Blockchain firm eyes R441m initial coin offering

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WIZZLE is using its ICO to make crypto-currencies accessible to everyone.
WIZZLE is using its ICO to make crypto-currencies accessible to everyone.

Global blockchain service provider WIZZLE is courting South African investors with its EUR30 million (R441 million) initial coin offering (ICO).

In an interview with ITWeb, Mark Noorlander, CEO of WIZZLE, said the primary goal of the ICO is to create a global blockchain with a local presence. For this ICO, WIZZLE plans to work with South African operators to ensure locals also have access.

"We want to make crypto-currencies accessible to everyone, and showcase how easy it is to buy and sell your crypto-currencies on the market," says Noorlander.

"We are currently building relationships with local people so you can transfer your money to your WIZZLE account and get started. It is that simple. It may sound like a scam because it's that easy, but we designed our platform to help people overcome the hurdles that crypto-currencies held up in the past."

According to the company, the goal of the ICO is to drive the growth of the WIZZLE Network and the WIZZLE bank-in-a-box solution which is already operating in the Netherlands, while lowering the barrier to entry for both consumers and businesses.

It points out the WIZZLE Infinity ICO is designed to take the company to the next level by introducing the WIZZLE Infinity (WZI) token that can be used as currency to pay for services provided by WIZZLE or its partners.

The WZI tokens will be available to purchase at a discount during the various ICO phases, and will be accessible to anyone in any country, unless prohibited by regulation, the company says. The ICO is currently in the presale phase.

An ICO is an unregulated means of crowdfunding via use of crypto-currency. Ethereum is, as of 2017, the leading blockchain platform for ICOs, with more than 50% market share.

However, the Ethereum network ICOs have resulted in much phishing, Ponzi schemes, and other scams, accounting for about 10% of ICOs.

Commenting on this, Noorlander says everyone should be concerned about scams in the ICO world and urges investors to do their homework before parting with their money.

"I truly believe people need to spend time investigating the different ICOs to ensure the ones they want to invest in are legitimate. However, the incidence of scam ICOs is reducing, which is a positive thing, but it also has the opposite effect of making people less careful when it comes to their decisions."

Regulation of ICOs has also been a thorny issue in several jurisdictions. For example, Chinese regulators recently outlawed all ICOs, demanding that the proceeds from all past ICOs be refunded to investors or face being "severely punished according to the law".

Although ICOs are not banned in the US, the country's Securities and Exchange Commission last year ruled that ICOs should be treated as investment securities and subject to the relevant regulations.

For Noorlander, the regulation of ICOs is a double-edged sword. "On one hand, they should have regulations, but on the other hand no. The latter would limit the ICO from being able to do the things it can currently do, especially in the investment world. If you regulate all ICOs, then the ICO doesn't exist anymore. It becomes an IPO [initial public offering] and we have that already."

He points out there are some products around that support the regulation of the ICO, but he believes the community should be the true police.

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