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Every week, hosts Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway take you on a not-so-random walk through hot topics in markets, finance and economics.

You can’t go a day without hearing about initial coin offerings, or ICOs. By taking advantage of a regulatory gap and the buzz surrounding cryptocurrencies, companies are now raising millions of dollars by launching their own coins. But what’s the point of these coins? What are they supposed to do? And what are the pitfalls?

On this week’s podcast, we talk to Elaine Ou, a blockchain engineer at Global Financial Access and a Bloomberg View contributor, about the economics of ICOs, and how previous attempts at creating similar markets ended up as failures.
 

 

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