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Initial Crypto-asset Offerings (ICOs), tokenization and corporate governance

St\'ephane Bl\'emus and Dominique Guegan
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St\'ephane Bl\'emus: UP1
Dominique Guegan: CES, UP1

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Abstract: This paper discusses the potential impacts of the so-called `initial coin offerings', and of several developments based on distributed ledger technology (`DLT'), on corporate governance. While many academic papers focus mainly on the legal qualification of DLT and crypto-assets, and most notably in relation to the potential definition of the latter as securities/financial instruments, the authors analyze some of the use cases based on DLT technology and their potential for significant changes of the corporate governance analyses. This article studies the consequences due to the emergence of new kinds of firm stakeholders, i.e. the crypto-assets holders, on the governance of small and medium-sized enterprises (`SMEs') as well as of publicly traded companies. Since early 2016, a new way of raising funds has rapidly emerged as a major issue for FinTech founders and financial regulators. Frequently referred to as initial coin offerings, Initial Token Offerings (`ITO'), Token Generation Events (`TGE') or simply `token sales', we use in our paper the terminology Initial Crypto-asset Offerings (`ICO'), as it describes more effectively than `initial coin offerings' the vast diversity of assets that could be created and which goes far beyond the payment instrument issue.

Date: 2019-03
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