How ICOs have changed over the past year?

It’s been about a year since first ICOs started to raise money. A lot have changed since then, and unfortunately most of the changes are negative.


1. Regulations.

Like with everything governments have intruded into ICO industry to sabotage things. Some countries have banned ICO or made it very difficult to run an ICO. SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) has declared itself and enemy number one of all ICOs. Blacklisted countries are: USA, China, South Korea and Singapore.

However most of off-shore tax haven countries have not regulated ICOs at all, and are best solutions to set up your ICO company as well any other business if you want to be safe.

2. Anonymity is gone.

Crypto currencies and ICOs were meant to be anonymous, but due to government harassment and gutless ICO founders most of ICO now demand KYC: a full identification of a investor.

In order to retain privacy of the investors, ICOs now need to establish their companies is safe havens like Mauritius or Cayman Islands.

3. Fundraising is no longer transparent.

While ICOs now gather more information about their investors they share even less information abut themselves.

First ICOs collected fundd honestly to their smart contract and everyone could see how much they had collected. Everything was transparent and scam free.

But today most ICOs collect funds out side of their smart contact and some go so far that they don’t create smart contract at all. This is very dangerous when honest ICOs start to behave same way as scammers, because it makes detecting scam even harder.

4. Fundraising is no longer public.

Some ICOs are raising money in a way that is completely against ICO philosophy. They are doing it in hidden. And do not admit common ICO investors to participate.

While having a private sale is common for many ICOs, some take the word “private” too literally and do not even announce about having an ICO sale.

5. Raising funds for ICO is now harder.

This is mostly due to increased competition in ICO industry and the fact the amount of ICOs grow faster than the amount of money in crypto world and new ICO investors.

6. Some ICO listing sites are gaining too much power and ate misleading the market.

I wrote recently an article about how ICO Bench uses their power deceptively to gain extra profit. Sadly there a many other similar cases, when specific ICO listing portal has grown too big and no longer serves the public.


1. Industry is growing.

The amount of ICOs, experts, advisors, ICO agencies and ICO listing sites has grown dramatically. This is very positive change and means that many start-ups see ICOs as the best fundraising solutions over traditional seed rounds.

2. ICO Pools

Another positive change are the ICO pools, who connect investors and ICOs to help raise funds more easily and to avoid painful KYC procedure for every single member.


It is vital for the survival of ICO industry that the community takes the power back from the regulators. It is very sad that while Bitcoin has lasted in this fight against regulations for 9 years and is still winning, the ICOs gave up after few months.

Anonymity and transparency are the philosophical base of crypto currencies and ICOs and without them there is no point in investing into ICO.

In order to take to the power back the community must:

  1. Boycott ICOs that demand KYC or restrict investors from specific countries.
  2. Deliberately provide false information to ICOs that demand KYC and ask for personal data and spam them with applications containing fake documents.
  3. Boycott ICOs that are not transparent and have no public smart contract or public ICO sale.
  4. Confront ICOs that do not act transparently in social media and tell others about what they do wrong.
  5. Lobby government and vote for politician that are crypto and ICO friendly and respect the privacy associated with it.

This has to be done in order for the ICO industry to thrive!

Unless we do this, ICOs will soon become as heavily regulated as any financial industry and it will be the end of ICOs.

Investing is not only about making money, it’s also about giving money to the people who do the right thing.

How ICOs have changed over the past year? was originally published in Data Driven Investor on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.