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Diginomics Working Paper

The „Diginomics Working Paper“ series publishes the current and preliminary research work of the Diginomics Research Group. The contributions of this series are meant to stimulate discussions, critical feedback and are intended to get published in reputable scientific journals. The working papers are available on this website as well as on the server of the State and University Library Bremen (SuUb). If you are a member of the Diginomics Research Group, please submit your paper under


We study the extent of fraud in initial coin offerings (ICOs), and whether information disclosure prior to the issuance predicts fraud. We document different types of fraud, and that fraudulent ICOs are on average much larger than the sample average. Issuers that disclose their code on GitHub are more likely to be targeted by phishing and hacker activities, which suggests that there are risks related to disclosing the code. Generally, we find it extremely difficult to predict fraud with the information available at the time of issuance. This calls for the need to install a thirdparty that certifies the quality of the issuers, such as specialized platforms, or the engagement of institutional investors and venture capital funds that can perform a due diligence and thus verify the quality of the project.