Irish Central Bank Issues Alert about Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

We would like to inform our readers about a consumer alert issued by the Irish Central Bank in relation to Initial Coin Offerings (aka Token Sales aka ICOs) which have become one of the major uses of cryptocurrencies in the last year, especially ERC-20 tokens on the Ethereum Blockchain. These are used by a number of companies to raise funds for projects, of varying quality, and for which a number may turn into scams or vapourware, while others may help get some pretty complex platforms developed. TLDR, be careful and do your research before investing anything in these, and don’t bet your house on them. Some people have made a lot of money from flipping token sales on exchanges, but equally many, many tokens have dropped considerably in value straight after launch.

The full release is available at

Alert on Initial Coin Offerings
Information Notice December 2017

Consumers are alerted to the high risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings.

An Initial Coin Offering or “ICO” refers to a new means of raising money from the public, using so-called “coins” or “tokens”. These coins or tokens are issued in exchange for traditional currencies, such as the euro, or more often, virtual currencies e.g. Bitcoin or Ether.

ICO campaigns are conducted online, using the internet and social media.

Investors should be aware that they are exposed to the following risks when investing in ICOs:

    Unregulated activity, vulnerable to fraud or illicit activities
    High risk of losing all invested capital
    Lack of exit options and extreme price volatility
    Inadequate information
    Flaws in the technology

European national supervisory authorities, including the Central Bank, contributed to the production of the ESMA statement, which was published on 13 November 2017.

See also:

European Banking Authority Warning to Consumers on Virtual Currencies