A report released by Big Four auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found that 537 initial coin offering (ICO) projects raised $13.7 billion in the first five months of 2018, double what ICOs had raised for the entire year of 2017 and more than all previous years combined.
PwC Switzerland published the report in collaboration with Crypto Valley, a blockchain hub located in the Swiss city of Zug, on June 29. The report, titled “Initial Coin Offerings: A Strategic Perspective,” found that ICOs are continuing to gain momentum despite a 70 percent market correction and are “emerging as a workable, alternative form of crowdfunding.”
The report noted that 2018 saw the first cryptocurrency “unicorns,” or companies valued at over $1 billion, with the successful conclusion of Telegram’s $1.7 billion ICO and the mammoth $4.2 billion EOS ICO. Both of these unicorns account for nearly half of the 2018 ICO volume.
Although the US, Switzerland, and Singapore continue to be leaders in ICOs conducted, both in volume of funding and amount of projects, the report reveals that both the UK and Hong Kong have “gained significant ground” over the past few months. Gibraltar, Malta, and Lichtenstein “follow in the footsteps of Switzerland to position themselves as ICO-friendly hubs.”
As ICO regulations “continue to emerge” around the globe, three main regulatory models have formed. A securities-driven approach pioneered by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), a binary approach popular in Asia, and a balanced approach taking shape across Europe.
The report also found that ICOs “continue to crowd out” traditional VC funding, with hybrid funding models, which combine classic VC round funding with a token offering are increasing in popularity.
ICORating's Q1 2018 report details the breakdown of funds raised by smaller ICO projects, excluding data from Telegram and EOS.