So far this year, the first coin bids have raised $ 22 billion, or half of this – depending on where you look.
With the cryptocurrency market nearly 80% off its peak, a crucial question is exactly how much the ICO boom has deflated. This becomes more difficult to answer when even the most commonly used websites that track the phenomenon do not agree on the figures.
Blockchain can be advertised as an immutable public ledger, but in the controversial world of encryption generated, establishing the truth can be complicated when the standards of disclosure are still improvised daily. In the case of ICOs, it remains difficult to ascertain the amount of funds that an issuer claims to have raised when no one needs to submit regulated documentation or even disclose their identity.
"At the end of the day, there is no way to really agree on information based on demonstrable facts," said Alex Buelau, co-founder of Oxford, US CoinSchedule listing site. "These are the first days." The question is: how can the industry create an incentive for these guys to report precise numbers? At this point there is no incentive. "
Most data trackers, which derive money from the token vendors for advertisements or other services, rely on the issuers to obtain information on ICOs.
Get Ruby-X, an encrypted exchange project. CoinSchedule claims to have raised $ 1.2 billion; ICORating, $ 200 million; Autonomous research says it was chosen to exclude it, since its online footprint was unreliable. Ruby-X, who did not reveal where she is based, did not respond to emails looking for comments.
Or consider an even more extreme example: the sovereign of Venezuela Petro. In March, President Nicolas Maduro said he had raised $ 5 billion in bids; in April, he said the sale raised $ 3.3 billion; the token website says $ 735 million, the figure quoted by CoinSchedule and ICORating.
Even with the best intentions, gathering basic information on token sales can be a challenge. ICORatings combines information from issuers, investors and the blockchain itself. Elementus, a new startup, keeps track of the data from the blockchain, integrated with the figures that it considers credible.
With the ability to track actual transactions, on-chain data is more reliable and complete, which is why their fundraising totals are higher, says Elementus co-founder Nuria Gutierrez Prunera. The disadvantage is that the data on the chain do not capture investments in fiat currency.
Autonomous research goes through about 50 different underlying trackers to compile your ICO data and manually removes the entries it considers unreliable, said Lex Sokolin, global director of the fintech strategy. The trackers on which it depends vary in time as their quality can fluctuate, perhaps because the economy of maintaining a database has weakened, he added.
To further complicate things, the nature of Ico is evolving. An increasing part of token is offered privately to selected investors rather than crowdfunding via the Internet, as innovation was initially known.
"It is much more difficult to find information on private sales," said Sasha Kamshilov, co-founder of ICORating in St. Petersburg, Russia. "It is very important for regular investors to know the price and actual conditions of a private sale".
The token Dragon, which professes to offer a payment system for the entertainment industry, told Bloomberg News that it raised $ 12 million in a public loop and $ 408 million in its private sale. For that sale, Elementus and CoinSchedule gave the total $ 420 million, ICORating had $ 3.9 million, while CoinDesk and Autonomous have $ 320 million.
Telling the right story about crypts matters when debates about its future rage amidst the endangered speculative frenzy. After Autonomous released a report showing that the token offers fell 90% from its monthly peak in September, it received criticism that it actually raised more than $ 1 billion in funds that month, rather than $ 300. millions mentioned above.
"There's always a bit of a difference, but when things were going it did not matter at the edges," Sokolin told Autonomous. "Now that things are getting tough, people want to tell different stories."