Institutional Investors and post-ICO Performance: An Empirical Analyses of Investor Returns in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

Published in , 2020

Abstract: We examine the role of institutional investors in initial coin offerings (ICOs). Taking a financial investor’s perspective, we assess the determinants of post-ICO performance via buy-and-hold abnormal returns in a sample of 565 ICO ventures. Conceptually, we argue that institutional investors’ superior screening (selection effect) and coaching abilities (treatment effect) enable them to partly overcome the information asymmetry of the ICO context and extract informa-tional rents from their ICO investments. We find that institutional investor backing is indeed associated with higher post-ICO performance. Disentangling the selection and treatment effects econometrically, we find that both of these effects explain the positive impact on post-ICO per-formance. Overall, our results highlight the importance of institutional investors in the ICO context.