The initial coin offering (ICOs) market has exploded, with blockchain startups raising over $1.5 billion in funding through the issuance of new digital tokens since the start of 2017. However, five projects have stood out as they managed to raise over $100 million through their token sales. Here are the biggest ICOs to date (click here for our list of all past ICOs by amount raised).
Top 5 Biggest ICOs to Date
|Amount Raised||ICO Dates||Project|
|Filecoin||$250+ million||08/10/17 - 09/10/17||Decentralized Cloud Storage|
|Tezos||$232 million||07/01/17 - 07/14/17||Self-Amending Distributed Ledger|
|EOS||$185 million||06/26/17 - 06/18/18||Smart Contracts|
|Bancor||$153 million||06/12/17||Prediction Markets|
|The DAO||$152 million||05/01/17 - 05/28/17||Decentralized VC|
The Filecoin ICO has raised over $200 million since its launch on August 10 after raising $52 million from leading venture capital firms such as Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and the Digital Currency Group prior to the token sale. Filecoin aims to build a decentralized cloud storage network using the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to securely record and store data on a peer-to-peer basis.
Filecoin raised over $257 million in its September 2017 token offering. This ICO stands out as it complies with the new SEC regulations on ICOs, only allowing accredited investors to partake in its token sale.
The Tezos project raised over $232 million during its ICO in July 2017. The Tezos team is developing a self-amending distributed ledger that allows for the creation of smart contracts. Tezos stands out from other blockchain projects as it allows token holders to approve and fund new protocol updates and, therefore, pre-emptively mitigates scaling or development disputes that may arise for the network in the future.
Tezos’ token, called Tez (XTZ), will become tradable on digital currency exchanges in the coming months.
The blockchain startup Block.one launched the ICO for its EOS platform in June 2017. So far, the EOS ICO has raised over $185 million to fund the development of its next-level scalable smart contracts platform. EOS is considered by some to be the “Ethereum of China” and has attracted a substantial amount of its investments from individuals based in the People’s Republic.
The EOS (EOS) token started to trade on exchanges on July 1, 2017. After spiking to a value of $5.09 per token, EOS has been trading in the $1.50 to $2.00 range for most of its existence. Interestingly, EOS’s crowdsale is actually still open until June 18, 2018, or until all of its 1 billion tokens have been sold.
The blockchain-based prediction market project Bancor held its ICO on June 12, 2017, where it managed to raise $153 million worth of ether for the development of its platform. Investors in the crowdsale also included VC firm Blockchain Capital as well as seasoned blockchain investor Tim Draper.
The Bancor (BNT) token experienced a spike on the day it launched on exchanges to hit a high of $4.49 and then dropped off to trade at a low of $1.49. In late August, the BNT token recovered and surpassed the $3.00 mark again.
The fifth largest ICO to date was also one of the most controversial. The token sale for the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organisation) raised $152 million worth of ether in May 2016 to a create a decentralized investor-driven venture capital fund that would invest in promising new projects built on the Ethereum blockchain. The controversy around the DAO started a month after the crowdsale when it was discovered that a vulnerability in the DAO’s smart contract allowed a hacker to steal around one third of the invested ether.
What became known as “the DAO hack” later led to the dissolution of the DAO and a hard fork in the Ethereum blockchain that allowed ether holders to restore their ether holdings back to prior to the hack. The DAO hack also caught the eye of the SEC, which announced in July that the sale of the DAO tokens would have been considered as the issuance of securities and should, therefore, have been subject to regulation. This statement initiated new ICO regulations that are currently being put in place in the US.
Investing in the ICOs that raised the most money does not necessarily mean that their tokens will also outperform. This can be seen by the price action in Bancor and EOS tokens compared to those of the biggest ICOs measured by return on investment on their tokens.
What is the lesson for investors? It is vital to look at each project in detail before making an ICO investment and not let yourself be influenced by strong crowdsale figures alone. Click here for our list of all completed ICOs, to compare their strategies.
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