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HFRC Working Paper Series

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Alle Working Papers

Initial Coin Offerings

The financial and non-financial performance of token-based crowdfunding: Certification arbitrage, investor choice, and the optimal timing of ICOs

Niclas Dombrowski, Wolfgang Drobetz, Lars Hornuf, Paul P. Momtaz
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 04/2023
What role does the selection of an investor and the timing of financing play in initial coin offerings (ICOs)? We investigate the operating and financial performance of ventures conducting ICOs with different types of investors at different points in the ventures’ life cycle. We find that, relative to purely crowdfunded ICO ventures, institutional investor-backed ICO ventures exhibit poorer operating performance and fail earlier. However, conditional on their survival, these ventures financially outperform those that do not receive institutional investor support. The diverging effects of investor backing on financial and operating performance are consistent with our theory of certification arbitrage; i.e., institutional investors use their reputation to drive up valuations and quickly exit the venture post-ICO. Our findings further indicate that there is an inverted U-shaped relationship for fundraising success of ICO ventures over their life cycle. Another inverted Ushaped relationship exists for the short-term financial performance of ICO ventures over their life cycle. Both the fundraising success and the financial performance of an ICO venture initially increase over the life cycle and eventually decrease after the product piloting stage.

Investor sentiment and initial coin offerings

Wolfgang Drobetz, Paul P. Momtaz, Henning Schröder
Journal of Alternative Investments | 04/2019
The authors examine to what extent the market for initial coin offerings (ICOs) is driven by investor sentiment. Their results, based on a comprehensive set of sentiment and coin price data, suggest that the ICO market is driven by crypto-related sentiment, but is almost unrelated to general capital market sentiment. Among the crypto-related sentiment, social media channels, rather than traditional news channels, are the main source of investor sentiment. The authors find that ICO firms exploit “windows of opportunity” and avoid periods of negative sentiment. Coins listed during periods with negative investor sentiment generate negative returns in the short run. Moreover, returns to investors on the first day of trading predict long-run returns up to six months.

Token offerings: A revolution in corporate finance?

Paul P. Momtaz, Kathrin Rennertseder, Henning Schröder
HFRC Working Paper Series | Version 03/2019
Token offerings or initial coin offerings (ICOs) are smart contracts based on blockchain technology designed to raise external finance without an intermediary. The new technology might herald a revolution in entrepreneurial and corporate finance, with soaring market growth rates over the last two years. This paper surveys the market evolution, offering mechanisms, and token types. Stylized facts on the pricing and long-term performance of ICOs are presented, and practical implications for this young market to thrive are discussed.