Half of crypto startups fail within four months of token sales

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

About 56 percent of crypto startups that raise money through token sales die within four months of their initial coin offerings.

That’s the finding of a Boston College study that analyzed the intensity of tweets from the startups’ Twitter accounts to infer signs of life. The researchers determined that only 44.2 percent of startups survive after 120 days from the end of their ICOs. The researchers, Hugo Benedetti and Leonard Kostovetsky, examined 2,390 ICOs that were completed before May.

Acquiring coins in an ICO and selling them on the first day is the safest investment strategy, Kostovetsky said in a phone interview. But many individual investors can’t participate in ICOs, so this option isn’t open to them. Still, all investors should probably sell their coins within the first six months, the study found.

“What we find is that once you go beyond three months, at most six months, they don’t outperform other cryptocurrencies,” Kostovetsky said. “The strongest return is actually in the first month.”

Returns have been declining over time, as startups have become savvier about pricing coin offerings and more have people jumped into ICO investing. Returns of people who sold tokens on the first day they were listed on an exchange have been declining by four percentage points a month, Kostovetsky said.

“They are much lower now, so I wouldn’t expect them to continue to decline at this rate,” he said.

A slew of recent studies have shown just how risky ICO investing is. More than 1,000 tokens have already bitten the dust, according to the website Coinopsy.

“People often look at returns and say this is a great deal, but we teach in finance that return is a compensation for risk,” Kostovetsky said. “These are stakes in platforms that have not yet been built, that have no participants yet. There’s a lot of risk. The majority of ICOs do fail.”

Kostovetsky is an assistant professor at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management, and Benedetti is a finance PhD student at the school.

Also Read:

Coinbase launching venture arm to invest in crypto startups

Venture capital funding into cryptocurrency startups surges

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.