Despite their surging popularity, initial coin offerings for digital currency start-ups remain almost entirely unregulated, leaving many institutional investors on the sidelines waiting for more clarity.
They're unsure if the cryptocurrencies should be treated as securities, which would subject them to heavier regulations and scrutiny from the SEC. Often the companies have no product to back, but just the promise of one.
Filecoin is seeking to attract sophisticated money managers with a new type of offering. The project, developed by start-up Protocol Labs, said on Wednesday that it will launch its ICO this month on Coinlist, a new platform it created with cooperation from AngelList, a service that connects startups and investors.
"The SEC is very well aware of this whole market and I think they're going to appear at some point and will try to fix it," Juan Benet, the founder of Filecoin, told CNBC.
Rather than making crypto tokens available to anyone, Coinlist is open only to accredited investors -- those making over $200,000 a year or have a net worth of over $1 million -- gating out the less sophisticated investors who tend to drive more volatility. It also uses a new security protocol called SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Tokens) that was designed to meet existing securities regulations.