Republic, a site where aspiring businesses can seek investment from the general public, has a new business plan of its own: sell digital tokens that will deliver payouts to investors.
CEO Ken Nguyen revealed the news when he dropped by Fortune’s Balancing the Ledger studio this week. He did not provide many details of the plan, which he discusses at the 8 minute mark of the clip above, but said the token sale would occur in a few months.
“There’s an equity revenue component to it as well as functionality,” he added, while stating the tokens will be sold on the Republic site as well on exchanges and other forums.
The idea of selling digital tokens on the premise they will be used in a future project is not new, of course. The concept is central to so-called “Initial Coin Offerings” (aka ICOs), which raised billions of dollars last year for a variety of blockchain-related endeavors.
There is now something of a stigma around ICOs, however, as many of the projects failed to deliver what they promised or turned out to be blatant scams.
In the case of Republic, its token plans are almost certainly on the level given that Nguyen is the formal general counsel to AngelList, a respected site for affluent investors to back startups.
Republic is a spin-off of AngelList, which is directed at the general public rather than at professional investors. Nguyen says the site carefully screens the projects that want to raise money on the platforms, and that Republic’s acceptance rates are lower than that of Harvard.
He says the investments do involve a high level of risk—after all this is giving money to startups over the Internet—but that Republic supervises the companies on the platform, in part by putting the money they raise into escrow until they pass certain milestones.
Republic currently has three crytpo-related projects on its platform, including one called “Quarters” that is run by a 12-year-old whiz kid CEO. Check out the video above for more on that and other details.