The geography of initial coin offerings

  • Winifred Huang
  • Michele Meoli
  • Silvio VismaraEmail author


Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a rapidly growing phenomenon wherein entrepreneurial ventures raise funds for the development of blockchain-based businesses. Although they have recently sprouted up all over the world, raising millions of dollars for early-stage firms, few empirical studies are available to help understand the emergence of ICOs across countries. Based on the population of 915 ICOs issued in 187 countries between January 2017 and March 2018, our study reveals that ICOs take place more frequently in countries with developed financial systems, public equity markets, and advanced digital technologies. The availability of investment-based crowdfunding platforms is also positively associated with the emergence of ICOs, while debt and private equity markets do not provide similar effects. Countries with ICO-friendly regulations have more ICOs, whereas tax regimes are not clearly related to ICOs.


Initial coin offerings ICOs Entrepreneurial finance Crowdfunding Geography 

JEL classification

M13 M15 G32 K22 O57 L26 



We thank Christian Fisch, Siri Terjesen, and participants at the “Crowdfunding, Blockchain, and ICOs” workshop at EMLyon (June 6, 2018) and a seminar at the Indiana University European Gateway in Berlin for their comments and suggestions. We thank Alex Groh for providing data about the Venture capital and private equity country attractiveness index.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of ManagementUniversity of BathBathUK
  2. 2.Department of Management, Information and Production EngineeringUniversity of BergamoDalmineItaly
  3. 3.University of GhentGhentBelgium

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