There’s a craze that is currently sweeping the startup world. You have probably heard of it. It’s called ICO.
ICOs are controversial, unregulated, and extremely risky. But they also work. In 2017, the capital raised via ICOs surpassed the capital raised via traditional venture capital investments.
So let’s take a closer look at some of the most successful ICOs ever.
What is an ICO?
ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering. It’s a way to crowdfund your business venture by issuing your own tokens that then can be used to redeem value in the ecosystem of your startup. If you do a good job selling your vision, people will buy those tokens, and you’ll end up with the capital you need to start your venture.
A lot of these tokens (coins) can also be traded on major cryptocurrency exchanges. That means that if your project goes well, your tokens will rise in value, and investors will be able to sell them for a nice profit.
ICOs are still highly controversial, though. Their unregulated nature means that there are plenty of opportunities for scammers to line their pockets.
For example, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said that ICOs are “vulnerable to money laundering and terrorist financing risks due to anonymous nature of the transactions and the ease with which large sums of monies may be raised in a short period of time”.
Meanwhile, US authorities are looking for ways to bring regulation into what is now a wild west territory, while China has outright banned ICOs.
However, despite the controversy, an ICO can be an extremely effective fundraising tool, especially when done right.
Here are 5 successful ICO campaigns — it will blow your mind how much and how fast they have raised:
Ethereum is an open source, blockchain based distributed computing platform that features smart contracts and removes risks otherwise inherent in using contracts.
During its 42 days ICO, Ethereum raised $18 million, which made it the most funded ICO at the time, and the first ICO to gain so much publicity.
It’s safe to say that it was Ethereum’s ICO that really put ICOs on the map and started the current ICO craze.
GameCredits, a company which launched the first mobile store in which you can use cryptocurrencies, held an ICO for a mobile site MobileGo in late April — late May 2017.
ICO was a smashing success. They have managed to raise $4 million the first day and a whopping $53 million in total. This made MobileGo’s ICO one of the most successful ICOs in history.
What did investors get in return? Here’s how Ivica Simatovic, CEO at Game Credits Inc., explained it to Bitcoinist:
“The MobileGO token will be used to provide many important features to Gamecredits Store based on smart contracts. In this store there will be 2 tokens: 1 for processing (Gamecredits) and another for tournaments, betting, virtual market place (MGO). This store will be a unique and special place for gamers where they will receive services they can not find in other places.”
Today, 6 months after their ICO, the business is thriving. And is that any surprise? As MobileGo whitepaper states, “The mobile gaming market was $36.7 billion in 2016. At current growth rates, the mobile gaming market is expected to grow 58 percent to $58.1 billion by 2020”. Definitely a great niche to be in!
Storj is a decentralized cloud storage network. Their network is peer-to-peer, encrypted on the client side, and allows users to transfer and share data without relying on a third-party storage provider. The company aims to become the largest cloud storage provider in the world.
According to Storj’s whitepaper, there are many advantages of decentralized cloud storage as compared to datacenter-based cloud storage:
“Data security can be maintained using client side encryption, while data integrity will be maintained via a proof of retrievability. The impact of infrastructure failures and security breaches will be greatly reduced. An open market for data storage may drive down costs for various storage services by enabling more parties to compete using existing devices. Data on the network will be resistant to censorship, tampering, unauthorized access, and data failures.”
Bold and innovative, Storj raised $20 million in the first 6 hours of their ICO, and $30 million in total. In return, investors got their STORJ tokens, which gives them exposure to cloud storage industry. With cloud storage being a hot field right now, and Storj promising to reduce latency and increase security, they might be looking at a great return on their investment.
#4 Monster Byte
Monster Byte is a cryptocurrency gambling platform where gamblers can bet on sports or play games like roulette and Black Jack.
Monster Byte announced their pre-sale on July 6th, 2017, and sold out in five minutes at a price of an $0.11 per token, selling 2.5 million tokens. They launched the ICO two days later. It was also a success — Monster Byte sold over 5 million tokens during the general sale.
“The ICO landscape is very competitive right now, that’s a fact, and while there are some very good ideas out there, they are simply that — just ideas — so there is a considerable risk to invest in them,” says Monster Byte CEO Luke Rose. “Our ICO is quite unique in the fact that we are already an established company that’s been operating in the cryptocurrency landscape since 2013, and we also have a thought out capitalization so anyone that invests knows exactly what they are getting into from a financial perspective.
The messaging app Kik raised almost $100 million in their ICO, making it one of the most successful ICOs ever.
This was a somewhat unusual ICO because Kik is an established business. It’s nearly 10 years old and has over 15 million monthly users. It’s also valued at more than $1 billion. Kik could have easily raised venture capital, but they chose against it and decided to go with an ICO, which turned out to be the right decision.
Kik is serious about their own cryptocurrency called Kin (which is short for “Kinship”). As Kik CEO Ted Livingston explained to TechCrunch, ““Our ultimate vision is for Kik to be one of hundreds or thousands of digital services for Kin. What if we got all these developers to integrate Kin, then, as a consumer, I can earn and spend Kin inside all these places?”.
That’s a bold vision, but Kik seems to be on its way and is the first major company to move into blockchain territory. Will more of them follow?
We at FastInvest are currently hard at work preparing for an ICO of our own. We have been in business since 2012, and since 2015 we are developing a platform that will allow users to invest in P2P loans, as well as provide e-wallet and cryptocurrency exchanges. We want our products to be some of the best financial tools on the market. That’s why we are doing this ICO.
We will do a limited 7,000,000 token pre-ICO on December 4th to give early birds an opportunity to claim a 40% bonus over the ICO rate.
Then, we will sell 50% of remaining tokens during the actual ICO, which will start on January 4th,10 AM and will go on until February 4th, 3 PM London time.
Your FIT will be delivered via smart contract immediately after your money is received. We expect FITs to be tradable on major exchanges by September 2018.
We will use the funds to improve FastInvest. We are planning to expand aggressively in the next 2 years, and for that, we’ll need 70 additional employees in 2018, and 100 more in 2019. We are only recruiting the best and that costs money. We will also invest heavily in the development of various new features and into sales and new partnerships.
Want to give investing in ICOs a try? FastInvest ICO is an excellent opportunity. Most ICOs revolve around ideas, but that’s not the case here. We are a legitimate business with years of experience in investing in consumer loans. So why not dip your toes into investing by participating in an ICO of an established business with a proven business model?
The jury might still be out on ICOs, but there’s no denying that they can work well, and make both the company founders and investors a lot of money.
Want to learn more about ICOs? Need help deciding whether you should invest in one? Take a look at our article Here’s What You Need To Know About ICOs!