Initial Coin Offerings in the first half of 2018 have attracted nearly double the amount of funds raised last year, a new report reveals. Researchers point out, however, that the majority of ICOs have largely failed, with only a third of the projects closed successfully. According to the study, the US remains the major destination for coin offerings while Switzerland has established itself as a European ‘standard bearer’ in regulation.
$13.7 Billion Raised in Coin Offerings This Year
The capital raised through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) has reached $13.7 billion USD in the first five months of this year, twice the total for the whole of 2017. The data comes from a newly released report authored by the Swiss Crypto Valley Association (CVA) and Strategy&, the consulting division of one of its members, PwC. The study aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the global ICO activity and explore key changes in the space since last year.
The numbers in the second edition of the quarterly Global ICO Report are in sharp contrast with this year’s bearish trend that has taken over crypto markets. According to Daniel Diemers, Head of Blockchain EMEA at PwC Strategy&, the report “highlights the continued growth and popularity of ICOs globally in 2018, with over 537 ICOs conducted in the first five months of this year, raising a combined total of $13.7 billion USD – more than all ICOs which took place before 2018 combined.” According to data quoted by Reuters, around $7.0 billion have been raised by token sales last year. Daniel Diemers also said:
After all the hype of 2017, this year has seen the ICO sector becoming more mature and established, with an improved focus on best business and legal practice, investor relations and fundraising. Hybrid models of combined Venture Capital and ICO financing are increasingly bringing together the best of what both have to offer, so that the soundness of a business is validated while it realizes its market potential by receiving crowd support.
However, the paper also notes that the majority of crowdfunding projects have failed to achieve their goals. Only about 30 percent of the 3,470 ICOs announced since 2013, the report details, have closed successfully, while many have been delayed or lost momentum during the token sale process.
America a Major ICO Destination, Switzerland a Leader in Regulation
According to the research, the US remains a major destination for Initial Coin Offerings. In the first five months of the year, 56 US-registered token sales have raised a total of $1.1 billion USD. The authors believe this is due to the clear and firm regulatory requirements put in place there and the growing number of crowdfunding projects that choose to register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They also point to an increase in the number of coin offerings conducted in the United Kingdom as well as the volume of capital raised there. According to the provided statistics, 48 UK-registered ICO projects have attracted more than $500 million in 2018.
Another conclusion is that Switzerland has affirmed itself as a leading hub for ICO and blockchain business in Europe and remains attractive to crypto entrepreneurs, while smaller jurisdictions like Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and Malta are following in its footsteps. “Switzerland is the standard bearer in terms of establishing a regulatory environment for the digital economy. The Crypto Valley in Switzerland offers a unique environment that embraces blockchain technologies and the potential of ICOs while always embodying Swiss values, such as privacy protection and confidentiality,” said Oliver Bussmann, President of the Crypto Valley Association.
ICO Destinations and Trends
The findings confirm some previous observations and detect new trends regarding Initial Coin Offerings. According to an earlier report, covering 370 ICOs, US-based crowdfunding projects have raised $1.03 billion – so no surprise there. The study placed China (including Hong Kong) second with $452 million, followed by Russia with $310 million USD. What’s surprising is the development of the ICO market in the UK, where financial authorities and regulators have generally demonstrated lukewarm attitude towards cryptocurrencies and the crypto space.
Switzerland, whose crypto-friendly jurisdiction has attracted a number of crypto and blockchain businesses, is trying hard to catch up with the leading ICO destinations. Representatives of the country’s crypto community have joined a multinational effort to challenge the ban on crypto-related advertisements imposed by the largest IT corporations. The restrictions introduced by companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, hit hard crowdfunding projects and are likely to be targeted soon in a class action lawsuit.
At the same time, the achievements of far less conspicuous European countries have made the headlines of ICO-related articles and publications. Lithuania is a good example – the tiny Baltic state has reportedly attracted around 10 percent of all coin offerings last year. An estimated €500 million has been raised through ICOs and blockchain projects over the last 12 months. Authorities in Vilnius have recently issued comprehensive regulatory guidelines for initial coin offerings. According to a recent report by Politico, the country’s economy is expected to grow by more than 3 percent this year and the digital cash flow is part of the reasons.
Do you expect the ICO sector to grow, despite the continuing downward trend on crypto markets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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