ICO Tokens Shed Value Despite Market Enthusiasm

Morning Report: Popular crypto-tokens are losing value, even as the ICO boom continues.

After a massive ICO, Bancor’s token is sinking in the markets. Bloomberg took note of the issue in a recent article, noting that “[a]fter raising $153 million in a matter of hours in June,” Bancor has seen the “price of its token decline 56 percent.”

If Bancor was a traditional tech IPO, it would attract harsh coverage exploring its failure to launch in the public market. With ICOs, however, there simply isn’t enough historical data to use as precedent, so it’s harder to hand out performance grades.

However, the decline in the value of Bancor is plain: Its token sold so over $4 per unit this summer and now trades for around $2. That’s bad.

Continuing the theme, Crunchbase News looked up other recent ICO tokens, checking their initial performance — often fueled by hype, unsophisticated investors, market momentum, hokum, and dreams — against what markets have done with them since their debut.

Our somewhat hasty evaluation painted a rather dismal picture of the current market.

Of course, not all ICO’d tokens are actually in use – this report noted in October that “Only One in 10 Tokens Is In Use Following Initial Coin Offerings” – but among those that are trading openly it wasn’t hard to find a pattern of decline.

Tezos, which raised over $230 million in its ICO, has declined in pre-launch trading. After trading over the $2.60 mark in October, the coin is now worth $1.67, according to CoinMarketCap.

EOS, which raised $185 million in its ICO, has seen the value of its token slip as well. Indeed, EOS traded up to the $4 mark in July, only to fall under the $1 market in the third quarter. It has since recovered to the $1 range, still a dramatic decline in mere months.

Picking a third example – and stopping after to avoid going on for too long – Paragon is a similar story. The blockchain asset for the cannabis industry raised more than $183 million in its ICO, and has CoinMarketCap charting showing its price spiking to the $1.89 in October. It has since fallen to about $0.33, a staggering decline.

It’s still early days for ICOs, and no one expected every coin offering to be free of failure. But the massive deceleration in interest in these tokens — using their price as a proxy — after their debut, indicating higher interest in the financing event than the underlying token could bedevil future offerings if investors pull back after seeing prior, early paper returns incinerate.

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