Initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the blockchain industry as a whole are the subjects of a new survey published by marketing firm TGE that shows respondents to appear extremely cautious yet confident.

The survey, which had 319 respondents from nations including the USA, UK, Hong Kong and South Korea, was set out by TGE so that it could quantify the space and “…to provide recommendations to investors, participants and companies seeking funding and investment over the near to medium term”.

ICO perceptions

This survey did not appear to be a run-of-the-mill public perceptions study. Instead, it had its boxes checked by CEOs, firms, and consultants, allowing for the results to be taken perhaps a little more seriously than others.

With regards to sentiments surrounding the muddied ICO markets, the survey concluded that results are “leaning positive” despite bear market conditions. However, upon closer examination, the study indicated a mixed mood among those surveyed. Looking optimistically, 19% were very confident about this facet of the industry with 23% somewhat confident and 36% as neutral. Going against this, 23% were non-confident and 14% were “not confident at all”.

ICOs have a checkered history of fraudulent activities and scams that have resulted in varied responses from the governments around the world. While some like China and South Korea currently have bans on the digital crowdfunding method, others such as Malta have implemented accommodating regulations.

In the middle of these polarizing divides, there are entities such as the European Union and other nations who are actively pursuing the appropriate regulatory standards.

ICOs are a significant branch of the blockchain industry that has allowed for numerous startups and enterprises to raise their desired capital. For nations pursuing blockchain technologies, ICOs are argued to be an essential business practice in this new global race and banning them could be extremely damaging for a domestic blockchain industry, hence the ongoing debates that regularly occur.

This broad issue is reflected in the survey where, under the question of “What do you feel are the greatest challenges to ICOs?”, with the top three answers: “ICO fraudsters”, “Lack of regulation” and “Lack of governance”. Interestingly, both “regulation” and “bad press” followed the top-three spots.

Blockchain industry views

The versatile blockchain has been touted as the disruptive technology of this generation and so the survey queried participants as to which sectors they viewed as the greatest opportunities for blockchain. The top five in rank order were: basic financial services (lending, interest) [26%], health and life sciences (medical) [25%], IT security [23%], advanced financial services (derivatives, structured products) [20%], and education [19%].

In the enduring bear market, there have been numerous claims that the cryptocurrency markets have hit their bottom and shouldn’t go any lower. One of the questions asks participants whether or not they agree with a statement made by pro-crypto former hedge fund manager, Michael Novogratz, who said: “I think we put in a low yesterday”, adding in a separate interview that cryptocurrency markets have hit a “seller fatigue”. Over 50% either strongly agreed or agreed.

 

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