Disclosure: The following is not investment advice, and should not be considered as such. Invest in tokens at your own risk. Members of Radicle’s analysis team hold positions in one or more cryptocurrencies. Those positions do not influence this work.
Since January of this year, approximately $4 billion (USD) has been raised in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Indeed, ICOs are increasingly not a novelty.
But with China and South Korea’s ban on ICOs, as well as President Putin’s recent mandate for new regulations on cryptocurrencies and ICOs in Russia, we started to wonder how ICOs are distributed geographically and relatedly, therefore, where we might see future regulatory responses.
For the uninitiated, an ICO is effectively a way to crowd-fund a blockchain project through the sale of a native cryptocurrency. Increasingly, entrepreneurs are using ICOs to capitalize new, blockchain-based (and therefore decentralized) ventures — despite known risks as well as general uncertainty around future regulatory action.
The following was originally intended as internal data analysis to help us better understand the ICO landscape. New coin offerings are launching at an increasingly rapid rate, which means that this piece will surely be out of date soon after it’s published. We also have some reservations about the general comprehensiveness of our data. All that being said, we still think the work below provides a solid foundation for understanding the geographic distribution of ICO events and capital flows. We answer the following three questions:
- Where are ICOs originating?
- Where is ICO capital most highly concentrated?
- What are the most successful ICOs to date?
Where are ICOs originating?
ICOs are surprisingly well distributed geographically, with notable areas of dispersal being North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Central Europe, in particular, seems to be a hotbed for blockchain based projects, and we also note that ICOs appear to have started catching on in Latin America. It seems logical that Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia are the next regions where we could see future regulatory responses.
The United States (n=65) is in the clear lead in terms of verified ICO financing events, followed by Switzerland (n=27), the United Kingdom (n=22), Singapore (n=20), and Russia (n=13).
Where is ICO capital most highly concentrated?
The United States ($1.4b) and Switzerland ($554m) have the most capital inflow, which is not surprising given the geographic distribution described above. Singapore is close behind in third-place ($349m), with the United Kingdom ($194m) and Canada ($154m) rounding out the top five. Russia ($116m), Australia ($93m), Estonia ($71m), Portugal ($70m), and China ($69m) wrap up the top ten, though China is sure to be surpassed quickly due to the ban.
Drilling down to the city level reveals that Zug, Switzerland is the current leader in terms of capital raised via initial coin offerings, with $469m in total funding. Zug surpasses the usual global startup and financial centers of San Francisco ($383m), Singapore ($349m, double dipping because it’s a city-state), Palo Alto ($302m), New York City ($191m), and London ($132m), as well as Moscow ($109m), Waterloo ($98m), Menlo Park ($70m), and Lisboa ($70m).
What are the most successful ICOs to date?
You’ve probably heard of Filecoin’s record breaking ICO —but are there more companies raising similar magnitudes of capital from initial coin offerings? Well, no, not really.
Total capital raised starts to drop-off significantly after Filecoin ($257m, Palo Alto) and Tezos ($232m, San Francisco). After those two we find The DAO ($163m, stateless), Bancor ($152m, Zug), and Polkadot ($140m, United Kingdom) as the most successful ICOs to date. Quoine ($105m, Singapore), Status.im ($99m, Zug), Kik ($98m, Waterloo), PressOne ($82m, location unknown), and TenX ($80m, Singapore) round out the top ten.
Due to the borderless and collaborative nature of decentralized innovation, we’re left to wonder how ICOs will develop over the coming months. New decentralized apps (dApps) are popping up all over the place. We recently launched a sector specific research program around ICOs, which consists of all our existing and forthcoming research on token-driven disruption. We discuss Filecoin further in decentralized file storage, and Kik in decentralized social media. Our team has also covered decentralized computing and decentralized betting and prediction platforms. Reports on decentralized energy and decentralized identity management platforms will be available soon. Subscribe today to stay up to date.