Many cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects choose to raise funds via an Initial Coin Offering, abbreviated as an ICO. During this fundraiser, participants contribute funds to the project and they receive cryptocurrencies in return. Over the years, there have been thousands of ICOs. Out of all of these, some stand out from the crowd in terms of the sheer amount of funds raised.
Dragon had a lofty goal of $500 million during its ICO, and while it did not reach that goal, the ICO did raise $320 million. This was particularly impressive not only because of the amount raised but also because it was the very first token sale that was created to fund a casino. Specifically, the goal was to fund a floating casino within Macau, an Asian city known for being a gambling haven.
The value of the Dragon Coin, DRG, is driven by the large gambling venture’s success. The digital currency was created to appeal to the VIP gamblers who visit Macau. The idea behind DRG is to assist high rollers with savings by eliminating the intermediary agents when transferring money as these agents tend to make a large commission during conversions.
To make this ICO even more impressive, not only is Dragon the first ICO to fund a floating casino, but there were also rumored links to a gangster in Macau and a proven relationship with a company under great scrutiny, Cambridge Analytica. Dragon showed that it is possible to overcome a range of challenges to your reputation if you choose the right industry, such as gambling where profits can potentially be huge.
The ICO for EOS from Block.one lasted for a longer time than many other ICOs, something which paid off for this project. From June 2017 to June 2018, EOS raised a whopping $4.1 billion. The goal of EOS was to fund a smart contracts program that is scalable and many of its investors are from China.
Those in the know say that the success of the EOS ICO was due to the potential of the project. Specifically, EOS can potentially build on the positives of Ethereum with a scalability that eliminates the congestion issues associated with Ethereum. Other factors contributing to its success included a stellar team and support from leaders in the world of blockchain investors.
The South Korean company focused on technology, Hdac, raised $258 million during the latter portion of 2017. The goal was to raise funds to create the first IoT contract and payment platform in the world to be based on the blockchain. In other words, Hdac wants to give IoT devices the ability to communicate as well as handle payments, data storage, and identity authentication. To reach that goal, Hdac will create a blockchain with the ability to handle contract functionality and scaling.
Multiple factors contributed to the success of Hdac, including backing from Hyundai and strong publicity within South Korea. Additionally, the idea of IoT solutions on the blockchain does not seem far-fetched to investors since IOTA has been successful. This successful ICO showed the benefits of having a large company back your project as well as offering a solution that the investors believe in.
Huobi is a Chinese cryptocurrency exchange and among the largest in the world. The exchange decided to raise funds via a native digital token, which is something many exchanges had previously done with success. During the early 2018, Huobi sold its HT token in a token sale that was highly publicized and raised $300 million. The token sale focused on existing users who were in search of discounted trading fees.
Huobi was following the model that other cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Binance, had previously used with great success. This showed that as long as the exchange in question is reputable and popular, a token sale for a new cryptocurrency that offers reduced trading fees will appeal to crypto investors. It also shows the high demand for exchange coins as well as the benefits of running an ICO from a company with an existing user base.
Petro is among the most controversial of all ICOs but also among the most successful in terms of funds raised initially. The Venezuelan government created Petro in February 2018 to avoid economic sanctions. The ICO reportedly raised over $5 billion. According to reports, Russian officials assisted Venezuela with the launch, which only adds to its controversy, at least politically. To make it even more controversial, two Venezuelan lawmaking bodies declared Petro an illegal cryptocurrency and the country’s government remains in turmoil. From a sheer fundraising perspective, however, Petro earns a spot on this list.
Telegram had a unique ICO as it was a private sale that included SAFT agreements. This sale was going to be followed by a public sale, which is a key part of most ICOs. However, the private sale was so successful that Telegram no longer needed the public sale. That private sale raised an impressive $1.7 billion.
This was helped by the fact that Telegram was already an established big name as the end-to-end encrypted messaging application. The money raised during this impressive sale is earmarked for developing TON (The Telegram Open Network), which GRAM, a proprietary digital token, will support.
The blockchain network that Telegram plans will overcome the issue of scalability related to building new blockchains. This will be done via the ability to process millions of tps (transactions per second) thanks to hypercube routing and infinite sharding. The familiarity with Telegram certainly helped the company raise so much during its private ICO. Even so, however, many experienced crypto investors stayed away because they felt the promises of what Telegram will do with the funding seemed too lofty.
Some other projects worth mentioning briefly include the Filecoin ICO which raised more than $257 million in September 2017; Tezos which raised more than $232 million in July 2017; Sirin Labs which raised $157.8 million in December 2017; and Bancor which raised $153 million in June 2017.
Many ICOs are able to raise impressive amounts of money. By looking at the biggest ICOs to date, projects can gain insights as to what will help them stand out and achieve a successful ICO.