2017 was a boom year for ICOs – Initial Coin Offerings. The method of fundraising as an alternative to IPOs – Initial Public Offerings, gained much traction last year, with $5.6 billion raised from 435 successful IPOs, accounting for around 48% of all the 902 ICOs launched in 2017.
The popularity of ICOs and the public’s appetite for all things crypto, has not abated one bit. By the end of the first quarter of 2018, an incredible $6.3 billion was already raised through ICOs. With hundreds of ICO launches already scheduled into this year’s calendar, and the Telegram ICO which is estimated to be worth $2 billion, still to go, ICOs seem to be going from strength to strength.
The continued popularity all of things crypto has come about despite a number of key marketing channels being closed or restricted. In January Facebook announced a total ban on advertising cryptocurrencies, with Twitter and LinkedIn following suit in March. MailChimp, the largest email service provider also banned ICO advertising as the number of scam ICOs being exposed grew at an exponential rate.
Marketing an ICO became even harder when Google announced a ban on ICO advertising, to come into effect this June. Yet, despite the squeezing of marketing channels, ICOs have been never been so popular. Why? Well, a lot of ICOs have been forced to think outside of the traditional marketing boxes. SEO is proving once again that for good, long term exposure and traffic, that search engine optimization, is far from dead. The development of WordPress tools and SEO tools makes SEO a more accessible and easier task. There has been some debate about the death of SEO, but it still remains one of the most effective and cost efficient marketing channels. Telegram is another channel that is proving to be a very effective marketing channel for pre and post ICOs. Warmly embraced by the crypto community from the very outset, Telegram, along with Reddit, has a good, knowledgeable audience, which when marketed to correctly, can make or break an ICO.
Having survived the restrictions on marketing, the next big challenge for ICOs is to survive government regulation. An increasing number of regulatory authorities, including the all powerful SEC in the US, are starting to view cryptocurrencies as commodities. Number One target for the authorities is Bitcoin (BTC), which if declared a commodity as opposed to a currency, will be regulated and taxed as a commodity, like Gold or Copper.
Some countries like Singapore have taken that one step further and banned ICOs altogether. However, with ways around the ban, crypto popularity is just as strong in Singapore as other countries.
With only regulation or a collapse of the crypto economy altogether standing in the way of the rise of the ICOs, it is hard to predict anything other than continued success and continued popularity for ICOs for the foreseeable future. Whether the bubble bursts and there is a total collapse of the crypto economy has been and continues to be a hotly debated subject. What do we know according to Small Biz Sense, is that the public’s appetite for blockchain, ICOs and the crypto world is not going to disappear overnight. ICOs are here to stay and we should embrace it.