Startups in Europe raised more capital through initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the last three years than any other region on the planet, according to a study released Thursday.
More than a third of all ICOs - 40% - are based in the European Union (EU), according to the analysis by venture capital firm Atomico. These 446 transactions raised $1.76 billion, nearly half (46%) of the worldwide total from token sales. The second biggest region for this activity was North America, with 244 campaigns raising $1.076 billion.
The report, entitled "The State of European Tech," cited data collected by Token Data, a startup that tracks ICOs, as well as Atomico's own survey of investors and startup founders.
What's more, the EU might become the global leader in cryptocurrency and blockchain development over the next five years, according to the report. An increasing number of startups on the continent focus exclusively on blockchain development, accounting for a much higher share of companies founded in 2016 than in 2012.
Notably, the report found that roughly 25% of ICOs had some sort of decentralized team, where the company launching a campaign was headquartered in a different location than the founder or chief executive.
Ricky Tan of Token Data said he expects this figure to increase in the coming years.
In the report, he said:
"We see a pattern of geographical diversity between ICO founding teams and also within the teams themselves. If the future of business ideas lies in decentralisation, then decentralised founding teams will be a key aspect of it."
Europe also has the greatest number of bitcoin nodes, with more than 5,000, according to the Atomico report. The U.S. comes in second with just over 3,300 nodes.
While the number of ICOs and blockchain startups is increasing, interest in "blockchain" in general is increasing even more rapidly.
Data from Stack Overflow cited by Atomico shows an exponential growth in the number of searches for the term, jumping from 110 in January 2015 to 14,500 in September 2017.
European Union flag image via Shutterstock