A post-mortem on the ICO bubble: at least 89% of ICOs are in the red

Quick Take

  • The average ICO in this data set raised $36.2 million while the median raise was $18 million
  • In terms of USD, a maximum of 10.8% of ICOs have a positive return while only 7.7% have outperformed bitcoin
  • The five best-performing projects that had an ICO are Ethereum, IOTA, BNB, NEO, and Stellar

It’s now clear that initial coin offerings (ICOs) were a massive bubble. The median ICO return in terms of USD is -87% and constantly dropping.

The ICO failure can very easily be explained by misaligned incentives between founders and investors. Unlike in the venture capital model, the founders raised money from unsophisticated (mostly retail) investors with a product in very early stages.