Journal of Business Venturing published a paper by Christian Fisch from Trier University with an empirical analysis of 423 ICOs undertaken between 2016 and 2018. The idea of the paper is to figure out the determinants of the successful ICOs, although a point of caution is in order, given that the ICO environment may have changed completely with the crypto price crash.
With this caveat, Fisch’s key findings are that the success of ICO is favored by the presence of highly technical white papers and high-quality source code. This suggests, among other things, that the ICO bull run may have been less irrational than the conventional narrative makes it to be. If you are into academic papers on crypto, do read the whole thing!