Initial Coin Offerings or Icos are a fundraising mechanism. Similar to Initial Public Offering (IPO), ICOs enables investors to purchase shares in a company. However, instead of shares, ICOs offer crypto tokens or others.
Because ICOs lack the regulations, they can pose huge risks. But they remain popular.
According to Token Data, in December 2017 alone, ICOs have managed to raise $1.2 billion, bringing a total investment to $5.6 billion over the course of the year.
Over the past 12 months, 442 ICOs were reported and completed. The average amount Raised per event was $12.7 million, with an average token return of 12.8 times.
"In terms of token returns, equally weighted portfolios of ICO issued tokens have outperformed investments in ETH and BTC that are made at the same time as the ICO," Token Data notes. "However, after comparing average returns with the median returns, we see that ICO returns are heavily skewed by a handful of projects."
Two large closings from Sirin Labs and Bankex which raised $157 million and $70 million respectively, have helped the surge, alongside a number of smaller investments.
"It's safe to say that this has exceeded everyone's expectations," said Token Data.
In the statistic chart above, the full EOS token sale has not been included.
While investors may want to participate in ICOs due to the rise of popularity, regulators were not so impressed. China, for example, has banned ICOs and has criticized ICOs as a "disruption to financial order." Other countries are also considering ways to regulate them.