As ICOs are emerging as a workable, alternative form of crowdfunding, the ICO 2018 Statistics shows that 1,045 ICOs have been conducted in 2018 with a total of $6,794,292,082 raised. Most of 2018 funding came from two massive ICOs — Telegram, which raised $1.7 billion, and EOS, which raised above $4 billion.
Below is a list of five biggest ICOs ever:
1. EOS - $4.1 billion
Cayman Islands startup Block.one concluded its year-long ICO on June 1, raising over $4 billion in the biggest initial coin offering. Block.one raised capital for their blockchain project by auctioning off their EOS tokens. Two million tokens were auctioned off to highest bidders every 23 hours. Over 900 million tokens were sold after the process began on June 26th, 2017.
Participants in the ICO used ethereum instead of U.S. dollars in exchange for the new EOS tokens. In total, investors used 7.12 million ethereum to buy EOS tokens. With a total market capitalization of over $4,4 billion and a daily trading volume of about $466 million, EOS is currency ranked as fifth largest cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap.com, ousting Litecoin as the fifth largest cryptocurrency on April 12, 2018.
In June 2018, EOS mainnet was launched, and the ERC20 tokens migrated to the EOS’ own blockchain. To claim coins on the EOS mainnet, holders had to register the address holding their ERC20 EOS tokens before June 2nd 2018 at 21:59:59 UTC. EOS mainnet went live on June 15, after 150 mln (15 percent) tokens were staked to cross the positive vote threshold, triggering official mainnet validation.
However, there has since been a lot of controversy and confusion around the new mainnet and the way it works. The highly-anticipated event has been marred by a series of technical issues, account freezings, and arbitration matters.
The EOS operating system allows developers to build decentralized applications (sApps) - similar to ethereum - that can be commercially scalable. This has led to speculations in the crypto space regarding the possibility of EOS outclassing ethereum when it comes to the dApp platform development.
EOS tops the Cryptocurrency Rating Index for August 2018 - a ranking of the world’s top cryptocurrencies - released by China’s Center of Information Industry Development (CCID) with ethereum coming second in the list. The index that started back in May 2018 ranks coins depending on what they can offer when it comes to innovation, application and tech potential.
2. Telegram- $1.7 billion
Messaging app Telegram is building the Telegram Open Network (TON), a “fast, secure and scalable blockchain and network project,” which will be supported by its proprietary digital token called GRAM. The messenger service raised about $1.7 billion in two chunks of $850 million from private investors, with 81 accredited investors taking part in the first round and 84 in the second.
During the first round of the ICO in February 2.25 billion tokens (45% of the total number of future Grams) were sold at a price of $0.38 per token. The minimum amount of investment to participate in this round was $20 million. During the second round, tokens were sold at $1.33, with the minimum investment amount at $1 million. Tokens sold to investors will later be exchanged for Grams in a ratio of 1 to 1.
Telegram was expected to become the biggest ICO before The Wall Street Journal reported on May 3 that the company had cancelled plans for a public ICO. While the reason is not clear, some suggest it could be a way to avoid running into the SEC’s ICO probe. However, it could also be the case that Telegram had simply raised enough money in a private sales that it no longer needed an ICO. Whatever the reason, the result is that ordinary people can’t buy Telegram’s Gram crypto token until it’s released on exchanges.
Telegram is a messaging app with a focus on speed and security, Telegram claims it is meant for “everyone who wants fast and reliable messaging and calls.” Th app hit the threshold of 200,000,000 monthly active users in March this year. “This is an insane number by any standards. If Telegram were a country, it would have been the sixth largest country in the world,” Telegram founder Pavel Durov said on this occasion.
On July 26 the company introduced the Telegram Passport - a unified authorization method for services that require personal identification. The new technology will store users’ personal documents such as IDs, drivers’ licenses, accounts over a decentralized cloud. Users will need to upload the documents once. The personal data will be stored in the Telegram cloud and can be instantly shared with services that require real-world ID (finance, ICOs, etc.).
TON services are planned to launch in 2019. TON will be used to enable fund transfers between Telegram app users and will also allow for the selling of products and services.
3. Dragon - $320 million
Dragon Corp - the company behind Dragon Coin (DRG) raised $320 million (out of targeted $500 million) through initial coin offering to fund a floating casino in Asia’s gambling haven Macau.
Despite its rumored association with a Macau-based gangster and its business relationship with Cambridge Analytica, Dragon managed to become one of the most successful ICOs in history.
A convicted gangster — "Broken Tooth" Wan Kuok-koi, who served 14 years in prison for loan sharking and money laundering — showed up at a signing ceremony staged by Dragon to launch the ICO, Business Insider reported. However, Dragon Corp CEO Chris Ahmad rushed to assure that the man was not involved in the project.
The Dragon Coin, an ERC20 utility token built on the power of the ethereum blockchain, is a digital currency targeting VIP gamblers in Macau and its value is driven by the success of a large gambling venture.
Ahmad told Business Insider back in November 2017 that 20% of the ICO fundraising would go toward construction of the $300 million Dragon Pearl Hotel Casino, which will float in the sea. The other 80% of the cost is being financed by the Norwegian government, Ahmad says, which has a particular expertise in building offshore platforms due to its experience in the North Sea oil and gas business. The company that designed the hotel, Brova Idea, hopes to have it complete by 2020.
4. Hdac - $258 million
South Korean technology company Hdac managed to raise $258 million in late 2017 to fund the development of “the world’s 1st IoT contract & payment platform based on blockchain.”
Hdac is a blockchain based platform backed by Hyundai BS&C. The platform allows IoT devices to quickly and effectively communicate, handling identity, authentication, data storage and micro-payments.
“The technological philosophy underpinning Hdac is to dramatically improve M2M transaction environments daily: all transactions should be seamless and easy. In addition, we believe it will be possible to promote reasonable consumption and accurate management for all communication and utility expenditures using our technology,” reads a post on the platform’s website.
Trading volume is roughly at $614 thousand.
5. Filecoin - $257 million
In 2017, Filecoin was the largest ICO with over $257 million in funding raised (September 2017). The sum also includes the $52 million that had already been raised from leading venture capital firms such as Union Square Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and the Digital Currency Group prior to the token sale. Filecoin aims to build a decentralized cloud storage network using the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) to securely record and store data on a peer-to-peer basis.