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EY research: (ICOs) December 2017


Executive summary.






- The total amount of funds raised via ICOs is approaching US$4 billion, twice the volume of venture capital (VC) investments in blockchain projects. Since late 2017, the ICO volume has been slowing down, and fewer projects are reaching fundraising goals.
- ICO investors are buying tokens, which are, in most cases, a means of payment on a blockchain platform. The platform itself is usually in the development stage at the time of the ICO, and the token contains a minimum of the issuer's obligations.
- The need for a blockchain and token is often unjustified. The most successful projects are within a blockchain infrastructure, and the most successful platform is Ethereum.
- Because most ICOs use the Ethereum platform, it has led to an overloaded network and an increase in Ether price, which has led to an increase in ICO costs. Terms and functionality of the token are defined in smart contracts with program code that can contain errors or latent terms.
- ICO valuation is often based on “fear of missing out” instead of project development forecasts and the nature of token. A lack of fundamental valuation leads to extreme token price volatility in post-ICO trading.
- The volume of ICOs draws hackers’ attention. More than 10% of ICO proceeds are lost as a result of attacks. In addition to losing funds and increasing project risk, investor personal data is at risk of being exposed.
- Most regulators are moving from ignoring ICOs to banning them or regulating them by existing laws in accordance with the nature of the token. Meanwhile, market players are developing self-regulation. One of the most interesting initiatives is the Simple Agreement for Future Tokens (SAFT).
- ICOs have become synonymous with hype and excessive risk, yet they can actually help protect investors. The future of ICOs will be determined by the transparency of blockchain technology and the ability to set new standards that are accepted by all participants.

ICO funding volumes (total and per project) are based on open sources. We did not verify or confirm this data. Because of high volatility, the data at the time of publication and use can change.

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