2017 has been an incredible year for cryptocurrency. Countless coins have ridden a bull market to all-time highs, and Bitcoin and Ethereum have achieved mainstream relevance. It’s also been the year of the ICO. Every day more and more founders add their ICOs to our ICO calendar. Let’s recap the top ten ICOs of 2017, ranked below in order of money raised.
1. Filecoin. 257 million
ICOs blew up this year, attracting attention for the gaudy amounts of money raised astonishingly fast, and Filecoin is the clear-cut king. Their ICO raised $257M total, according to CoinDesk. It is worth noting this figure was split into a $52M presale, and a second round of $205.8M. Sequoia Capital, Y Combinator, and Union Square Investors were some of the firms that backed Filecoin. Filecoin is a storage-focused project that matches people who need storage, with people who have extra space available. If you let someone store their data on your server or computer, you get Filecoins. An astonishing $135M was raised during the first hour of the ICO. Funds were raised in dollars, Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Zcash.
2. Tezos. 232 million
Although Tezos’s status as biggest ICO ever didn’t last long, the companies $232M raised is still noteworthy. A highly ambitious currency, Tezos sees itself as the end-all be-all of cryptocurrencies. Straight from the whitepaper: “Although most alt currencies harbor their own source of innovation, they have no means of adopting the innovations of other currencies which may succeed them.” Tezos has the ability to update its code, enable it to easily adapt and improve in the future. Uniquely, the company operates on a brand-new blockchain, not on Ethereum like many others do. Tezos also raised a ton of money partially because they had an uncapped ICO. They didn’t stop taking funds after a certain point or amount, a move that was controversial to some.
3. EOS. 180 million
EOS burst onto the scene as a blockchain operating system competing with Ethereum, emphasizing its improved scalability. EOS pocketed 180M. The team minted a billion EOS, to be rolled out in stages. Fixed numbers of tokens were released at each stage, with the goal of allowing smaller investors to get in equally as whales. EOS’s ICO ran on the Ethereum blockchain, although it pitches itself as an Ethereum competitor. The team stated this was to provide an honest, clearly auditable process through an established platform. The team envisions developers building projects on EOS, which touts improvements over Ethereum.
4. Bancor. 153 million
Backed big names, Bancor raised a big amount of money: 153M. Inspired by John Maynard Keynes’s vision of one world currency, Bancor’s tokens can contain multiple coins. If you want to, you can purchase a Bancor token that is 50% Bitcoin, 25% Ethereum, and 25% Zcash. Bancor aims to eliminate exchanges, which can be hacked and often charge painful fees. Big time venture capitalist Tim Draper invested in the project. Like Tezos, Bancor raised a pile of cash partially because it was an uncapped ICO. The team initially planned to raise a set amount of money, but kept the ICO open longer than planned. They raked in an extra 51M, but the move drew some flack. We’ll see if they can make good use of the money.
5. Status. 108 million
Status, a mobile Ethereum OS, pulled down a cool $108M earlier this year. Despite some technical hiccups, the team and their Ethereum-based messaging app should be set for funding. Status’s vision is turning your phone into a node on the Ethereum network. Users can easily send, receive, and store Ether directly from their phones. Or you can send smart contracts to friends or coworkers. Status boasted of their security, with encrypted messaging and blockchain eliminating the need for a central server. The excitement about Status was too much to handle, as Etherscan and MyEtherWallet were slowed, and some were unable to get in. This is a common problem with popular ICOs, however.
6. MobileGo. 53 million
Mobile gaming is a huge market, and it was only a matter of time until a coin tapped into it. MobileGo was created to capitalize on a 36B global market. The team aims to provide a platform for gamers to download games and compete head-to-head. MGO snagged 53 million for their war chest. The ICO had no hard cap, but it did have a time limit. Around 50% of the money raised will go directly to marketing MobileGo. 25M just for marketing may seem insane, but the team broke it down in their whitepaper. Typically, it costs around $1.50 to attract a user, but they usually provide $3.67 in revenue. That’s 200%+ in returns. With so many mobile game platforms, attracting users will be make or break.
7. SONM. 42 million
SONM is the abbreviation for “Supercomputer Organized by Network Mining.” The name doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, but SONM is an exciting coin with big dreams. SONM is a top layer platform that combines a number of existing projects. The team is implementing a Superglobal Operating System with Network Architecture, or SOSNA (they’re fond of abbreviations.) A computer integrates different parts; a screen, a motherboard, RAM, a keyboard, and so on. SOSNA uses Ethereum, Whisper, Docker, and BTSync for various functions. World computer type projects are futuristic to some, but SONM certainly has the funds to get started.
8. Basic Attention Token. 35 million
35Min 30 seconds gets some attention, and the aptly named Basic Attention Token executed a smooth ICO. BAT is a utility token for internal use on a blockchain advertising platform. Unlike many coins, it’s not intended for use as a currency. The BAT platform is a new search engine called Brave, a free open-source web browser. Brave was announced by the co-founder of Firefox, among others, so the team has considerable experience. It claims to be faster and more private than Chrome or other traditional browsers. BAT’s ICO was so fast many investors were unable to get in, but they had a goal and they stuck to it.
9. Polybius. 31 million
The crypto world is used to revolutionary ideas. Coins aiming to revolutionize an industry, or the wider world, are a dime a dozen. But Polybius, which raised 31M from their ICO, is unique even by crypto standards. Polybius claims to be a “contemporary banking institution with a progressive approach.” That’s unusual in the world of cryptocurrency, which is generally opposed to traditional banking. Think of Polybius as a green dot or Ally Bank, which don’t have physical offices.
10. Aeternity. 31 million
Similar to EOS, Aeternity is another Ethereum competitor launched on the Etherum network. A two-part ICO, Aeternity staggered the first part over three days. That gathered 5.7 million, and part two brought in the rest. Smart contracts are all the rage right now, made famous by Ethereum. Aeternity claims to be more scalable, and stores smart contracts off-chain. It also employs a unique hybrid of proof-of-work and proof-of-stake systems.
2017 has been the year ICO’s broke into the mainstream. Some claim ICOs are in a bubble. But odds are, there’s still a few more big ICOs out there lurking.