At least a thousand cryptocurrency projects are dead or dying, according to digital currency tracking web sites.
The projects started as initial coin offerings (ICOs) that raised billions of dollars between them from investors hoping to back their business plans and make a profit.
Around 80% of the projects were scams, according to Aaron Brown, a cryptocurrency expert with Bloomberg.
“There has obviously been significant fraud and hype in the ICO market. I have seen 80% of ICOs that were frauds, and 10% lacked substance and failed shortly after raising money. Most of the remaining 10% will probably fail as well,” he said.
What is a dead currency?
A cryptocurrency is deemed ‘dead’ when a token or coin is abandoned, scammed, has no nodes, no wallets, no social media updates, no web site, a low trading volume or when the developers have walked away from the project.
Tracking web site Coinopsy says 60% of ICOs are dead before they reach 12 months old and before they are taken up by an exchange.
Another tracking site, Dead Coins, which partners with CoinJanitor in a campaign to clean up cryptocurrency sector, says more than 4,500 digital currencies are available, but only just over a third (1,400) are traded on exchanges and around 800 are dead.
“People who created, supported or were otherwise involved with cryptocurrency projects that are now functionally dead, have all the value they invested in them trapped. They cannot transact or trade these coins. This trapped value can serve as a source of growth for cryptocurrency markets if it is freed,” says CoinJanitor.
“It will also be beneficial for those who hold these failed coins because it will allow them to join a new community that can achieve the network effect that the coins they hold failed to achieve.”
Despite the number of dead coins and regulators around the world warning investors about the risks of staking cash in an ICO, developers are thought to have raised around $12 billion from more than 500 offerings in the first six months of 2018.
The current leading ICO is Telegram, an encrypted, ad-free messaging service which has raised investment of $1.7 billion with a third fund-raising round expected later this year.