Does soft information in expert ratings curb information asymmetry? Evidence from crowdfunding and early transaction phases of Initial Coin Offerings

Tong Wang*, Sheng Zhao, Mengqiu Zhou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An Initial Coin Offering is the Initial Public Offering of the crypto sector. By issuing crypto tokens in exchange for funds, Initial Coin Offering is a popular way to raise capital for products or services typically associated with cryptocurrencies by issuing crypto tokens in exchange for funds. Initial Coin Offering has gained a lot of attention in the past few years; however, its lack of regulation has raised transparency and investor protection concerns from public agencies. This paper examines the role of soft information in third-party expert ratings and how it can mitigate information asymmetry in the financial markets. Expert ratings normally contain two types of information: hard information – a summary of public, numerically-measured information, and soft information – containing expert insights, rumours, and private conversations. Taking advantage of the special dual-rating system of a leading Initial Coin Offering rating platform, we successfully isolate soft information from expert ratings. We find that soft information reduces information asymmetry between issuers and investors, measured by the amount of raised funds in the crowdfunding phase and the underpricing levels in the early transaction phase. We also test the long-term survival rates and market price trends of issued tokens and conclude that soft information also plays a crucial role for investors in predicting the long-term performance of tokens. A heterogeneity analysis further shows that the soft information provided by expert ratings is more influential in countries or regions with low business environment indices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101661
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money
Volume81
Early online date30 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords

  • FinTech
  • Initial Coin Offering
  • information asymmetry
  • expert rating
  • underpricing

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