Skip to Content

The ICO craze is making cybercriminals rich, too

January 22, 2018

Besides entrepreneurs and investors, hackers are also cashing in on initial coin offerings.

The news: Professional services firm Ernst & Young examined 372 ICOs and found that roughly $400 million of $3.7 billion raised so far has fallen into the hands of cybercriminals. (See “What the Hell Is an Initial Coin Offering?”)

The significance: The finding likely adds fuel to the already-intensifying scrutiny of ICOs by regulators and lawmakers. China and South Korea have banned the practice, and more countries could follow suit. In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission has warned investors to watch out for scams, and it recently halted two ICOs for violating laws meant to protect investors.

The show continues: As regulators wrestle with the novel fund-raising approach, the ICO bonanza shows no signs of stopping. Encrypted messaging service Telegram recently announced that it intends to raise $2 billion in an upcoming offering.

Subscribe to Chain Letter, our twice-weekly newsletter focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchains. It’s free!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks

One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.

Technology that lets us “speak” to our dead relatives has arrived. Are we ready?

Digital clones of the people we love could forever change how we grieve.

How to befriend a crow

I watched a bunch of crows on TikTok and now I'm trying to connect with some local birds.

Starlink signals can be reverse-engineered to work like GPS—whether SpaceX likes it or not

Elon said no thanks to using his mega-constellation for navigation. Researchers went ahead anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.