I n May 2017, with a white paper and a small team of developers mostly located in Belgrade, Serbia, MobileGo raised $53 million in an initial coin offering (ICO). At the time, ICOs were new to the world of finance. Unlike initial public offerings, or IPOs, they required no lawyers, bankers or regulatory approval and were more akin to Kickstarter-style crowdfunding, except funds were raised in cryptocurrency, typically bitcoin or ethereum. MobileGo's goal was to build a cryptocurrency platform for making purchases inside video games and betting on esports, which had become a sizzling-hot trend. The ICO was one of the biggest such deals of the year. But today, few people know where that $53 million is. The startup claims 150 people are working on MobileGo products, but Sergey and Maxim Sholom, the brothers who lead the project, keep company financials private. According to former employees, the Sholoms have moved away from cryptocurrency as a central aspect of their business plan. A spokesperson for MobileGo insists they are still trying to deliver on their original goals. Or take the case of Polybius, an Estonian project named after the classical Greek father of cryptography. It raised $32 million through an ICO in the summer of 2017. Its lofty goal was to create… Read full this story
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