These days, bitcoins and cryptocurrency seem to be all anyone can talk about. Curious to learn more? Today, we are thrilled to be talking to Allan Wunsche who is the founder and CEO of TokenFunder and cofounder of Blockchain Canada. This startup utilizes Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that allows companies to offer their own tokens for sale to the public to fund their new ventures. In short, it’s an online fundraising method. Being Ontario’s First Regulated Token Offering, we definitely wanted to learn more from this startup’s very own founder! Tune in with us below and hear more about how TokenFunder has accomplished this.
What is the TokenFunder project? How did the founders come up with this idea?
TokenFunder (www.TokenFunder.com) is a blockchain company building a venture funding ecosystem. We’re building a Smart Token Asset Management Platform (STAMP) designed to help all kinds of companies create a new class of digital assets that can help them fund ventures and build ecosystems. We’re funding that development with our own initial Token Offering.
My TokenFunder co-founder, Laura Pratt, and I literally had a front row seat in Toronto at the beginning of the blockchain space since the launch of Toronto-based Ethereum in 2015. We had been active with exciting fintech startups earlier in our careers and our sense was that Ethereum promised to be the next evolution of the internet. Before TokenFunder, we started Blockchain Canada to help Canadian blockchain innovators and it triggered big ideas. As a CPA with deep technology, finance, banking experience, I led financial and risk transformation initiatives at a large bank and envisioned future blockchain applications. I can code in Ethereum and was convinced it had a transformative future. In 2016, early Ethereum projects were starting to deploy tokens to raise funds and we envisioned a new world of regulated digital assets issued by companies across industries. Since blockchain technology and Ethereum is so new and not easy for companies to deploy, we were compelled to create build a business that would help mainstream ventures use cryptoassets to help them fund and scale their businesses, and we decided to build it in Canada.
Can you tell us a bit about what ICO/initial token offering is? The ICO allows digital finance to take place on the platform Blockchain. Why the Blockchain?
An Initial Coin Offering (ICO), is a blockchain era version of the Initial Public Offering. The ICO came about to describe the process of companies offering their own tokens for sale to the public to fund their new ventures. Instead of going to angel investors or venture capitalists, the projects go directly to the public. These ICOs accept cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Ether in exchange for their project’s tokens. The tokens can represent real world equity shares with specific voting rights or access to a software platform. Since not all tokens should be considered “coins”, the market is now evolving to the term Initial Token Offering (ITO), which we at TokenFunder prefer.
Why are investors keen in investing with cryptocurrencies?
Investors with cryptocurrency want the ability to deploy their funds and even diversify their holdings. They are able to fund projects directly with their cryptocurrencies by sending their funds such as Ether, the native digital currency of the Ethereum blockchain, directly to the project via the blockchain without any intermediary taking a portion of the proceeds. The transaction fees for sending a cryptocurrency are very low. Since the blockchain makes it possible to send cryptocurrency directly to anyone or any project in the world, it means that investors can support projects that exist in other countries. Capital becomes global and an innovative project can attract capital from anywhere.
How will TokenFunder work?
TokenFunder, as a platform service, will enable companies to build a custom digital token suitable for their business and issue the token to the public market in order to meet the companies’ funding and business objectives. We have a big vision of going beyond just helping businesses issue tokens. Real investors want governance and accountability and most ICOs today catering to speculators don’t have these critical elements so we’re building that into the platform as well.
Being Ontario’s first ICO to be granted by the government, how is the ICO environment in Canada? How do you plan on expanding on a global scale taking into account government regulators?
The environment in Canada is generally positive for companies who work with the securities regulators. TokenFunder is an Ontario corporation and therefore the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) is TokenFunder’s principal regulator. The OSC created a fintech focused and innovation-oriented “OSC LaunchPad” to work with startups. As soon as the OSC LaunchPad was announced, we immediately had our application in to work with the LaunchPad team. They were receptive to learning all about the space and guided us to a model that allowed us to innovate with the technology as long as we provided clear investor protections.
Where is Canada’s position when it comes to Blockchain?
Canadian companies are quite advanced with the their vision for the potential of blockchain technology. Large companies are experimenting with the technology and our innovative startups are as good as any in the world. The challenge we have is in getting governments at all levels to realize how important it is to our country’s economic future to support this sector. Other countries have been very explicit about their government’s support for becoming global blockchain innovation centres so I’d say we need to be more proactive about supporting our innovators in Canada.
What’s next for TokenFunder?
TokenFunder is currently selling its own FNDR tokens in order to build out the full platform, which we call the Smart Token Asset Management Platform. Once we build the key modules, we’ll help other companies’ issue tokens and help manage them. Sometimes we’ll help them build ecosystems around their tokens. We have a grand vision of tokenization to make it easy for any company in the world to issue tokens to fund their innovations and drive a new era of applications.
The TokenFunder token sale is currently ongoing and on its way to meet its capital target. However, there could be investors out there who do not fully grasp the participatory process as such can you kindly give us a step-by-step guide on how one could start investing?
We’ve made investing in TokenFunder pretty straightforward. From our main site at https://www.TokenFunder.com a prospective investor can download our full Offering Memorandum and then decide to Invest right on the site. We’re able to accept both ETH and $CAD and up to $2,500 online from any investor that meets some investor suitability tests, including not investing more than 10% of their net financial assets. If an investor wants to invest more, there’s an additional purchase agreement step. As already mentioned, we have a Know Your Client (KYC) process that ensures we know you and can interact with you
As a startup in digital finance, what were some obstacles you met and how did you overcome them?
Any startup in a new space such as blockchain is challenging but ours was especially challenging because we wanted to issue a token that would be a regulated security. That meant that we had to engage with securities regulators. We were fortunate to work with a technology-oriented law firm, DLA Piper, that believed in the long term vision and knew securities regulations. They’re an international firm and we expect that will benefit us with our global scale-up plan.
Going forward, we’ll definitely need to grow the team with talented blockchain enthusiasts. If any blockchain enthusiasts want to join our journey, we’re certainly keen to speak with them.
What resources, meetups, websites, or books do you recommend on Blockchain technology?
We would definitely recommend people who are interested in the technology to take one of the many online Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchain courses available at Udemy, Coursera and BlockGeeks. Books such as Mastering Bitcoin are more technical in nature and a strong foundation. Online journals as such as CoinDesk have become defacto blockchain news organizations and we’d recommend diving in there as well. Blockchain Canada holds meetups which can be found at meetup.com/BlockchainCanada.
To learn more visit: www.TokenFunder.com