On August 29, 2017, Financial Commission, a member-driven external dispute resolution organization serving international e-brokerages and foreign exchange (forex) clientele, announced an extension of its FinTech certification service to blockchain startups seeking to launch token offerings.
To facilitate the certification process, Financial Commission created an "Initial Coin Offering Certification Committee (ICC)" that will consist of FinTech experts from various sectors, including forex and cryptocurrency markets. These experts will generate certification standards and protocols, taking guidance from an existing Dispute Resolution Committee within Financial Commission.
ICC's founding member and Financial Commission Chairman, Peter Tatarnikov, explained why the service was created.
“The ICO certification service was a natural addition to our existing technology certification service for Fintech companies. Cryptofinancing via ICOs is skyrocketing in popularity yet the process is still ridden with challenges for issuers and investors – so the need to establish best practices for Fintech companies seeking capital raises via cryptofinancing was needed and Financial Commission is pleased to now offer certification to eligible firms seeking to do an ICO."
"The certification is limited to the assessment by ICC of the cryptocurrency platform of the issuer being in line with the minimum set of criteria determined by the ICC, some of which may be mandatory for certification approval. Financial Commission will issue certification only when all outstanding requirements have been met by companies that apply for ICO certification, and the standards for ICO certification will continually evolve based on the stewardship from Financial Commission’s ICO Certification Committee.”
Financial Commission commits itself to establishing best practices for those pursuing token offerings. In an effort to lend support to the burgeoning industry rising around token offerings, ICC plans to integrate FinTech, blockchain, forex, and crypto-industry experts to create, according to the report, "a baseline of best practices and standards" applicable to every company issuing a token offering.
Primarily, the certification will be available for FinTech companies seeking to raise funding through token offerings, or those who have already done so, and are seeking to engage in another token offering. To that end, the ICC will compile an extensive list of compliance requirements prior to certification. The certification is not meant to be a measure as to the success or failure of a token offering, nor an endorsement. It is merely a minimum set of criteria that Financial Commission maintains every token offering should meet.
Financial Commission gave details as to the scope of the certification:
"ICC will certify the issuer’s cryptocurrency platform for being fit for the purposes of the offering and being in line with the characteristics of the offering set out in the relevant white paper. ICC’s certification report is not to be relied upon in any manner as investment, financial, legal, tax or any other advice and shall not be used in substitution for the exercise of independent judgment. Investors shall be responsible for conducting its own investigation and analysis of the information contained in the certification report."
Important to note, this self-regulating process is being conducted by a non-regulatory non-governmental agency. While Financial Commission’s ICC will guide companies engaging in token offerings, the certification’s benefits are yet to be seen.