Crowd funding? Someone with the capacity to dump and perhaps even make replicas later on could be the receiver, and those who chipped in get a discount on the latter.
As for the Channel F, I remember that article last year which described that project starting off on an Intel 8008 and possibly moved to an 8080 before signed by Fairchild and adopted for the F8. Quite possibly they also had early, cartridge based prototypes so both systems would still be in the run for who was first. Having something to sell to customers surely is a stronger "first" than having an early prototype that takes a long while to finish up.
Yeah, there's no question on who's the first commercially released one.
I think the interesting-but-utterly-useless discussion is wich one was ready first. IIRC RCA Studio II was sold only 3 months later than Channel F. And if it was being privately testes for a full year it probably was ready, as a commercial product, first.
(And even the hardware specs suggests that RCA Studio II was an older, almost obsolete when released, product)
But I agree, Channel F is obviously the first commercially released ROM-based videogame.