A recent post by Ethereum World News suggests that the ICO market, the landscape of initial coin offerings that has been steadily growing alongside Ethereum, has surpassed $1 billion. Recent ICOs have driven the totals above that milestone figure, with offerings including those by EOS, Bancor, and Tezos climbing into the range of hundreds of millions of dollars. While this is a monumental achievement for the ICOs themselves, the quick gains have made some analysts fear that a bubble may be forming.
$559 Million in the Past Months
The report indicates that high-profile campaigns by Bancor and Tezos, among others, have collectively raised more than $559 million in funding in a short period of just a few months. These campaigns offer individualized infrastructures that are developed on top of te existing Ethereum protocol, which has been the driving force behind the ICO bust.
That is not to say that these highly successful ICOs have not also occasionally been subject to scrutiny and criticism, though. EOS, another of the largest ICOs in recent memory, became prominent among cryptocurrency investors for its infrastructure and promises of efficient and scalable ecosystems. However, EOS was criticized because of its controversial token purchase agreement, also. The token purchase agreement in this particular ICO read, in part: "The EOS tokens do not have any rights, uses, purpose, attributes, functionalities or features, expressed or implied. Although EOS tokens may be tradable, they are not an investment, currency, security, commodity, a swap on a currency, security, or commodity or any kind of financial instrument." This bold maneuver essentially admits that the token in question is useless, beyond the value that investors place in it.
Tensions Between Companies and Government Regulators
Companies initiating ICOs are also increasingly coming into conflict with governmental regulators, too, including the Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States. Regulators and many analysts have long been skeptical of the ICO craze, with some going so far as to suggest that ICOs and cryptocurrencies in general are fueling a period of speculation amongst investors akin to a gold rush. If this is the case, then investors may find that the ground falls out from under them at some point, when the boom ends and the bubble bursts. However, for the time being, demand for ICOs is increasing every day. This makes it difficult to conclude the total market value of the entire ICO field. As this happens, Ethereum is experiencing pressure to scale its platform in order to accommodate the influx of new users. Fred Ehrsam, the co-founder of popular exchange Coinbase, recently suggested that the Ethereum network might need to increase its platform capacity by a factor of 100 times in order to meet the new user demands.