New academic research has concluded that more than 50 percent of crypto projects raising capital through ICOs do not make it through to the fifth month after the token sale. The study also suggests that investors get the best return on their money if they sell the coins within the first month of trading, while the safest strategy would be to part with the tokens on the very first day.
Majority of ICOs Live Less Than 120 Days
Despite data from two recent studies suggesting that investors are still bullish on ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), a research conducted by Boston College academics reveals that most crypto startups relying on crowdfunding have a pretty short lifespan. According to the authors – Hugo Benedetti, assistant professor at the Carroll School of Management and finance PhD student Leonard Kostovetsky – less than half of all new ICOs survive more than four months after launch.
The two researchers based their study on analysis of the Twitter accounts maintained by the projects, taking into account the intensity of tweets after the coin offering. They estimated that the survival rate of the startups, 120 days after the end of the sale, was only 44.2%. The assumption is that companies that are inactive on social media in the fifth month most probably did not survive. The report covers almost 2,400 ICOs completed before May this year, and examines over 1,000 Twitter accounts.
The survival rate has been calculated as an average figure for three categories of ICOs, Business Insider reports. The first group consists of projects that have not reported raising any money and are not listed on exchanges. Startups that reported raising capital but didn’t list fell in the second category. And the third includes the ICOs that list their coins on trading platforms. The statistics show the following survival rates – 17%, 48%, and 83% for these groups, respectively. The share of the projects that become inactive right after their token sales, or the potential scams, is about 11%.
Listing Increases Chances of Survival
Based on these findings, the study concludes that the sustainability of an ICO depends on whether the company behind it is able to list its coin on a crypto exchange. Investors who have supported a project during the coin offering enjoy greatest returns when the coin is listed. The researchers gathered data for over 4,000 ICOs, which raised $12 billion since January, 2017, and found that the projects generated an average return of 179%, accrued over an average holding period of 16 days from the last day of the ICO.
According to Kostovetsky, selling the acquired coins on the first day of trading is the safest investment strategy, when it comes to ICOs. In any case, investors should sell their holdings within six months, he added. “What we find is that once you go beyond three months, at most six months, they don’t outperform other cryptocurrencies,” Kostovetsky told Bloomberg. “The strongest return is actually in the first month,” he emphasized.
Benedetti and Kostovetsky explain the spike in the prices of many tokens after their listing with the underpricing during the ICO, as often they are sold to investors at significantly discounted prices compared to the open market rates. Despite that, the researchers also found that the returns are declining over time as companies have started analyzing prior sales by similar platforms to better determine the expected demand and the price of their coins.
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