What was the largest ICO of all-time? Which was the most influential? Which was the most disappointing?
Here are some the most important ICOs that every crypto user needs to know about.
“The longest ICO and largest amount of money raised.”
The EOS blockchain is a smart contract platform that rivals Ethereum. It can handle millions of transactions per second and eliminates transaction fees.
Investors were quick to see its upside. The ICO for the EOS platform ran for a full 12 months, beginning in June 2017 and ending in June 2018. The year-long sale saw the company behind the project—block.one—raise a mammoth $4.1 billion.
The token hit at an all-time high of $22.71 on April 29, 2018, more than three months after the rest of the crypto market started its bear run.
EOS is currently trading at around $2.
“The first large-scale ICO.”
If you’re an investor, there are a few coins out there which have delivered barely-believable six- or seven-figure percentage returns.
We’ll talk about the number one shortly, but Ethereum sits comfortably in second place. The coin had its ICO over the space of 42 days in summer 2014. At the time, tokens sold for $0.31.
When Ether hit its all-time high in January 2018, the same token was worth $1,448.18. That’s an increase of 467,055 percent.
Of course, Ether has now fallen back from its all-time high and is trading at around $100. But it still marks a 1,348 percent increase in just four years.
“The first crypto ICO.”
The first cryptocurrency to hold an ICO was Mastercoin in July 2013. The coin has since been renamed as Omni.
It raised about 5,000 Bitcoins in funding over the course of the month. By way of comparison, Ether raised almost the same amount in a mere 24 hours the following summer.
Today, the coin struggles hold a place in the top 500 coins when ranked by market cap. It closed 2018 around 650th place.
There are just 60,000 Omni coins left to enter circulation out of an original supply of 618,000.
4. The DAO
“Hacking destroys long-term prospects.”
The DAO is one of the most infamous ICOs of all-time. The original sale was a great success, but a large-scale hack derailed the project.
In case you’re not aware, The DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) was a crypto-led venture capital fund.
Its token sale took place in May 2016. At the time, it was the largest crowdfunding campaign in history. The ICO raised more than $120 million and held five percent of all Ether in existence.
Less than a month later, hackers found a vulnerability in The DAO’s code. They were able to move more than a third of the organization’s funds into their own accounts. It was (and still is) one of the worst crypto hacks of all-time.
In response, the community made a hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain, and almost all the money was restored to its rightful owners. The DAO itself, however, lay in tatters.
You can still see the effect of the hack today. The forked blockchain is Ethereum, while the original hacked version lives on as Ethereum Classic.
“The first uncapped ICO leads to trouble.”
In 2017, there was an unprecedented rise in the number of ICOs; more than $5 billion of funding was handed over to crypto developers.
One of the most notorious ICOs of the year was Tezos. Its ICO was uncapped, meaning the developers would accept as much money as investors were willing to throw at it. It was one of the first ICOs to use an uncapped structure.
It didn’t take long for new investors to start digging. They were quick to discover that the Tezos founders were getting an 8.5 percent commission rate along with 10 percent of all the tokens created. The commission alone amounted to $19.7 million.
A never-ending list of problems ensued, including delayed issuing of tokens and a split in the community. Several investors have opened class action lawsuits against the founders. The case continues.
Of course, we now know that an uncapped structure is one of the first warning signs you should look out for when you’re trying to establish whether an ICO is a scam.
“The first ICO backed by an established company.”
Kik created its own cryptocurrency—called Kin—in 2017. The decision to develop a currency was the result of a two-year test period in which Kik ran its an internal token scheme.
The token sale was one of the highlights of 2017. It marked the first time an established company had run an ICO. At the time of the offering, Kik had 15 million monthly active users.
The company raised $100 million of funding from 10,000 participants.
Today, Kin is firmly established as a top 200 coin. Thanks to a total supply of 10 trillion, each Kin token is only worth $0.000028. At the end of 2018, Kin has a market cap of $21 million.
“The ICO with the greatest return on investment.”
The Chinese-developed NEO blockchain—often nicknamed “China’s Ethereum—has seen the highest return on investment.
Its ICO price was $0.032, meaning it had seen an increase of 6,199,275 percent when the coin hit its all-time high of $198.38 on January 15, 2018. There’s no other asset anywhere in the world that has experienced that kind of growth over such a short time frame.
In the initial ICO—which was backed by both the Chinese government and Microsoft—50 million NEO were sold to investors. They were worth around $5 million.
Today, there are 65 million NEO in circulation out of a total limit of 100 million. NEO is currently the 17th largest crypto in the world with a market cap of $400 million.
Leave your thoughts on the most important ICOs in the comments. And if you’re not sure why there have been so many ICOs, check out our explanation of why different cryptocurrencies exist.