Filecoin’s ICO opens today for accredited investors after raising $52M from advisers

Filecoin, the much-anticipated cryptocurrency that will eventually power a distributed file storage system, is opening its ICO today at 12pm PT / 3pm ET today.

Last week Filecoin concluded a much talked about “advisor” sale that brought in a total of $52M from ~150 investors including Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Winklevoss Capital and about 100 individual high-profile Silicon Valley investors.

Ten percent of tokens allocated will go to advisors and ICO investors, with 15% going to Protocol Labs (the company creating FileCoin), 5% going to a new foundation, and 70% being held for miner rewards. The ICO is capped in terms of FileCoin sold at 200M, but the final price of FileCoin will depend on the total amount of USD raised, which is uncapped.

If you’re interested in more specifics related to the ICO distribution, you can read the economics of the token sale here.

Some have criticized Filecoin’s advisor distribution, saying that there will likely be a large valuation difference between the price per coin paid by advisors, and the higher price that may be paid by later investors.

Filecoin’s founders responded to these issues, saying that “The advisor sale involved an amazing group of technologists, researchers, entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, industry leaders, and investors…and all of them are committed — vested — to work closely with us to make the Filecoin Network as valuable as they can, for years to come. Hence the discounted price.”

The advisor sale was priced at $0.75 per coin with discounts for extended vesting periods. The ICO opening today starts at $1 per token (also with discounts for extended vesting), and increases by a dollar for every $40M USD raised – with a cap around $6 dollar per token. However FileCoin founder and Protocol Labs CEO Juan Benet explained that the offering’s increasing price feature is designed to “price out” participants, and they don’t expect it to be fully subscribed.

Some were also concerned with the method of ICO distribution – like many previous ICOs, Filecoin was totally first come first serve, meaning that there was a chance of network congestion or unfair price distribution depending on payment confirmation times. In response, Filecoin announced that all investments made in the first hour will be averaged for fairness, with the standard price increase happening for all investments not made in the first hour. After the first hour the price will increase as more investments are made, and that rising price will be visible to investors before they decide to participate.

Notably, Filecoin is hosting its ICO on CoinList – a new platform designed to let groups hold SEC-complaint ICOs. The platform was originally built by Protocol Labs, but AngelList has become involved and CoinList may eventually become a spun-off joint venture between the two companies that hosts future ICOs from other projects.

This will be CoinList’s first ICO, and they’ve worked with lawyers to create a SAFT – or Simple Agreement for Future Tokens, which in itself is a security. Since the network isn’t launching for at least 6 months, investors aren’t actually buying tokens right now – they are just signing a contract to receive them in the future.

While the SEC hasn’t directly ruled on this specific agreement, they did recently say that ICOs have to comply with existing security registration laws, but Filecoin (and of course many expensive lawyers) think that this agreement is totally SEC-compliant.

Plus, only accredited investors ($200,000+ in income or $1M+ in net worth) will be able to participate, which AngelList will vet just like they do for investors trying to join that platform.

So if you’re a regular person that wants a piece of the action, you are going to have to wait until the tokens begin trading on an exchange, or the networks opens so you can add storage space and “mine” tokens that way.

The offering goes live today, and if you want to learn more you can check out FileCoin’s page on CoinList.