Empire V and Bablos: ICO as a Tool to Finance Film

Business | 23.11.2021
2 minut(es) read
Famous Russian film director, Victor Ginzburg, undertook the film adaptation of Viktor Pelevin’s novel Empire V. In order to raise money for the project, the filmmakers held an ICO, issuing the Bablos token, in addition to regular funding.
  1. The campaign launched on September 1, 2018.
  2. On September 5, a big press conference was held.
  3. On September 6, the campaign reached the Soft Cap – 100,000 Bablos were sold.
  4. On November 29, the campaign successfully concluded under Hard Cap conditions.

Tokens were sold on a specially created platform of the same name. A total of 145 investors were engaged, who invested 32175 ETH in the project. It was equivalent to €3,506 million and, as of the end of May 2021, amounted to nearly €60,77 million.

Bablos tokens were distributed as follows:

  • 85% – sold during the ICO
  • 9% – to the reserve fund
  • 4% – for bounty programs
  • 1% – CG production
  • 1% – for stars of Empire V

2 million tokens were issued, of which 1,7 million were sold. Then, ICO tokens were listed on the major exchanges, those being EXMO and INDX. According to the organizers, it was the first success of this kind among the film projects.

Alleged Preferences

Bablos token holders have been promised the following benefits:

  • the opportunity to make money reselling the tokens 
  • the possibility to earn a share of profits from the film’s rental and sales
  • an exclusive ticket to the online premiere, the opportunity to invest in other projects on the Bablos platform

Token holders were promised 40% over three years of profits from the rental, digital release, and DVD sales. Dividends were supposed to be distributed in proportion to the number of tokens owned by the investor. In Russia, box office receipts were expected to be ₽1 billion, and about ₽150 million more were expected to be earned from the distribution in China. 

Benefits were assumed regardless of whether tokens were purchased during the ICO or bought later. 

The Campaign’s Real Results 

The main goal of the ICO was to finance the shooting and post-production. By the time the campaign started, 70% of the material had already been shot. It was presented as an additional advantage, meaning the project was sure to reach the screens. In the process, another 15% was shot, and post-production was actively underway. However, it ran into a huge roadblock: the premiere was scheduled for 2019, but it was later postponed until 2020. Then the pandemic broke out, and the official premiere date of Empire V has yet to be confirmed in 2021 (not to mention 2022) yet. 

The Bablos platform, which, according to the organizers’ plans, was supposed to become an ICO service for other film projects after the premiere, is so far frozen in a “hurray, we did an ICO” state.

Bablos tokens have settled in and are rarely traded on exchanges and their value has dropped from $4 in 2019 to $1 in 2021. The project will remain frozen until the release, so it will take a couple of months after Empire V finally hits the big screens for something to happen and worth being paid attention to again.

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