The geography of initial coin offerings

Winifred Huang, Michele Meoli, Silvio Vismara

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Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a rapidly growing phenomenon wherein entrepreneurial ventures raise funds for the development of blockchain-based businesses. Although they have recently sprouted up all over the world, raising millions of dollars for early-stage firms, few empirical studies are available to help understand the emergence of ICOs across countries. Based on the population of 915 ICOs issued in 187 countries between January 2017 and March 2018, our study reveals that ICOs take place more frequently in countries with developed financial systems, public equity markets, and advanced digital technologies. The availability of investment-based crowdfunding platforms is also positively associated with the emergence of ICOs, while debt and private equity markets do not provide similar effects. Countries with ICO-friendly regulations have more ICOs, whereas tax regimes are not clearly related to ICOs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-102
Number of pages26
JournalSmall Business Economics
Early online date1 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2020


  • Initial coin offerings
  • ICOs
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Crowdfunding
  • Geography


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