Satis defines an ICO scam as, "Any project that expressed availability of ICO investment, did not have/had no intention of fulfilling project development duties with the funds, and/or was deemed by the community."
Things don't get much better from there; 6 percent of ICOs outright failed, 5 percent were said to have “Gone Dead”, and just 8 percent actually graduated to be trading on an exchange. Of the 8 percent that made it to an exchange, only 3.8 percent of that figure was considered successful. Those are some pretty grim odds for anyone looking to make a quick buck in the ICO market.
Given the fact that ICOs are easy targets for scammers, it should come as no surprise that the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) has opened investigations into dozens of ICOs. Many have been accused of breaking securities laws, and given that billions of dollars in digital assets were sold during 2017 alone, the SEC is looking to get a firm handle on the situation before it blows completely out of control.
"If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an 'exchange,' as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration," said the SEC in a statement earlier this month. "The federal regulatory framework governing registered national securities exchanges and exempt markets is designed to protect investors and prevent against fraudulent and manipulative trading practices."
But it isn't just the SEC that is ringing alarm bells; Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson says that ICOs are a "ticking time bomb" and that "people are blinded by fast and easy money." JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has gone on record to say that all cryptocurrencies are "just not a real thing" that will eventually "be closed".
Dimon even threw a jab at his own daughter, sharing, "My daughter bought Bitcoin, it went up and now she thinks she's a genius."