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Publication Initial coin offerings

Type

Working Paper

Institution(s)

University of Hamburg

Year

2018

Author(s)

Paul P. Momtaz

Research Area

Corporate Finance

Keywords

Initial Coin Offerings, ICOs, Virtual Currencies, Cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Underpricing

Abstract

This paper examines how virtual currency (or cryptocurrency) projects acquire external finance through initial coin offerings (ICOs). The results suggest that ICOs create, on average, investor value in the short run. Raw and abnormal first-day returns range from 6.8% to 8.2%. This is consistent with the market liquidity hypothesis of ICOs according to which issuers have an incentive to underprice in order to generate market liquidity, which, in turn, increases the inherent value of their virtual currency. I also study the determinants of fi rst-day returns, total funding, money left on the table, time-to-market, and the failure of projects. Further, evidence on the sensitivity of ICO pricing to important industry events such as major hacks and regulatory actions is presented.

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