Analysis of ERC 20 ICO Token Sale Designs

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Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, October 2019 until August 2020


Institute for Finance

Main Research

Wealth Management

Field of Research

Asset Pricing


Raising capital is an important issue, especially for young and innovative companies, in order to finance growth. In addition to traditional capital providers such as banks, business angels and venture capital companies, crowdfunding has gained in significant importance over the past ten years. One of the most popular alternatives for innovative fundraising projects are crowdfunding campaigns, in which the issuance of digital tokens plays a prominent role, especially given the exponential growth of digital currencies in recent years.

The token at an ICO can be designed in a variety of ways. In this project we analyze to what extent the Ethereum based ERC20 ICO design has an impact on the success of a token sale. In the first step, we create a comprehensive overview of the respective ICO design variants. The design variants are derived from the actual smart contract, which is based on the solidity programming language, and then systematically analyzed. By reading out the primary data, we are able to show the actual functions and mechanisms of the token sale contract and thus include all design aspects. In the second step, we examine the success of an ICO and analyze whether certain auction mechanisms had an impact on the course, success, number of investors, respective investment amount, etc.

In summary, we want to examine the importance of different ICO characteristics and their impact on the success of token sale campaigns. The results provide important scientific knowledge and enable new capital raising systems to be better understood. At the same time, they provide valuable information for practitioners who want to familiarize themselves with the meaning of token design variants.

Principal Investigator


  • Forschungsförderungsfonds der Universität Liechtenstein