An Auckland based blockchain firm raised over $15m in cyptocurrency at an ICO pre-sale.

An ICO (initial coin offering) is the blockchain equivalent of an initial public offering on the sharemarket. An ICO allows tech companies on the blockchain to raise funds through investors who typically invest with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ethereum.

The blockchain is a decentralised peer-to-peer ecosystem in which verification of transactions is done collectively rather than through an intermediary like a bank.

Auckland firm Centrality assists technology firms and start-ups get their ideas on the blockchain ecosystem. Their ICO - or token pre-sale - raised over 30,000 ether, the equivalent of $15 million.

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"ICOs are the tech phenomenon of the year," said Centrality founder and chief executive Aaron McDonald.

"It's a new and novel thing. There are opportunities and risks, there's been a lot of activity and hype around it," he said.

"You have to look at it somewhat similarly to the early days of the internet booms where because it's so exciting and because its so new and because the potential is so big you're going to get good apples and bad apples. Probably more bad apples than good apples to start off with."

"You can't avoid it, it's part of every tech cycle."

Centrality has evolved the unregulated nature of the ICO and worked with investment partners Blockhaus to develop the world's first Token Generating Event (TGE). While the investment nature will remain decentralised, all crypto-investors must comply with regulations and pass anti-money laundering checks.

The next stage of Centrality's TGE will be a main sale. The date of the sale has not yet been announced.