What did IOHK/Emurgo/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)

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

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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.


@maki.mukai Hello still no response from anyone regarding the questions I have raised.
Do you think it would be possible to pass this thread onto someone who has the knowledge to answer these questions?

Thank you!


Whoa, it’s been over a year!!!

+1 here :slight_smile:


@maki.mukai Any updates? Could you at least post whether you have raised these important questions? Thanks

For information on the sale, please check the transparency section on Cardano.org. Reports and charts there include information on the distribution of ada. IOHK made an additional public statement about its ada holding. The Cardano Foundation published a similar statement about its ada holding.

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Thanks for your response Maki.
I have read through the links and most of the questions I have raised remain unanswered.

I would say all of your questions are unanswered, as you referred to a kind of equity capital after ICO, and not the distribution of ADA (which is just an additional one).

In the best case, they would have 2billion in cash (if they would have sold all ATH) or in the worst case, they would have only 62 million.
But, I think they are smart, so somewhere in between and not close to the 62M. :slight_smile:

So, good luck with it.


All of this has been answered and is openly available on the site - I dont have time to find it.

As I recall most of that 63 Million went to IOHK, if not actually all, that is the contract we paid for (the 2020 contract) if CF got some I cant remember, but they did get a chunk of ADA, a long with IOHK.

Or perhaps all went to CF as middleman for the contract with IOHK. I do assume they received some of the initial flow since they claim not to have spend a single ADA yet, so someone has to be funding them, if they arent all working for free.

All of that money is “gone” since this was a payment for the development of Cardano. It really doesn’t matter what IOHK has or when they sold, all of that is immaterial. Al though I believe everything was sold at date (anything else would be stupid and wrong) Payment set, payment made. There are no resources left, the contract with IOHK is pretty much everything there is to show for.

Going till 2020, or till Charles feels he has delivered what was promised.

After that, a new funding round will take place to put a new contract in place, either with IOHK or someone else.

Emurgo should not have received anything, since basically they are the main creators of Cardano. In fact they probably bought themselves in the round.

Yes, I have already read that statement, but afaik none of the above are answered.

I appreciate your input jb455 even though I do disagree with the following:

All of this has been answered and is openly available on the site - I dont have time to find it.

Is this information really any of our business? As an ADA holder, IOHK has no obligation to disclose what it did with its BTC holdings to me. They were contracted to perform a task with defined scope and duration period. As long as they complete those obligations, then that is all that matters.

If I hire a company to build me a house and I pay them $350k, do I have a right to ask them what they did with the money? Absolutely not. As long as they deliver on the contract terms, then it is none of my business. Same applies for IOHK and Emurgo.


I totally agree.