Morning Report: To close out the week, let’s look at the airline that may ICO its loyalty program.
This week hasn’t been too kind to the cyrpto markets. It has seen steep declines in value of top cryptocurrencies stacked next to fresh news of fraud. But that doesn’t mean that all the froth in the world of digital tokens has fizzled away.
As it turns out, a publicly traded airline is thinking about executing an ICO. Per TechCrunch’s Jon Russell, the following cringe:
Tony Fernandes, CEO of [AirAsia, a budget airline and a] $3 billion company which is publicly listed in Malaysia, told TechCrunch that he is analyzing the potential to hold an ICO that would raise money by introducing its own cryptocurrency.
“We have two things that are very interesting which will have relevance to ICOs, one is our loyalty card where we have [loyalty program] BIG Points, and I think those BigPoints can be easily transferred to the blockchain,” Fernandes said on the sidelines of Money2020 in Singapore.
The idea that “tokens already exist, they are just called rewards points” argument isn’t new; in my experience, it’s one of the more common arguments in favor of ICO’d tokens having some potential, real-world value. To have a public company like AirAsia pull off an ICO of this sort would be a pretty big event. If it went well (you can guess my view on that), it could lead to other airlines raising capital in the same way.
And why might airlines want to raise capital from the crypto space? Recall that AirAsia, an airline with jets and pilots and support staff and booking systems, is worth $3 billion. Cardano, in contrast, a cryptocurrency you haven’t heard of, is worth $4.7 billion. If you can stop grinding out market cap with flights and instead raise a metric truckload of cash for your company by floating (in effect) your loyalty program to bullish nerds, why wouldn’t you?
From The Crunchbase Daily:
- Robinhood, the no-fee stock trading app, is reportedly in the final stages of closing a $350 million Series D round led by the Russian firm DST Global. The new financing is said to value the five-year-old Silicon Valley company at about $5.6 billion, a fourfold increase in the space of a year.
It seems like startup news is full of overnight success stories and sudden failures. But what about companies that mature more gradually? Crunchbase News investigates whether a slower approach can be successful in startup-land.
- Spotify announced plans to begin public trading on April 3rd. The music streaming giant, which is going public through a direct listing process, is playing up its youthful user base, multi-platform approach, and longstanding freemium model to woo investors.
- Ideaya Biosciences, a developer of immuno-oncology therapies, closed a $94 million Series B round backed by thirteen new and existing investors, including GV, Roche, Canaan Partners, and Celgene.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias
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