Last year was without a doubt the Year of Bitcoin, as exploding interest in cryptocurrency fueled a massive market runup. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, some speculators took the further leap to investing in cryptocurrency projects through a lightly regulated process called an “ICO,” or initial coin offering, in which a startup sells its own crypto token to raise money.
We here at Fortune have cast a curious but frequently skeptical eye on ICOs, which from the get-go were ripe for scams. It turns out that skepticism was well warranted: cryptocurrency news site Bitcoin.com has surveyed last year’s ICOs and found that of 902 tracked by TokenData, 142 failed before raising funding, and another 276 failed after fundraising. That’s a 46% failure rate — but wait, there’s more.
Bitcoin.com found another 113 projects that it calls “semi-failed,” because their teams have gone off the radar or their community has withered away. Add those, and the failure rate jumps to 59%.
Bitcoin.com says the total funding of failed projects from 2017 was $233 million. Get Data Sheet, Fortune’s technology newsletter.
That’s a lot of wasted money, though the failure rate might not seem outrageous for those familiar with startups. As many as 75% of all startups backed by traditional venture funding fail, and 30 to 40% of those take all of investors’ capital with them. Out of all new companies started in the U.S., a little over 20% fail in their first year. Read more from fortune.com…
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