With the launch of hundreds of new cryptocurrencies this year alone, some are destined for a Bitcoin-style explosion, yet the vast majority will flop, crash, and burn.
So, is there a magic formula for the success of an ICO? There are a number of ways to measure “success” but we’ve put together this list in order of hike in value (statistics accurate at time of writing).
Let’s take a look at the 10 most successful ICOs of all time to see exactly how the biggest names in crypto are setting themselves up for the kill.
As the second-most valuable cryptocurrency in the world, Vitalik Buterin and his team at Ethereum must be doing something right.
Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum is more than just a cryptocurrency. It is a ledger technology used to build and deploy decentralized applications a.k.a. “smart contract” technology – a program that automates the execution of a contract when the correct conditions are in place.
After seeing the boom of Bitcoin in 2011, it was 4 years before Vitalik’s currency entered the marketplace and killed it. Ethereum’s ROI has been nothing short of jaw-dropping at 106,614%. Having sold its tokens at $0.31, an Ether token now sits at a whopping $334.25, second in value only to Bitcoin.
Why? With its massive potential for application and innovation, Ethereum has piqued the interest of the corporate world that wants to take advantage of the potential for smart contract applications.
2. NEO (formerly Antshares)
While Ethereum looked to size itself up against Bitcoin, NEO went one step further. The first Chinese open source blockchain has more names than the Artist Formerly Known As Prince; but the vision of Da Hongfei and his Chinese team is stirring up the eastern seas of cryptocurrency.
Known as “China’s Ethereum”, NEO also uses smart contract applications, but with the addition of decentralized commerce, digitized assets and identification.
The success of their ICO may be in part due to the big names backing it. With support from Microsoft, Alibaba and the Chinese government, investors have every reason to be confident. If a single Ethereum token can hit $300+ in the West, the potential for China’s billion-strong market alone is a very promising sign for NEO.
Judging by the huge hike in token value from $0.03 to $27.13, NEO has big things coming with a 84681% ROI.
With all this talk of money on the table, financial institutions have been licking their lips wanting to get a slice of the pie, and for them Stratis is the obvious choice.
The UK-based startup has craftily created a platform that is compatible with .NET and C#, and as a result the product appeals to veteran users of Microsoft products. The nStratis platform offers businesses the ability to create, test and deploy custom applications without the need to set up or maintain their own infrastructure, so in a way it’s blockchain for (corporate) dummies.
Few companies lend as much legitimacy as Microsoft, so their ICO had every reason to see success. Raising 915 BTC in 5 weeks, those who cashed in on the low investment of $0.01 per token have seen a titanic ROI of 44525%.
The “premier privacy-focused cryptocurrency” is no stranger to controversy, having picked up a reputation amongst cypherpunks after carrying on from the Shadow Cash project. Enabling users to send and receive currency worldwide with total anonymity, it’s currencies like SpectreCoin that have most government tax offices quaking in their boots.
Naturally the team behind the coin are quietly underground, headed by a lead developer who goes by the pseudonym “Mandica”. Utilizing the Tor network and some heavy-handed encryption, SpectreCoin is all but untraceable, and in the world of cryptocurrency, the value of anonymity is enormous.
If you had bought a token back in November 2016, that puny $0.001 would be worth $0.47 today, or an ROI of 46446%.
With Ark, collaboration is the name of the game. The platform’s SmartBridge is a lightning-fast ecosystem designed to integrate other cryptocurrencies into its blockchain. The project is decentralized from the inside out, with a team with 15 core members from 11 different countries.
With the boom of cryptocurrencies, any tool that can bridge them is a means to make money, and Ark is exactly that. Investors were eager as any to buy in, and they have made a 30246% gain given today’s token price of $3.03.
Another cryptocurrency with a focus on anonymity, the SuperNET team created Komodo as a fork from Zcash. The legacy of Zcash can be seen in the coin, with Zero Knowledge Proofs allowing for 100% privacy with transactions, and Delayed Proof of Work for security. Given the nature of the project, the team all uses aliases – the lead developer going by “jl777”.
Komodo’s real value is in achieving bitcoin-level security for any cryptocurrency, and with a 8947% hike in value since raising nearly $2 million at ICO, Komodo is off to a raging start.
Raising $5.8 million in 4 weeks, at the time which at the time put them in second place on this list, but with their current ROI of 8370%, Lisk is the 7th most successful ICO of all time.
Another coin that’s hell-bent on privacy, Particl is not only a coin, but a decentralized marketplace for anonymous transactions. Think Amazon on steroids; built on the Bitcoin platform, users can make transactions and send messages with complete anonymity.
Wanting to distance themselves from the shadiness of the ShadowCash project, the Swiss-based team set their sights on creating something more legitimate, and thus Particl was born. Bringing the power of crypto to the world of e-commerce, the ICO quickly raised $750,000 and is now sitting at an ROI of 5940%.
At first glance its name looks and sounds like a Nordic god — a big clue to what Storj-x is all about. The platform aims to become the ultimate cloud storage facility, and the first one based on blockchain; faster, cheaper, and more secure than anything in existence.
The STORJ token is part of this design. Users can purchase free hard drive space or rent it out in exchange for currency. The beauty of Storj-x lies in its simplicity. Not everyone wants to invest in something they don’t understand, and the concept of Storj-x can be grasped by your average computer user.
Reaching their cap of $30,000,000 in less than a week, their tokens are up 5506% and steadily growing.
The function of Veritaseum’s software is to eliminate the need for third-parties when making financial transactions (stock brokers, bankers, etc.). Its founder Reggie Middleton is the man behind the show, leveraging his profile as a successful finance and technology blogger for instant credibility.
Reggie describes the value of his project as “profiting from disintermediation of high friction industries through cost shifting”. In plain English, Veritaseum makes peer-to-peer investment cheap and accessible to the masses.
Anything that is a means to make money, will make money, and VERI’s ICO is the proof of the pudding. While their ICO price was hugely expensive at $1.56, a single token is now worth $78.38. Their 4924% ROI has them rounding out the list of top 10 most successful ICO of all time.
What Can We Learn From Successful ICOs?
Launching an ICO is not about luck, chance, or fate. While every contender on this list brings something different to the table, they all share one undeniable feature: value.
From number 1 to 10, every single one of these cryptocurrencies brings something new and valuable to the table, or innovates and improves on an existing model. If you’re about to pull the trigger and invest in an ICO, look deeply at the coin’s value to see its real worth. Set yourself up for the kill.