- The Seattle start-up Unikrn has already raised $25 million for an initial coin offering
- Unikrn will sell virtual tokens for use on its platform to bet on sporting events
Some big names are participating in Unikrn's unique initial coin offering.
The Seattle startup launched an initial coin offering, or ICO, this past Friday and has already raised $25 million, Unikrn CEO Rahul Sood told GeekWire.
Unikrn is selling virtual tokens called UnikoinGold that can be used on its platform to bet on esports matches. Those tokens can be exchanged for other major cryptocurrencies, such as ethereum and bitcoin, which can then be exchanged for U.S. dollars.
UnikoinGold is based on the ethereum blockchain, which is similar to Bitcoin, the largest digital currency that was trading up more than 7 percent on Monday despite concerns about regulation in China.
Unikrn opened a limited presale for big blockchain groups "who we felt would work to build commercial opportunities for the UnikoinGold ecosystem," Sood said.
Blockchain Capital and Pantera Capital, top firms investing in the cryptocurrency ecosystem, and Draper's Dragon Fund, a joint venture between Draper Fisher Jurvetson and DragonVenture, participated in the ICO. Unikrn investor Mark Cuban and Ethereum co-founder Anthony Diiorio, who just joined Unikrn's advisory board, also participated.
Unikrn launched its "crowdsale" Saturday and is gradually opening it region by region. Sood said the company built its own token sale platform with features designed to increase security and efficiency.
"It's pretty awesome and we believe it's more secure than other ICOs," he noted.
Here's more details about the token sale platform, via Unikrn's blog:
Unikrn built an entirely new token selling platform with dynamic, random, hot-swappable cold-storage wallets and full global Know Your Customer (KYC) system. The returns on that mammoth effort is a ground-breaking engine that, we believe, is safer, faster and more secure than the typical smart contract implementation. These efforts create much greater-than-typical security in addition to showing what you already knew: Unikrn is an established company with an established product looking to include reputable purchasers. You'll get more perspective on this from our CTO soon.
Unikrn will use the proceeds from the ICO to help fund the growth of its business; it plans to keep its ICO open for another month and will cap it at $100 million. The company previously raised $10 million in venture funding from Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Binary Capital, Indicator Ventures, and more.
Sood told GeekWire in July that there is a difference between investing in a company and participating in an ICO.
"Venture funding is when you sell a piece of equity to a venture fund," Sood explained. "Token sales are when you sell a token that works on your platform. It's not an investment because it's completely liquid. It's almost like you are buying a specific currency that you can trade with and use on our platform."
Founded in 2014, Unikrn employs 30 people across offices in Seattle, Berlin, Sydney, and Las Vegas. It was named a Seattle 10 startup in 2015.
—By Taylor Soper, Re/code.net.
CNBC's parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Recode's parent Vox, and the companies have a content-sharing arrangement.