Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) have surged in popularity in the last couple of years. Its success is phenomenal that in 2017 alone, more than 900 companies launched ICOs, raising a staggering $5.6 billion in funds. The success of ICOs has been remarkable that a lot of non-blockchain companies with existing businesses and products use it to further expand their business ventures.
Why are ICOs popular? ICOs are popular because of its ease of use. Startups and even established businesses now recognise an easier way to raise capitalisation with unprecedented amounts of liquidity quickly and efficiently in the most cost-effective way. It is no longer surprising for a company to raise tens of millions of dollars in a matter of minutes. In IPOs, this large amount of money would take months to come into fruition.
Whilst the ICO industry has had many successful ones, its popularity has also made it a breeding ground for scammers. In 2017, only 48% of the 900 plus companies were deemed successful. The rest of the unsuccessful projects ended up defrauding their investors, resulting in thousands of millions of dollars lost to financial fraud.
Challenges of ICOs
One notable example of this is Benebit, a blockchain-based company who successfully raised close to $4 million in their ICO. most investors have much reason to believe the company is legit as it had a moderated Telegram chat with more than 9,000 members, a well-crafted white paper, and a generous $500,000 marketing budget. However, all of this was all lies because someone pointed out that the photographs of the company’s team members were stolen from a UK school for boys and the founder’s passport information was fake. When this came out, Benebit removed all online content about the company, including social media accounts, website, and white paper.
Fraudulent activities like this have forced several countries to ban ICOs. With China starting the ban, many countries such as India and South Korea followed suit. Whilst the decision was understandable, the ban on ICOs posed a restrictive stance on innovation. It is a good thing that several countries still embrace innovative entrepreneurial spirits and have taken the first steps in formulating regulations pertaining to ICOs.
Top Countries with Largest ICOs and Total Raised Funds
Based on ICO Bench report, there are currently 5,658 ICOs. The top 5 countries with the largest ICOs include:
|Total Number of ICOs|
The top countries by the total amount of funds raised include:
|Country||Total Amount of Funds Raised|
|British Virgin Islands||$2.4 billion|
Success of ICOs
These countries have successfully raised funding for ICOs because of their positive stand on regulating ICOs. Singapore is one of the countries notable for its forward-thinking policies such as regulation of tokens. Switzerland, for instance, has embraced the entire crypto industry by creating its own blockchain-based business ecosystem in the form of the Swiss Crypto Valley, its counterpart of the US’ Silicon Valley.
Top Destinations for ICO
Regarded as one of the ICO-friendly countries, Estonia does not have any law that regulates any blockchain technology. Everyone is allowed to use tokens and hold ICOs without any hassles or issues from the government that many entrepreneurs and startups believe Estonia as the ultimate ICO haven.
Gibraltar may not be among the countries with the most number of successful ICOs but the country’s view on crypto tokens as a commercial product makes it an ideal country for an ICO. Regarded as the Crypto Harbour, Gibraltar has had enormous success, particularly in online gaming as it is home to the biggest and most trusted online gaming companies. With its strong background on developing tech industries and closely-knit professional services community such as law firms, banks, accounting firms, and fiduciary service providers welcoming the idea of ICOs and DLT-related businesses, Gibraltar is fast becoming one of the top destinations for an ICO.
Russia has been vocal about promoting cryptocurrency. In fact, President Vladimir Putin has made public his interest in Vitalik Buterin since the latter’s founding of Ethereum. Add to it the government’s proposition to introduces a national cryptocurrency. In the past few years, Russia has been one of the top countries for crypto with its high number of top-calibre professional programmers keen on developing a host of blockchain technologies in the country.
In line with the country’s pioneering activities in blockchain, the government has pushed for regulations making it a hub for blockchain technology and ICOs.
Despite being a small country, Singapore is a major force in the cryptocurrency industry. In such a short amount of time, the country has become a hub for most of the successful ICOs to date. As a result, the country is looking at regulating cryptocurrencies and ICOs to provide a safer option for investors in the country. Along with Singapore’s robust economy and openness into many forms of blockchain technology makes the country one of the top destinations for ICO.
Switzerland is probably one of the most blockchain-forward countries in the list since it has pioneered the creation of a Crypto Valley. It is an independent, government-backed association that exploits the country’s cryptographic technologies ecosystem. The body chose Switzerland because of the country’s neutral, stable and highly responsive citizenry. In addition, the country’s decentralised political culture is perfect for creating viable, decentralised crypto technology for years to come.
The Crypto Valley is an avenue where startups and even established business receiver strong support through policy recommendations, research, conferences, hackathons, and other similar events. One of the great things about it is its connections with similar hubs worldwide. This is why Switzerland is among the top destinations for ICO.
Why Is It Important to Choose the Best Country for ICO
The success of an ICO greatly depends on the environment it will be launched in. Having an ICO in a country with ambivalent views on cryptocurrency may affect investor confidence. Moreover, investors feel their investments are safe if they can do it in a country with positive regulations about ICO. A host country with crypto-friendly laws and regulations ultimately influence its population, which then leads to a more successful ICO.