New records for ICOs are being set almost every month — the lightning-fast $25 million in 15 minutes (Aragon), the impressive $170 million in five days (EOS), the massive $257 million month-long campaign (Filecoin), which, by the way, exceeds the entire ICO market value last year. Meanwhile in 2017, ICOs have already managed to surpass the next important milestone of $3 billion.
However, regardless of the impressive numbers, not all investors are benefitting from the hype surrounding ICOs. Recently, Jordan Belfort, that same Wolf of Wall Street, called ICOs the largest fraud in history: “They are far worse than anything I was ever doing.”
The truth is that only one tenth of the tokens issued for ICOs is used for business (i.e. paying for services), while the rest can only be traded. Many teams don’t even reach the stage of selling their product, meaning that their tokens turn into a worthless digital asset. Recently, the first ever charge of an ICO fraud was made against ReCoin (the project promised to create the first cryptocurrency backed by real estate) and DRC World (the project was to be backed by investments in diamonds). Regardless of the bold statements, the companies did not conduct any activity.
The real success does not lie in collecting millions during the ICO, but in increasing the value of the tokens after it. This is only possible if the startup works on their product and actively builds their ecosystem. Here are a few impressive examples when the value of tokens after an ICO grew by a factor of several hundred as a result of such policy.
Neo — 90,339% growth rate*
The Neo digital asset platform (previously known as Antshares) has been labeled as the Chinese Ethereum by some. It is the first blockchain platform in China with an open source code. Smart-contract developers at Neo can use familiar and popular programming languages such as JAVA, C/C#, or GO. Meanwhile, at Ethereum they have to write code in Solidity, the platform’s native language.
Neo held an ICO in 2015. At that time, their token could be purchased for just $0.03. The company sold 17.5 million tokens for $556,000. Now one Neo token costs $28.80 — those who invested in the project at the beginning have multiplied their capital almost a thousand times!
Three years have almost passed since the ICO, and the platform’s developers did not waste any time: they started working with well-known blockchain startups (AdEx, Bancor, Coindash, and Agrello), began developing an innovative operating system using the Elastos blockchain, upgraded their technology and switched to the Neo 2.0 smart-contract system, and rebranded the project. In the first few days after the completion of the rebranding (August 2017), the NEO cryptocurrency had already entered the top 10. Now it’s ranked 7th in terms of popularity, while its market capitalization is approaching $2 billion.
Stratis — 52,668% growth rate
The mission of the Stratis blockchain platform is to become a guide in the blockchain world for corporations and enterprises in the real sector of the economy. The project simplifies the development, testing, and deployment of blockchain applications and operates under the blockchain-as-a-service (BAAS) model. Just like Neo, Stratis offers its system of smart contracts in popular programming languages.
The company held an ICO in 2016. At that time, 84 million STRAT tokens were sold for $610,908. Almost one year and a half later, the value of one token increased by more than 500 times — from $0.007 to $3.600. Over the course of the last year, Stratis was the most profitable ICO in the world on several occasions, and now it’s ranked in the top 5.
There are several projects that the Stratis team has been working on since the ICO. Some are already available to users: for example, in July 2017, the company released an alpha version of the Breeze Wallet, which enables anonymous Bitcoin transactions. Moreover, Stratis became partners with Microsoft, and Stratis’s tools are now available on Azure Cloud Services.
Stratis’s market capitalization is now at $356 million, and it’s ranked 18th by popularity.
Etheroll — 4,516% growth rate
It’s not too surprising when projects that conducted an ICO a couple of years ago show impressive results — they have had time to increase their rating. However, Etheroll issued their tokens just this year, in 2017. That being said, the project’s ICO landed in the top 15 in terms of profitability.
Etheroll is a dice game, only high-tech. The game is designed around smart contracts, which ensures bet transparency and guarantees that the players will always get their winnings. No registrations or deposits are needed to begin playing.
The Etheroll ICO took place in February, and the company has apparently caught on the blockchain gambling trend. They managed to sell 4.5 million tokens and collect $311,162 for the development of the project. The value of the DICE token has increased 46 times in 8 months — at the beginning of the year, you could buy a token for $0.70, but now you would have to pay $3.20.
Market capitalization is comparatively small so far — around $22 million. However, the project is already catching up with the market leaders.
*All data as of October 30, 2017.