Is an ICO an Investment or a Donation?

It emerged recently amidst the Tezos controversy that the cofounders consider ICO contributions to be donations, saying that the Tezos fundraiser was like contributing to a public television station and receiving “a tote bag” in return. As it turns out, many projects incorporate this language in the fine print when they issue tokens. Rather than greed, these projects have cited legal liability as the reason for the official designations of tokens as worthless notes of participation. However, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, regulators are likely to think it's securities law violation. 


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