What did IOHK/Emergo/CF do with the initial BTC funds raised?


Hey Community!


  • I am aware that Cardano’s initial fund raising process from September 2015 to January 2017 only accepted BTC:
    “The sale proceeds were entirely in bitcoin” - Source

  • A grand total of 108,844.5 BTC were raised during this period

  • The above amount of BTC was worth 62,236,134 USD according the the ADA Distribution Audit
    (linked at the end of this post)

  • This assumes the valuation 1 BTC = $571.79 (62236134 ÷ 108844.5 = 571.789)


  1. How was the BTC/value distributed to each entity (IOHK/Emergo/CF)?
    Were the BTC divided up and sent to each entity using a fixed percentage of the total?
    Did the entities receive a fixed fiat amount (requiring BTC to first be sold to fiat)

  2. If each entity received BTC, were they independently managing their own share of the BTC raised? For example would IOHK be able to cash out into fiat with their share without permission from the other entities or were they all in agreement. This of course assumes a distribution of BTC to each entity.

  3. How many of the BTC that were raised have been sold into fiat? How many BTC remain?

  4. What was the average price that each BTC was sold for

The volatility of the crypto market means that there would be a huge difference in how much fiat money the project will have depending on when they sold.

  • Assume 10,000 BTC sold on 4 August 2016 = $5,716,300 (1 BTC = $571.63)
  • Assume 10,000 BTC sold on 1 November 2017 = $64,400,000 (1 BTC = $6440)
  • Assume 10,000 BTC sold on 1 January 2018 = $137,900,000 (1 BTC = $13,790)

If anyone knows the answers to these questions or would be able to help point me to the right direction of where to work this out I would be very grateful as I feel these are important questions which answers will dictate how many resources are available to the project.

The above can be found on the official Cardano site on the following page:
ADA Distribution Audit


Another interesting thing to note:
If you look at the historical BTC price chart on coinmarketcap you can see that the last time BTC was valued at $571.79 was 3rd August 2016.

This suggests that the Cardano project was cashing out the BTC raised before the pre-launch sale had ended. (The BTC price on 1st Jan 2017 when pre-launch sale ended was around $958.20)


Great questions! Thank you for putting this together, @CardanoUmbrella


These are good questions regarding financial transparency and the project probably should have addressed the intended distribution prior to the ICO - I’m not sure if they did or not as it was prior to my interest.

I’m not sure what the rules are in Switzerland for non-profit organisations or why it was chosen as a base - I can only assume they have some nice tax breaks there. In the UK if the foundation was set-up as a not-for-profit (NFP) any gain on the value of BTC could only be reinvested in the Foundation’s operations and not taken out of the business. The old trick of extracting money from a NFP with inflated salaries is difficult here as all wages need to be justified at fair market salary. Still, there is still plenty of room in a NFP like the Cardano Foundation to ride a massive gravy train while still being compliant as a NFP - which are, I believe, the charges levelled against the chairman.

Certainly Cardano Foundation as a non-profit should be financially transparent with audited accounts. As commercial operations I’m not sure IOHK and Emurgo need to be so transparent though - but as the flag bearers it would be good practice.

Either way you are right to identify that all three entities will have benefited enormously from the increase in BTC value - assuming they all held them and didn’t cash out. Was it a 3-way split is a very valid question.


Thanks for responding dhonions,
I find it baffling that the answers to these questions seem to be unanswerable with the current information that is publicly available.

If anyone from IOHK reads this, please pass these questions on/request that these questions get some attention and answers. I believe in transparency (and ghosts!).


I do remember Mr Hoskinson saying in one of his recent AMA’s that IOHK had the resources to take up the workload of the (useless) Cardano Foundation because of the increase in BTC from their contract to work on cardano - so I guess they held their BTC - which is encouraging. How much that is goes back to your original question - although I’m sure like many you are less concerned about IOHK and more with the potentially huge resources stuck in a Swiiss bank vault with the Foundations name on it - but no accountability.