When Initial Coin Offering (ICO) was unveiled, blockchain startups and fintech companies were rushing to make use of the new crowdsourcing technique due to its simplicity in raising capital for projects. 2017 specifically was a very successful year for ICOs and the world witnessed some of the best ICOs to date. The total amount of funds that were raised in 2017 was close to $6 billion up from about $200 million raised in 2016.
However, not all the projects that used ICOs turned out to be successful and some also turned to be scams since ICOs are not regulated in most parts of the world. At the moment, only a couple of countries like Singapore, France, and Germany have come up with ICOs regulations to make them safe for investors.
Having said that, ICOs are still a viable option for raising capital for your blockchain project. In this article, we shall review some of the successful blockchain projects that started by raising capital through ICOs. You can still leverage ICOs and pull out such successful projects amidst the regulatory issues facing ICOs.
However, you will have to put more effort into the project development by putting together the best team for the job. Again you will want to ensure that you comply with any regulatory laws in the region where you investors come from to avoid court cases like those that hit BLOCK.ONE and Telegram ICOs.
The list below was developed taking into account the Returns on Investment (ROI) for each of the projects and also by how much the blockchain project has been adopted across the globe.
10 most successful ICOs
Ethereum ICO was conducted in August 2014, making it the second blockchain project to leverage ICO to raise capital, after Mastercoin ICO conducted in July 2013. At the end of the ICO, Ethereum raised a staggering $16,000,000.
Today, Ethereum is a force to reckon with in the cryptocurrency and blockchain world. The blockchain network completely revolutionized the world of cryptocurrency by enabling blockchain networks to do more than just offering payment services. Ethereum introduced smart contracts which have been the cornerstone of every other blockchain use case.
Ethereum was developed as an open-source distributed ledger platform that enabled its users to create and deploy decentralized applications (Dapps) and also apply and use smart contracts. It introduced the ERC-20 token standard that offered other blockchain developers a basis for creating their crypto coins; most altcoins use the ERC-20 standard to create their tokens.
Ethereum is by far one of the most successive blockchain network second to Bitcoin. Currently, the ETH, which is Ethereum crypto coin, trades at $207.75 USD. Towards the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, ETH was trading at over $1200 USD.
IOTA ICO was conducted towards the end of 2015 and was one of the first blockchain projects to use ICO to raise capital. A single IOTA token was going for 0.00000133 BTC, which translated to less than $0.001 at the time. The ICO was able to raise $590,000.
IOTA blockchain holds lots of prospective use cases since it merged Internet of things (IoT) technology and blockchain technology. The project developers envisioned a future where different ‘things’ using the internet would be able to communicate with each other using blockchain technology.
IOTA stands out as the only blockchain technology that doesn’t rely on blockchain fully for its transactions. It uses another system known as The Tangle to verify transactions as they are being made. This way IOTA has been able to dodge the scalability problem affecting most blockchain networks.
IOTA has been adopted across various industries across the world. For example, Taipei signed an agreement with IOTA Foundation for its Taipei smart city project. Also, a Netherlands company called Elaadnl dealing with smart charging has succeeded in developing the first working prototype using IOTA. The list keeps on growing as more and more industries fall to IOTA’s technology.
At the moment, one IOTA token is trading at 0.00002073 BTC.
The DigixDAO ICO was the first crowd sale to be conducted on Ethereum. It was conducted in March 2016 and it raised $5.5 million.
DigixDAO is one of the main Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) developed on the Ethereum network. DAOs are normally new business structures that have no bosses but rather all decision affecting the networks are made through proposals and voting.
One of the main features of the DigixDAO blockchain is that it has two crypto coins; the DGD and DGX.
The DGD tokens were the ones that were issued during the ICO. During the ICO, a single DGD token was going for $4.2000 USD.
Contrary to most other ICOs, buyers of DAO tokens hold the rights to vote in the proposals submitted to the DAO.
The main objective of DigixDAO is to create a stable cryptocurrency that is backed by real gold bars. According to the DigixDAO, the token that is backed by the gold bars is the DGX. The gold is stored in a custodian vault in Singapore that can hold up to 30 tons of gold. The gold goes through a Proof of Asset protocol, where its existence is verified through the Ethereum blockchain.
Currently, the DGD token is going for $39.98 USD.
The official announcement of NXT ICO was made in Sep 2013 on BitcoinTalk forum.
The NXT blockchain is viewed as a descendant of the Bitcoin blockchain and it was developed to solve some of the issues affecting Bitcoin. Some of the issues that NXT promised to fix was shifting the mining algorithm to proof-of-stake and also resolve the issue of bloated blockchain.
The ICO which was conducted on the BitcoinTalk forum platform raised $16,800 in Bitcoin. At the time of the ICO, the value of NXT token was $0.0000168. However, at the moment the token’s value is above $0.01.
