The market for initial coin offerings (ICOs) has been experiencing a massive boom in 2017. Blockchain projects have raised over $1 billion since the start of the year by issuing their own digital tokens to investors who want to back their idea, product, or service.
Many of these new digital tokens then start to increase in value when they trade on digital currency exchanges. While not all ICO tokens have performed well, there have been five digital currencies that were launched through initial coin offerings that have managed to become tremendous outperformers in the digital currency space. According to ICOStats, these five are:
In this guide, you will learn more about these five ICO tokens. Examining their performance may help you decude whether or not investment in ICOs is a good strategy for you. (Don’t forget to bookmark our list of Upcoming ICOs and Completed ICOs.)
Stratis (63,500% ROI)
Stratis is a startup that offers a blockchain-as-a-service platform aimed at financial institutions that want to create industry solutions using blockchain technology. The U.K.-based company has built a development platform called nStratis that allows enterprises to develop customized blockchain applications and build their own private blockchains using Stratis’ blockchain as the underlying network.
As the startup’s development tools are largely targeted at Microsoft products, Microsoft has added Stratis’ Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) to its Azure cloud service, which is targeted to companies that want to build in-house blockchain solutions.
When Stratis held its initial coin offering in June 2016, the company managed to raise around $600,000 worth of digital currency, which was deemed a big success for the project.
Stratis’ token carries the same name and comes with the ticker (STRAT). It was issued at a price of $0.007 per token. The token’s all-time high price was $11.47 on June 5, 2017. At the time of writing this article, stratis was trading at $4.62. That marks a 63,500 percent return on investment for early token holders within a year.
Ethereum (60,000% ROI)
Ethereum is a public, open-source distributed ledger platform that allows for the creation of smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps). The project was launched in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin and has since grown into one of the largest blockchain projects in the market.
Ethereum’s smart contracts platform has gathered a lot of attention from a wide range of industries because it could potentially be used to digitize and streamline inefficient business processes in the future. This is why Ethereum’s digital currency ether has witnessed such a tremendous increase in value since its launch.
The Ethereum project had its initial coin offering in the summer of 2014, where it sold 11.9 million ether tokens to raise $16 million. Ether’s issue price at the time of the crowdsale amounted to $0.311.
Ethereum’s token ether carries the ticker ETH and has become the second largest digital currency in terms of market capitalization. Ether’s all-time high price was $407.51, which it reached on June 13, 2017. At the time of writing this article, ether was trading at $185.34, which marks a 60,000 percent increase in value since its ICO.
IOTA (60,000% ROI)
The IOTA project is developing is a transactional IoT settlement layer by combining elements of blockchain technology with the internet of things.
The IOTA token is the only major digital currency that does not use a full blockchain to conduct transactions. Instead, IOTA uses what is called a Tangle, which solves the scalability and transaction fee issues faced by digital currencies such as bitcoin by requiring the person who sends funds to conduct a verification at the same time he or she sends the funds. This fully decentralizes the entire ledger used to record IOTA transactions and creates a zero-fee transaction system, as no fees need to be paid to the participants in the network to verify transactions.
IOTA held its initial coin offering in November and December 2015 and managed to raise over $400,000. During the crowdsale, IOTA tokens were sold for less than $0.001 and all one billion IOTA tokens were sold during the ICO.
The IOTA token started trading publicly on exchanges over one a half years later on June 13, 2017, at a price of $0.63. At the time of writing this article, the value of one IOTA token stood at $0.26, which marks an almost 60,000 percent return on investment since the initial coin offering in 2015.
AntShares (22,000% ROI)
AntShares, which has recently rebranded as NEO, is a Chinese blockchain startup that is developing a blockchain for digital asset ownership. AntShares’ aim is to create a blockchain that represents legal proof-of-ownership that is accepted by the broader society. The project has managed to gather a lot of attention from the bitcoin community for combining smart contracts and digital assets to create a “smart assets platform”.
AntShares held its first ICO in October 2015, where it sold 17.5 million tokens and managed to raise around $550,000 at a time where ICOs were quite a new phenomenon in the digital assets market. The Antshares token, which carries the ticker ANS, but is now known as NEO, launched at $0.032 in late 2015.
A year later, in September 2016, Antshares held a second crowdsale to further finance the development of its platform. During its second coin offering, Antshares sold 22.5 million tokens and managed to raise $4.5 million.
At the time of writing this article, the Antshares token NEO (ANS) was trading at $7.01. This marks an impressive 22,000 percent rally since its first crowdsale in 2015. NEO’s all-time high was $11.79 on June 20, 2017.
Spectrecoin (13,000% ROI)
The fifth best performing digital currency that was launched during an ICO is Spectrecoin by the Spectreproject. According to its website, “the Spectreproject comprises the anonymous, untraceable and secure cryptocurrency Spectrecoin [XSPEC] and a mobile platform for small remittance, currently being developed.”
The popularity of anonymous digital currencies has grown substantially in the past 12 to 18 months as digital currency users are increasingly placing more value on payment privacy. This can be witnessed in the growth of the largest anonymity-centric currencies DASH, monero, and zcash in the past six months. Spectrecoin has been able to jump onto that bandwagon and has turned into a very high-performing digital currency.
During its ICO, which was held in from November 2016 to January 2017, the Spectrecoin project sold 19 million coins and only managed to raise a humble $15,000.
The digital currency Spectrecoin (XSPEC) was launched at $0.001 post-ICO and hit its all-time high on June 23, 2017, when it hit $0.4315. At the time of writing this article, one spectrecoin was worth $0.1075, which marks a 13,000 percent return on investment for early buyers.
It bears note, however, that the market capitalization of spectrecoin is only a tiny $2.2 million, which means it is too illiquid to warrant a large investment and that the price is driven by only a few buyers after a grossly underperforming crowdsale.
ICOs are Risky Business
Buying new digital currencies at the initial coin offering stage is a very risky investment, much riskier than buying bitcoin or investing in established altcoins such as Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), or DASH. While the above-mentioned ICO tokens have outperformed their peers, they are largely exceptions to the rule. Many ICO tokens that have launched in the past six months have not seen returns anywhere near those of Stratis, Ether, etc.
Several recently launched ICO tokens are trading below their issue price, while others barely gained in value in the months following their launch. Hence, when investing in initial coin offerings, it is important to conduct thorough due diligence to ensure you are picking winners. Even when you have found projects that you deem likely to become winners, it is wise to only invest a small amount in this new niche asset class as a portfolio diversifier since ICOs are still very risky investments. Invest only what you can afford to lose.
If you want digital currency exposure for your investment portfolio, you may be better off holding bitcoin and other more established altcoins than putting money into newly issued tokens that may or may not perform.
More ICO Resources
Upcoming ICOs: our up-to-date list that lets you subscribe to email updates on the hottest ICOs.
Completed ICOs: a wealth of data about the past performance of all Initial Coin Offerings.
Guide to Initial Coin Offerings: for those who are new to the ICO world.
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