Like around the world Initial Coin Offerings or ICOs are a relatively new trend in Germany through which start ups and small companies try to raise money. However, the usage of ICOs is still in the beginning.
ICOs themselves are not directly regulated. But the banking supervision laws as well as anti-money laundering provisions have to be taken into consideration in order to conduct an ICO. The relevant legal provisions depend on how the ICO is structured and which legal nature the token has. For Example, the token can be deemed a financial instrument, a security, a capital investment or neither of those things with the result that different regulatory provisions have to be heeded.
A license is only needed when a banking or payment service is provided when carrying out the ICO. The ICO itself, meaning the issuance of tokens for money, is not dependent on a license.
The costs of a license for a banking service range from EUR 2,000.00 to 20,000.00 depending on the specific business model. The costs of a license for a payment service range from EUR 5,000.00 to 12,000.00 depending on which and how many kinds of payment services the license is supposed to cover.
Reportedly the FinTech Naga has taken in 42 Million Euros through an ICA at the end of 2017.
A cooperation with a fronting bank is recommended in order to provide online banking services in a cost effective way in which also all legal requirements are complied with.