Besides the fact that the NXT is tradable on most crypto exchanges, the NXT blockchain is now fully operational and blockchain developers use it to develop decentralized applications. It also has an asset exchange platform, the Nxt Asset Exchange, and a messaging system.
NEO ICO was conducted in September 2016 and it raised $5,050,000. During the ICO, a single NEO token was going for $0.032.
NEO blockchain is often referred to as the Chinese version of Ethereum. It offers smart contracts and on top of that provides digitized assets, identification decentralized commerce. The developers saw a future where blockchain would be used to represent legal proof-of-ownership for the broader society rather than the cryptocurrency community alone.
Today, NEO is traded on most crypto exchanges and currently trades at over $9.87. Towards the end of 2017 and early 2018, NEO was trading at over $120.
The Stratis ICO was conducted from August 2016 to January 2018. It was raised $610,000 by selling a single STRAT token for $0.007.
Stratis blockchain is a project that was developed to offer end-to-end solutions for the development, testing and deployment of Blockchain-based applications for the businesses worldwide. Its main aim was to make it easy for blockchain developers to develop blockchain networks that address whatever problem that is faced in the business sector.
The project has become quite a success since it ended up with a platform that is fully compatible with the C# and .NET programming languages, which are common among coders. One of its best use cases was when Microsoft added it as a Blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) to its Azure cloud service. Stratis has become a darling for enterprises that use Microsoft products and looking to incorporate blockchain technology.
Currently, the Stratis (STRAT) goes for over $0.30. It reached its all-time high at the start of 2018 when it was going for $21.21.
Ark ICO was conducted from November to December 2016 raising $22,000,000 USD. During the ICO, a single ARK was valued at $0.1 USD.
The Ark blockchain project was developed to create a platform that could link different blockchain into one network of use cases. In so doing, users of different blockchains could transact. Besides, Ark provides an open-source code and blockchain creation tools to enable users to leverage blockchain technology.
Ark has won a number of partnerships with different firms including Ledger, Atomic Wallet, Exodus, Changelly, and Spend among others.
Currently, the Ark token is trading at over $0.21.
Lisk ICO was conducted in March 2016 raising $6,472,497 USD. During the ICO, a single Lisk (LSK) was going for $ 0.07647059.
Lisk was the first modular blockchain that has the main chain that hosts the LSK coin with other side chains, which are personal blockchain networks attached to the main chain. The side chains are built and tailored using Lisk tools.
Most importantly, the developers of the side chains are allowed to hold their own ICOs. And most importantly Lisk allows developers to use JAVA programming language to develop the side chains.
Besides, several Ethereum players have also invested in this blockchain project.
Currently, the Lisk (LSK) is trading at above $1.11.
QTUM ICO was conducted in March 2017 and raised $15.6 million. During the ICO, a single QTUM was going for $0.3.
QTUM is a blockchain network that aimed at bridging Bitcoin with Ethereum’s smart contracts. By this, QTUM hoped to open up more use cases for smart contracts, especially for businesses.
Different business can leverage the tools, templates and smart contracts provided by the QTUM blockchain to enable them to build and deploy the smart contract.
Currently, the QTUM token is trading at above $1.5 USD.
Spectrecoin ICO was conducted from November 2016 to January 2017 and raised $15,427. During the ICO, one Spectrecoin (XSPEC) was going for $0.00081.
Spectrecoin platform combines blockchain and tokenized ring signature scheme to add a layer of privacy and anonymity in transactions. By using the ring signature mechanism, any member of the network can append a signature on any transaction and it, therefore, becomes hard to trace the specific person that signed a transaction.
Besides the ring signature, Spectrecoin uses the Tor network to increase privacy within the network. All the nodes in the Spectrecoin blockchain communicate with each other through the Tor network. Therefore, contrary to most blockchains, the transactions carried out within the Spectrecoin go through a number of “middlemen” to make the transactions untraceable.
Currently, the Spectrecoin (XSPEC) is going for over $0.12, which is quite an appreciation from its ICO price.
The above blockchain networks are just examples of the best performing ICOs. There are other blockchain projects like Brave, OmiseGo, Ox, waves, Cardano, ChainLink, and Golem among many others that have used ICO to raise capital for the projects.
Although investors are currently shying away from ICOs due to lack of proper regulations, some countries have already come up with laws governing the ICOs or means of making the ICOs safer, like in the case of the German’s rICO.
If you are in countries where there are rules that have been put in place, you should ensure that you comply with all of them. For instance, if you are from France, you could apply for a VISA from the AMF to have your ICO whitelisted, which would certainly attract investors since they would be sure it is not a scam.
In the USA, the SEC requires you to disclose information about your project to ensure that investors make informed decisions. You may also be required to disclose how the collected funds were distributed, which would certainly instil confidence in your investors.
Failure to comply with regulations may land you into trouble hampering the success of your blockchain project like what was witnessed in the case of Telegram’s TON or the court cases that BLOCK.ONE is facing.