Crytpo-currency prices have tumbled this year but ICO values are still rising. Photo: iStock
Crytpo-currency prices have tumbled this year but ICO values are still rising. Photo: iStock

Crypto-currency markets have had a rough ride in 2018. From an all-time high market value of over $800 billion in January they have nose-dived around 70%. The same cannot be said, however, for initial coin offerings which have seen record amounts raised this year.

According to a report from UK-based Autonomous Research LLP initial coin offerings (ICOs) have attracted over $12 billion in the first half of this year. In the whole of 2017, when crypto-currencies really started to boom, ICOs raised only $7 billion. And current projections foresee a 50-fold jump from the amount invested in 2016.

These record figures come despite Bitcoin shedding over 70% in just six months from its high of $20,000 in late December to a 2018 low of below $6,000 at the end of June. In a now well-recognized pattern, all of the other digital coins have fallen even harder than Bitcoin, resulting in around $570 billion leaving the markets.

A great deal of the enthusiasm for ICOs has been mainly focused upon two projects. EOS is a decentralized digital application platform that competes with Ethereum. During its EOS token auction, raised a record $4 billion in its year-long initial coin offering. The firm, based in the Cayman Islands but with its main office in Hong Kong, dwarfed all other ICOs raising the money by auctioning off EOS tokens every 24 hours at the accepted highest bid. A billion tokens were supplied by the end of the investment period.

EOS has fallen from grace somewhat since its all-time high of over $21 at the end of April. A bug riddled main-net launch left investors jittery about the project’s future and token price has declined 66% to just over $7 in around three months.

The second big ICO of 2018 has been Telegram, a Russian-rooted encrypted messaging platform. The company scrapped its public coin offering plan after raising almost $1.8 billion in two rounds of private funding. The popular messaging service has over 200 million users and is planning to build an ecosystem of token-based services inside the chat app. These may include distributed file storage and micropayments for peer-to-peer transactions, something that the market desperately needs.

Other top ICOs this year include Petru, TaTaTu, Dragon and Huobi Token according to Coinschedule which also puts the investment figure for 2018 at over $17 billion. If the interest in emerging blockchain based projects and ICOs is anything to go by the current bearish market for all digital coins could in the end be nothing to be concerned about.

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