The rise in popularity of ICOs is just another pointer to the impact being made by cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the open and decentralized market to display their ideas to a willing public. On the side of the investors, everyone is actively looking for the next Bitcoin. That blockchain-based concept that will experience as much success as Bitcoin has experienced. This has created an investment frenzy in the market and there are astonishing figures to back it up.
In 2017, Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) became the business process disrupting phenomenon of the year. Many blockchain-based startups opted for the ICO route rather than more traditional mainstream crowdfunding for their projects. As a result, ICOs overtook IPOs and other venture capital means of acquiring startup funding. There are ICOs that have truly outdone themselves, and below is a list of the top ten funded ICOs.
Telegram, a secure messaging service, caused a disruption in the cryptocurrency world, with its massive ICO, raising a staggering $1.7 billion, making it the highest ICO yet. It initially raised $850 million in mid-February 2018 and went on to raise an additional $850 million, bringing it to a grand total of $1.7 billion. The messaging app was launched in 2013, and in 2018, it boasts of having 180 million users.
In 2017, the company considered launching its own blockchain platform and an associated cryptocurrency. The platform to be launched was to be called Telegram Open Network (TON) with the currency to be named “grams.” Earlier in February 2018, Telegram raised the sum of $850 million in its first pre-ICO sale from 81 investors, and later that month, according to a Form D disclosure file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Telegram says that the additional $850 million raised were from 94 investors, which brought about $1.7 billion from fewer than 200 private investors.
Hdac is a blockchain-based platform backed by Hyundai, which allows IoT (Internet of Things) devices to quickly and effectively communicate, handling micropayments, authentication, data storage, and identity. It will develop a new blockchain-based platform capable of handling the scale and contract functionality required for an IoT platform, as well as create bridges to Bitcoin and Ethereum to ease payments. The fact that IoT devices are powered by Hdac means more actionable data to improve lives, governments, and businesses. The Hdac ICO started on November 27, 2017 and ended on December 23, 2017. During this period, they raised $258 million.
Filecoin was developed by Protocol Labs to be a blockchain-based storage network service solution. The blockchain protocol is an implementation of the IFPS (Interplanetary File System). This system allows for data and other forms of content to be transferred via P2P hypermedia protocols. The Filecoin network is run on its own proprietary blockchain. It allows users to sell their computer storage space or offer data services to other users who wish to retrieve their files. The development of the concept began in 2014.
The ICO campaign ran from 10 August 2017 to 10 September 2017. Before the ICO process even began, Filecoin had already raised $50 million form reputable Venture Capitalists like Sequoia Capital, Union Square Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz. This was one of the reasons why the ICO performed well in the market. Investors liked the fact that the project already had mainstream financial backers. The Filecoin ICO raised over $257 million. The native currency of the Filecoin blockchain is Filecoin (FIL). About 200 million FIL tokens were released during the ICO campaign.
Tezos was hailed as a concept that will considerably improve the blockchain space by improving upon the shortcomings of Bitcoin and Ethereum. It is basically a self-governing decentralized blockchain that can ensure the fidelity of all code-governed transactions and smart contracts. The Tezos blockchain was implemented in OCaml. This is a proprietary computer programming language that was created in 1996 by INRIA. It provides a stable platform for the Tezos blockchain to offer robust smart contracts and blockchain architecture protocols.
Tezos, the brainchild of Arthur and Kathleen Breitman raised $232 million during its ICO campaign. This milestone was attained within 14 days of the ICO’s launch. Even before the ICO launch, the project was able to secure funding and endorsement from billionaire VC, Tim Draper. Tez is the native token of the Tezos blockchain and the currency designation is XTZ. Tezos ran an uncapped ICO campaign that began on the first of July, 2017. The ICO website was static and this gave investors the chance to participate offline.
The EOS ecosystem is made up of the EOS Software, EOS Token, and the EOS Platform. The EOS platform is designed to create a blockchain-based system upon which distributed apps (dApps) can be designed and implemented. The EOS Software is still in the design and has not been released. When it is released, it will be integrated with the EOS Platform.
The underlying principle behind the EOS project is the provision of the complete blockchain user application potential. This means that it can provide solutions for databases, asynchronous communication, dApps, and transaction authentication just to mention a few.
For a three-week period, before Tezos came online, EOS was the highest grossing ICO of 2017. The crowdfunding campaign which was launched in June raised $183 million at the end of the ICO on June 11. The EOS Token is an ERC20 compliant token. This makes the token compatible with most cryptocurrency wallet.
The developer of Solarin, an ultra-secure mobile phone, held its crowdsale event which started on December 12, 2017, and ended on December 26, 2017. It raised over $157 million, making it one of the best performing ICOs in 2017. The funds raised was meant to support the development of FINNEY, the first open source blockchain smartphone and all in one PC.
The focus market of interest for the Bancor Project is the crypto exchange market. Bancor is a protocol that simplifies the process of exchanging cryptocoins and tokens. On the platform, users can create smart tokens easily as well as exchange them for already established cryptocurrencies.
The Bancor Network Protocol when implemented will act as a robust monetary structure for the crypto market. Within this structure, the liquidity of a cryptocoin will become independent of the number of users of that cryptocoin.
The Bancor ICO which was held in June 2017 raised $153 million. It was one of the highlights of the year. It held the number 1 position in terms of capital raised until the EOS ICO came online a few weeks later. BNT or Bancor Network Token is the native coin of the Bancor Network Protocol. The ICO for the Bancor Network was concluded 12 June 2017.
Bankera is an operational fork for SpectroCoin. As SpectroCoin to be competitive has developed bank-like infrastructure, but was not intended to become proper bank, it released Bankera to leverage its regulatory and IT infrastructure to develop a bank for the blockchain era. As a proper bank, Bankera is poised to offer payments, investments, and loan and deposit solutions. Its token sale ran from November 27, 2017 to March 1, 2018, and it raised a total of $151 million. The native token is BNK and it is ERC20 compliant.
Polkadot is a blockchain technology and a heterogeneous multi-chain, which consists of several parachains with potentially different characteristics that can make it easier to achieve anonymity or formal verification and at the same time, pool the resources of blockchain platforms together and share them in a beneficial manner to all blockchain platforms. Polkadot’s token, DOT, is to serve as the controlling token on the network. DOT can be used for staking, and consequently, securing the network. In addition to this, a particular amount of tokens (DOTs) are needed to create a new parachain.
Polkadot’s token sale started on October 15, 2017, and ended on October 27, 2017, with a total of $145 million raised.
The Status project is designed to simplify the applicability of the Ethereum blockchain in every web-based activity. To this end, it is a mobile OS that is a cross between a chat service and an App store. Users can surf the net, chat with other users, and make payments on a decentralized blockchain-based web platform. Because the platform is decentralized, all chat messages are encrypted. There is no central server within the platform. Apart from these use cases, the Status platform also provides protocols for developers to create other applications on the Ethereum blockchain.
The Status mobile Ethereum OS project raised $100 million after its June 20 ICO launch. The project adopted a rolling ICO framework with the crowdfunding total sum now at $108 million. It used to be the 5th highest grossing ICO of 2017. The native coin for the Status Project is called SNT (Status Network Token). Since it is an Ethereum-based project, SNT is an ERC20 compliant token. The SNT facilitates all transactions within the platform.