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投资理财

数字加密货币之殇:2017年半数ICO项目已然死亡

David Z. Morris 2018年03月08日

想投资ICO项目,请先做做功课。

去年毫无疑问是比特币大放异彩的一年,随着人们对数字加密货币的兴趣呈现井喷,比特币的币值也暴涨到了无以复加的地步。借着比特币的东风,一些投机者也大胆地投资起了所谓的“ICO”项目。ICO又称首次代币发售,目前各国对ICO的监管力度尚不算强,很多公司都通过发售自己的数字加密货币来进行融资。

作为《财富》的记者,我们对雨后春笋般涌现的ICO项目往往抱着好奇且有几分怀疑的态度,因为ICO从一开始就带着几分欺诈的意味。事实证明,我们的怀疑并不是没有道理的。据数字加密货币新闻网站Bitcoin.com对去年的ICO项目的调查显示,在TokenData公司追踪的902个ICO项目中,有142个项目在融资前就失败了,还有276个项目也在融资后宣告失败。

这样算来,去年ICO项目的失败率达到了46%,然而这还不算完。Bitcoin.com指出,还有另外113个项目处于“半失败”状态,要么是他们的团队失去了联系,要么是他们的社区已经半死不活。加上这113个“半失败”的,失败率就上升到了59%。Bitcoin.com,2017年,这些失败的ICO项目总共获得了2.33亿美元的融资。

2个多亿美元就这样打了水漂。不过对于熟悉创业界的人来说,2个亿也不见得是多大的损失。要知道,传统风投注资的创业公司里有75%都失败了,其中有30%到40%更是败光了投资者的所有投资,令投资人血本无归。在美国所有新成立的公司里,第一年就失败的比例也超过了20%。

虽说ICO项目失败的比例远远超出了这个数字,但对于一个新生的领域来说,这个幅度也不算太夸张。但此次调查暴露出的两个问题还是值得担心的。

首先,2017年的ICO热潮其实是从下半年才开始升温的,也就是说,在短短几个月的时间里,就有大量的ICO项目迅速失败了。其次,并非所有关闭的项目都是真正的“失败”了——很多做ICO的公司甚至没有生产过任何产品,有不少公司甚至可能压根没有过这个打算,一些骗子公司的创始人直接卷款跑路。还有一些公司“慢慢地淡化在人们的视野中”,但他们的初衷无非也是“骗一把就跑”罢了。

在分析了这些原始数据后,Bitcoin.com仔细搜寻了这些失败的ICO项目留下的“遗迹”,找到的只有一个个“数字坟墓”,要么是不再更新的推特账户,要么是空无一人的社交群组,要么是没人管理的网站或社区。总之,说ICO已死并不客观,但如果你想投资ICO项目,最好先把这一幕深深印在脑海里。更重要的是,一定要提前做做功课。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

Last year was without a doubt the Year of Bitcoin, as exploding interest in cryptocurrency fueled a massive market runup. As if that wasn’t enough excitement, some speculators took the further leap to investing in cryptocurrency projects through a lightly regulated process called an “ICO,” or initial coin offering, in which a startup sells its own crypto token to raise money.

We here at Fortune have cast a curious but frequently skeptical eye on ICOs, which from the get-go were ripe for scams. It turns out that skepticism was well warranted: cryptocurrency news site Bitcoin.com has surveyed last year’s ICOs and found that of 902 tracked by TokenData, 142 failed before raising funding, and another 276 failed after fundraising.

That’s a 46% failure rate — but wait, there’s more. Bitcoin.com found another 113 projects that it calls “semi-failed,” because their teams have gone off the radar or their community has withered away. Add those, and the failure rate jumps to 59%. Bitcoin.com says the total funding of failed projects from 2017 was $233 million.

That’s a lot of wasted money, though the failure rate might not seem outrageous for those familiar with startups. As many as 75% of all startups backed by traditional venture funding fail, and 30 to 40% of those take all of investors’ capital with them. Out of all new companies started in the U.S., a little over 20% fail in their first year.

The ICO numbers obviously beat that percentage soundly, which again, might not seem surprising in such a nascent sector. But the findings are especially disturbing for at least two other reasons.

First of all, since 2017’s ICO mania didn’t fully take hold until the second half of the year, a disproportionate number of ICO failures have unfolded in a matter of months. And second, not all of the shuttered projects are actual ‘failures’ — many produced no product at all, and a good number probably never intended to. Some were simply “exit scams” whose founders disappeared with the money they raised — while others, in Bitcoin.com’s words, “slowly faded into obscurity,” but with the same nefarious intent.

On top of crunching the raw numbers, Bitcoin.com took the time to sift through the digital remains of all those broken promises. What they found was bleak: “a digital graveyard” of “abandoned Twitter accounts, empty Telegram groups, websites no longer hosted, and communities no longer tended.” ICOs aren’t going away, but if you’re tempted to invest in one, hold that image in your mind — and, more importantly, do your homework.

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