US dating app Whispers mulls $45m ICO, to expand to Asia

US-based video streaming dating app Whispers Live is looking to raise around $30-45 million through an initial coin offering (ICO).

Whispers, which is in beta mode, said it will offer 10-15 per cent of its 1 billion digital coins, called RoseCoin, each at 0.001 Ethereum, which is currently priced at $300. The transaction is expected to take place on October 1, 2017.

The company will initially issue 10 per cent coins through a public crowdsale and continue to sell another 5 per cent at a 30 per cent premium if the 100,000 Ethereum target for the first tranche is reached.

A portion of 50 per cent is reserved for a user growth pool, 10 per cent of which will be allocated to pre-sale period via private transactions. The remaining coins are allotted to Board of Advisors, future employee retention program, team members, contributors and partners.

RoseCoin is used as a token of appreciation within the app for tipping video hosts. In the future, the company aims to make the token a general gift exchanging platform for other online dating and live-streaming businesses.

Whispers’ system allows real-time, one-on-one video chatting, where users (callers) pay for the services with a credit card and tip the hosts (callees) with RoseCoin or fiat currencies, while the hosts can set their own rate for the video chat and earn money for each minute hosting the call.

RoseCoin is implemented as an Ethereum-based token on the Ethereum blockchain. However, the company may move the digital coin to another blockchain if market conditions allow, or even build its own blockchain if all public platforms become fertile.

“We expect to accept RoseCoin as a form of payment for hosts’ time when RoseCoin becomes tradable on exchanges, after the ICO, and when our dating social network is of critical and globally scalable size.”

Following the ICO, Whispers aims to expand to North America and Australia in the first quarter of 2018, then Southeast Asia and Africa in the next quarter.

“We believe the cryptocurrency holders can be a natural fit to be active users of Whispers Live,” Charles Thach, co-founder and CEO of the startup, told DEALSTREETASIA in an interaction.

He said the firm recognises the risks of this unregulated market, adding that ICO risks “vary so much in nature”, ranging from considerations whether it is a form of project financing, equity financing, debt financing, combination or derivatives.

Most ICOs currently do not have a working prototype, and regulators in parts of the world, particularly the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have started to see cryptocurrencies through a new lens to protect investors amid the frenzy.

Some nations, like Japan, have adopted digital currencies as a legal payment method. Asia might be an easy playground for startups like Whispers to enter, as Singapore, Southeast Asia’s financial hub, recently joined the fray to consider legalising ICOs.

Blockchain enthusiasts are tapping ICOs to raise funds, with around $1.2 billion token sales from the beginning of this year until July 25, according to Autonomous Research.

Also read:

Singapore financial regulator MAS says will regulate initial coin offers

Blockchain maturation in emerging markets to drive future ICO activity

Blockchain Capital becomes first VC fund to issue own digital tokens

Japanese VCs commit $9m investment in Tech Bureau’s blockchain ICO platform

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.