Between hurricanes, wildfires and the political uncertainty everywhere, the world has looked a little bleak lately.
However, we have not come to bum you out on a Saturday. Quite the contrary. We have come to spread the goods news of the latest financial services innovation.
We are, of course, talking about Wu-Tang Financial.
No, we’re not kidding.
Yes, we know it is a Chappelle show bit. We would have embedded the video into the story, but Comedy Central doesn’t seem to want to share. But what was a joke in the ‘90s, is now the real deal, made possible by two things.
The philosophy of the Wu-Tang Clan is spelled out on its 1997 track: C.R.E.A.M — or Cash Rules Everything Around Me.
Enter blockchain, because cash no longer rules everything around the Wu-Tang Clan, and yet the ethos of CREAM can still live on.
And now, it stands for something else.
Crypto Rules Everything Around Me.
In the ever-proliferating wave of cryptocurrencies and ICOs, Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah hopes to raise $30 million in a digital coin sale in November of this year. The CREAM in Cream Capital stands for Crypto.
To be more precise, Ghostface Killah is a part of Cream Capital, a firm that claims him as one of its co-founders.
What does Ghostface Killah know about financial services or cryptocurrency?
This quote from Cream Capital’s Co-Founder and CEO, Brett Westbrook, sums it up: “He [Dennis Coles] doesn’t have any technical background with cryptocurrencies. However, remember that Wu-Tang is for the children,” said Westbrook. “He is very focused on what the youth and millennials are interested in. He is a very solid businessman and has surrounded himself with bright individuals with a hunger for [bringing] new, groundbreaking technologies to market.” Adding that his work will be to lay out a framework for cryptocurrencies to become more mainstream and understandable by “everyday people.”
That familiarity, Westbrook said, is crucial to growing and normalizing cryptocurrency markets, though he does note that celebrities who get behind ICOs “know the importance of their endorsements and understand the underlying principles of blockchain technology.”
Brett Westbrook also confirmed he and Dennis Coles are long-time business associates and met last year during a Reddit AMA. Well, you know long-time in the cryptocurrency world is a relative term.
“Dennis [Coles — AKA Ghostface Killah] is a very forward-thinking person and has a keen interest in emerging technologies. It’s hard to ignore blockchain tech today even when you’re a busy, touring hip hop artist.”
The CREAM Lifestyle
While investing in Cream Capital will not mean sitting down with the Wu-Tang Clan to discuss personal finances, it will give buyers a chance to purchase “CREAM Dividend” tokens in November.
Those tokens can then be exchanged for Ether, the value tokens of the Ethereum blockchain.
Cream Capital said that ICO participants will be protected by a digital coin standard to prevent investors from losing their money, adding that such protections are essential to giving investors confidence that they are part of a legitimate and mainstream funding mechanism.
“The last thing we need is a household name promoting what turns out to be a scam ICO,” said Westbrook.
There have been no shortage of celebrity ICOs of late. Jamie Foxx has an ICO; Floyd Mayweather has been involved in three; DJ Khaled is putting one together; Paris Hilton is backing Lydian.
Less enthusiastic for ICOs are the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other global regulators around the world, who have all noted that ICOs seem to be a fast way for firms promising to do something with the blockchain to raise a lot of funds without having to answer the tough questions.
Regulators from Canada, China, Singapore and Russia have had similar realizations and are banning ICOs in order to protect investors. They also noted that the high-profile ICOs we’ve seen so far would be better known under their proper name — securities — instead of masquerading as tokens to access a game or a service.
“Aside from pure in-game token situations, companies really need to think of these as securities,” says Jeffrey Neuburger, who advises clients about ICOs at the law firm Proskauer Rose LLP in New York.
Cream Capital does have plans for how to use the $30 million they hope to raise. They would like to build cryptocurrency ATMs to add to the “some” that are said to be operational in North Carolina. The goal it to own “more than half of the global cryptocurrency ATM market” by 2020.
All ten of them.