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Original research, analysis and reports across the frontier of cryptoeconomics, blockchain technology, and digital assets.
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Update

August 23, 2019

Report

August 2, 2019

Cryptoasset Report

May 23, 2019

Cryptoasset Report

May 9, 2019

Cryptoasset Report

April 25, 2019

Cryptoasset Report

March 1, 2019

Quarterly Report

February 26, 2019

Cryptoasset Report

December 20, 2018

Cryptoasset Report

December 18, 2018

Quarterly Report

August 20, 2018

Analysis

June 6, 2018

Analysis

April 4, 2018

Token-based fundraising

March 6, 2018

Analysis

March 2, 2018

Token-based fundraising

February 4, 2018

Token Sales

December 29, 2017

Token-based fundraising

February 12, 2017

Introduction

August 2, 2016

Introduction

July 13, 2016

Education

July 4, 2016

Introduction

June 21, 2016

Introduction

June 14, 2016

Introduction

June 7, 2016

Introduction

March 24, 2016

Introduction

March 17, 2016

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Token-based fundraising

February 4, 2018

2017 Token Sales in Review: Part I

Over 500 projects raised $6.5 billion during a time when overall crypto markets grew in size, awareness, and depth.

Introduction

It is unoriginal to say 2017 was a wild year for ICOs. However, it is largely unconventional to say ICOs were a significant and mostly positive trend in the development of the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. It is rather tedious to read yet another mainstream press article mocking ICOs and their participants, all too often sandwiched between articles on the further declines of ‘IPO of the year’ SNAP Inc., and another multimillion dollar fine paid by a major bank for defrauding clients or manipulating markets, with no hint of irony or editorial self-awareness. Undoubtedly, there are most certainly extreme events that exhibit the worst of the industry that should not be whitewashed or glossed over: scam projects, flagrant disregard of publicly distributed regulatory guidelines, misrepresentations of technology and projects and companies, and wild speculation with no deep understanding of the underlying technology. Nonetheless, this wasn't the whole story of token sales, and beneath this surface that many delight in pointing out, an enormous amount of significant activity marked 2017, much of it promising meaningful long-term impacts. In many ways, the “ICO Industry” is a lens through which to understand broader developments in the blockchain and crypto-asset industry, and data from 2017 offers plenty of insight.

Growth in Token Sales

Given the range of token sale activity during 2017, and the variety of trends that both contributed to and emerged from the token sale space and the broader blockchain and cryptocurrency communities, we will be presenting our ‘2017 in Review’ thoughts and commentary in several pieces.

Below is a simple overview of the growth of the industry, with a few links to some previously published pieces that help illustrate some of these ideas. It concludes with a brief consideration of how those numbers fell into the different sectors that shape the overall blockchain industry.

Monthly Sales 2017

Token sale activity grew remarkably throughout 2017, leading to a total of 525 sales that completed sales raising more than $25,000. In total, these sales raised over $6.5 billion. This was a marked increase relative to token sale history, which began with Mastercoin's ICO that raised under $1 million. 2017's average raised of $13 million and median raise amount of $5.0 million suggests the numbers for overall raise figures are heavily skewed by a small number of large raises, a trend that persisted throughout the year. Nevertheless, given that 2016's token sales raised a collective $100 million--an amount surpassed by 15 individual sales in 2017--the scale of growth is rather clear.

Monthly Sale Amounts through 2017

Looking across the landscape of individual sales for 2017 also provides a powerful perspective on the range of activity throughout 2017. While a handful of the largest raises featuring in the upper half of the below chart garnered an enormous amount of media attention during 2017, a large number of other projects also raised significant capital.

2017 Token Sales Scatter

Token Sales by Industry

The project raising funds varied remarkably in their application of blockchain technology, product or platform, and underlying business model. Smith + Crown categorizes token sale projects according to the economic sector they are trying to disrupt (!! Link). Below is the same data disaggregated into different sectors.

2017 ICOs by Industry Scatter

Part II will look behind the most prominent trends to consider some more subtle themes that marked a breakout year for token sale activity.

Note on methods: Includes all sales that raised over $25,000 and did not return funds raised to sale participants. Amounts raised are valued according to average daily exchange rates on the date the sale closed. EOS's ongoing sale is valued according to the total raised during each auction period and grouped into monthly amounts. Data taken from eosscan.io and confirmed in the smart contract. Sale rounds for the same project that are separated by more than 30 days are treated as separate sale events. Some data may be missing or subject to future revision.