On January 16, the digital currency exchange BitMEX released research relating to initial coin offerings (ICOs). They found that the value of tokens that were given to development teams during the offerings fell by 54%. The exchange produced the report in coordination with TokenAnalyst, which is an analytics company. The two researched in excess of 100 ICOs that were conducted on the Ethereum network. Their analysis reportedly utilized various machine learning techniques while interpreting both transaction patterns and data relating to smart contracts. The researchers found that the original value of the tokens given to developers was in excess of $24 billion, but that the value of these tokens today is around $5 billion. They further attributed more than half the loss in value to falling prices, with $4.4 billion lost in token burns and $1.5 billion lost in transfers. The researchers consider the $1.5 billion in transfers as gains, so they think that the developers have not done poorly in spite of the decline in value of their tokens. This is especially true when considering that the developers obtained the tokens without paying directly for them. Still, the combined value of these tokens was once in excess of $80 billion when you use the peak values of each token considered in the research. BitMEX and TokenAnalyst have concluded from their analysis that ICOs currently lack both transparency and proper standards. The lack of transparency is particularly apparent when it comes to how tokens are allocated to their developers. The two companies further noted that their research was hampered by the fact that the developers of the tokens had the ability to perform transactions on their tokens that are not easily traced. This is the not first ICO research that BitMEX has performed. Last November, the company discovered that at least a dozen ICOs had yet to officially launch in spite of having raised in excess of $50 million. Arthur Hayes, who is the CEO of BitMEX, said at the time that, in spite of the large valuations of these deals, it is not apparent when, if ever, any of them will become listed on the secondary market.
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