Since the beginning of this year, cryptocurrency markets have lost more than 60% of their value. The slide in value has been secular and non-discriminating. Altcoins have lost as much as premier cryptos. Bitcoin itself has lost more than half of its value while ethereum, the world’s second-most valuable blockchain, is down by 44%. (See also: The Rise Of Initial Coin Offerings).
But the crash in prices has not dampened enthusiasm for new tokens.
Driven by a boom in initial coin offerings (ICO) markets, digital currency sales hit a record $13.7 billion in the first five months of this year, a report released by consulting firm PwC and Switzerland’s Crypto Valley Association states. The same figure totaled $7 billion all of last year.
While it did not mention the total amount raised by ICOs, the report stated that 537 offerings have already taken place this year. That list includes a mega $1.7 billion offering by Telegram, a messenger service, and the prolonged $4 billion EOS ICO. In both cases, chatter began last year but the ICOs picked up steam (and funds) this year. (See also: Telegram's Initial Coin Offering Raised $1.7 Billion)
Despite a phalanx of restrictions governing token sales and warnings from regulatory agencies, the United States remains a favored destination for offerings. By the report’s count, 56 ICOs that mopped up a net $1.1 billion in funds have already occurred within the country. “The overall sense of the report is that ICOs are increasingly beginning to register with the US Securities and Exchange Commission,” a Reuters story about the report stated.
Switzerland, which has been aggressively establishing itself as the crypto capital of Europe, was second as a choice for startups looking to ICO and the UK was third with 48 ICOs that raised $507 million. The report also has sobering statistics. Only 30 percent of the 3470 ICOs announced since 2013 have crossed the finish line. (See also: ICOs Have Raised A Staggering $10 Billion This Year).
A Boost To Crypto?
The jump in new crypto sales should come as a boost for a cryptocurrency ecosystem otherwise starved of good news. Even as governments around the world clamp down on cryptocurrencies, whales, or people with large holdings of cryptocurrencies, are selling off their stash to depress the markets further. Retail investors have contributed their bit to the downturn by deserting the market after booking profits. Trading volumes for cryptocurrencies have declined after an upswing during the last months of 2017.
At the same time, the report is indicative of the fact that much of the action for cryptocurrencies is occurring away from the exchanges. For example, Telegram’s token will be used for its internal messaging service. EOS, whose mainnet launch was plagued by problems recently, is positioning itself as a competitor to ethereum’s blockchain. Investor interest in new offerings is related to the product rather than the potential of the token appreciation after being listed on an exchange.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns small amounts of bitcoin and litecoin.