I was inspired to look into this topic after my Google Assistant pushed an article my way, regarding how Hong Kong and Singapore are the new hubs for ICO’s.
Instinctively, this is a little hard to believe. China has banned ICO activity with pretty harsh regulations, and considering the political influence that China holds in the area, it’s initially hard to believe that Hong Kong and Singapore will not follow suit soon.
But upon further reflection, one finds that this just reflects Historical trends- China brings in strict regulations, and companies move to neighboring countries with a more lax approach, to take advantage of unregulated markets but staying in close proximity to encourage Chinese investment.
This compelled me to take another look at my scraped database of ICO details- A project that I had been working on in February 2018, and which I will be updating with newer data soon. It contains an aggregated mass of datapoints from multiple ICO Listing Websites, including ICOBench, ICOMarks, Tokenguru and Cryptorated. Part of the data contained includes the country information (If verified and available)
This collection of data reflects some obvious trends- USA, Russia and the United Kingdom are the top 3 countries for ICOs, mainly reflecting trends for tech innovation. Singapore comes in fourth, substantiating the claims from the article linked above.
Switzerland comes in fifth place, not surprising given its the place where “Crypto Valley” is. It has long been an important center for the financial industry, especially with wealth management, holding 2 trillion dollars worth of global offshore wealth. If you’re a US-based investor though, be warned that the IRS is currently investigating whether crypto-assets can be used in the same way as Swiss Bank accounts in order to facilitate tax evasion.
Estonia and Canada both feature on the list above Hong Kong, and their reasons are similar as well- Estonia is close to the EU with more relaxed tax laws and facilities for internet based companies, and Canada is close to the US.
The whole data dump is here:
The entire dataset brings out more interesting points (including some outlier values like ‘UNITED STATE’ and ‘SIngapore’ that got past my scraping script)
The British Virgin Islands, Slovenia, Gibraltar, and Lithuania seem like popular options for their laissez faire approach to financial regulation.
Our next article will try to analyze which countries can be correlated with a high likelihood of scams. Can the country of origin of an ICO be a red flag when an investor is looking to do their due diligence on a project? Part 2 of this article will try to answer that.