Governance in the Absence of Regulation: A Study of Initial Coin Offerings
68 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2019
Date Written: February 23, 2019
We examine whether the market for ICOs can alleviate asymmetric information and incentive problems through self-imposed governance mechanisms despite the limited regulation in this market. We propose what we call the substitution hypothesis which states that market forces incentivize ICO issuers to voluntarily adopt governance mechanisms which effectively bind their behavior as a substitute for regulatory involvement. The substitution hypothesis also predicts that these voluntarily adopted governance mechanisms lead to lower underpricing, better ex-post performance, higher ICO success and more efficient price discovery in the secondary market. We find comprehensive empirical support for the substitution hypothesis. Our results suggest that these governance mechanisms help to make ICOs a viable and innovative method of financing.
Keywords: Initial Coin Offering, governance, moral hazard, Regulation of ICOs
JEL Classification: G30, G38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation