Investing in Cryptocurrency – The Best Performing ICO’s of 2017
Throughout this year, the increased number of speculators investing in cryptocurrency globally has been nothing short of staggering. That’s in fact a gross understatement when you consider that as of Jan 1st roughly $296 million had been raised via ICO’s, where now over the past 10 months alone that amount has boosted almost 10-fold, to over $2.6 billion.
To put this in perspective, for the past 2 months the total raised via cryptocurrency token sales has beaten out the total amount of VC investment into startups for the first time ever. This marks a dramatic turn in the perceptions of some mainstream players regarding the use of ICO’s for funding, which was demonstrated in September with the social giant, Kik, launching a successful ICO for its token, Kin.
It should come as no surprise to you that the projects in this list have taken the lion’s share of the tidal wave of investment seen within the crypto-sphere, and we’ve combined the highest grossing ICO’s of 2017 along with those that have yielded enormous ROI potential for investors during the same period.
STRATIS ~ ROI 63,500%
While investment in a large number of ICO’s have generated huge profits for cryptocurrency investors, the Stratis ICO has seen the greatest ROI to date across all token sales at an almost unbelievable 63,500%. Saying this, there has been a retreat over the last 4 months since its all-time high of $10.85 in June to around $3 at time of publishing. While this may seem like a tellingly dramatic drop, many cryptocurrencies launched through token sales have seen similar patterns since mid-2017. This is credited to a number of events, such as the Chinese ban on ICO’s in early September which saw the price of Bitcoin and a majority of digital currencies take a significant dive until a recent period of recovery.
The Stratis platform provides Blockchain-as-a-Service (BAAS), with a focus on financial institutions implementing the relatively new technology within that sector. After raising 915BTC over a 5-week ICO through June and July last year, it’s only been since March of this year that the price of their STRAT token had even risen above $0.10 on exchanges. This evolved into a meteoric jump throughout early and mid 2017, with Stratis being one of the earliest tokens this year to foretell the coming explosion in the market cap and token values across the domain.
The Stratis network platform was launched in August last year, with the UK-based project releasing 5 roadmap updates since then. The most recent update outlines plans for a majority of the technical structure of the network to be complete by the end of the year, including its wallet and blockchain. Their full node, and BreezeGui and BreezeApi are already completed and work is now focused on upgrades to all three, along with the development of their Breeze Wallet.
FILECOIN ~ Total ICO Investment $257 Million
Filecoin has garnered the largest amount of ICO investment to date with a whopping total of $257 million. What’s most striking though is that within just the first hour of their August 10th token sale not only had they raise $200 million, but high-traffic levels caused by a rush from those investing in the cryptocurrency led to the Filecoin team having to suspend their token sale to deal with the issues.
Filecoin is a decentralized file storage network that allows users to mine the coin by providing their storage for others to utilize. A protocol designed by the project called IPFS is an open-source endeavor by from contributors around the world, aimed at replacing HTTP, and is one of the foundations of the Filecoin technology system. This system allows users to store and retrieve data, both of which come at a cost which is sent to miners that provide their hard drive space for use.
The project is very research-heavy, with a handful of papers relating to the technology being published and available on their site. This includes a paper on Proof-of-Replication (PoRep) which leads to transparently verifiable authentication of the services provided by miners within their system.
The project received early backing from leading investors such as Andreessen Horowitz and Winklevoss Capital, who were part of a pre-sale investment group that put more than $52 million into the Filecoin prior to their highly successful ICO.
TEZOS ~ Total ICO Investment $232 Million
At the end of a 14-day uncapped sales period, Tezos had set a new all-time record, raising $232 million in BTC and Ether. The 65,703 BTC and 361,122 ETH receive from investors would have recorded an even larger haul, had the Bitcoin and Ether prices not been at a relative low during the first day of the sale in which $160 million was raised.
This project launched by the Swiss-based Tezos Foundation focused on a smart-contracts model similar to Ethereum, but with built-in decentralized governance mechanisms that prevent the kinds of off-chain disputes (read: hardforks) that have been seen in the Bitcoin network.
The system is designed to allow preplanned upgrading over time, in which Tezos developers submit suggested improvements to the network which are then voted on by token holders. Unlike a majority of other tokens which use proof-of-work or proof-of-stake to achieve consensus, Tezos uses a system known as delegated proof of stake (DPOS).
Tezos outlined in their roadmap varying levels of future development of the project depending on the amount raised in their ICO. Some of the more colorful ambitions of the project in the “moon-shot” and “mar-shot” categories are to “Acquire mainstream print and TV media outlets” as well as to “Negotiate with a small nation-state the recognition of Tezos as one of their official state currencies”.
While this has drawn criticism from some as ludicrous, who’s to say what’s possible for this crypto-goliath with a war chest of almost a quarter of a billion dollars at their disposal.
IOTA ~ ROI 60,000%
IOTA has been included in this list, but not because of the total raised during their token sale. In fact it took place at the tail end of 2015, and only raised a modest $400,000 through the dispensation of 1,000,000,000 tokens at less than $0.001 each. But where they started slowly in 2015, they stormed ahead in 2017.
IOTA is the second best performing ICO’d token in history based on ROI, with 60,000% returns when IOTA began trading publicly on exchanges in June 2017 at $0.63.
The project centers around the melding of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT), and building a transactional settlement layer for machine-to-machine interaction. Unlike any other major cryptocurrencies, IOTA does not perform transactions using a blockchain but instead uses a directed acyclic graph (DAG) called “The Tangle”. This revolutionary and innovative concept allows for no-fee transactions and makes the network quantum-computing-proof, both of which can’t be said for blockchain-driven tokens.
The IOTA roadmap outlines the building out client in a number of languages including C++ and Golang, researching and developing a swarm client to share the computational workload between many devices at once and introducing private transactions on the network.
EOS ~ Total ICO Investment $185 Million (Stage 1)
The structure of the EOS ICO is unique in that it’s running for a total of 341 days, with 200 million of the 1 billion tokens for release distributed on the first day and 2,000,000 per day being released per 24-period following the June 26th launch. The mode of distribution is also unique, following a system where the total number of tokens released per day is divided between investors in the cryptocurrency depending on the total amount of Ether contributed during that period.
On the first day of the token sale alone over $185 million in Ether was raised, with an average of roughly $2 million per period being raised every day since then.
EOS is considered a competitor to Ethereum and is technologically comparable in that they are both programmable platforms with the capacity to build decentralized apps (DAPPS) and other tokens on top of their core code. EOS takes much of the technological developments from two of the CTO Dan Larimer’s previously successful cryptocurrency enterprises, BitShares and Steem.
From its inception, the team have claimed that the EOS platform will not only allow for millions of transactions per second but also eliminate transactions fees completely. While some have challenged the validity of these claims, the project not only has one of the true veterans of the space as their CTO, but also have highly influential VC backing from groups such as Blockchain Capital and Fenbushi Capital. To top this off, the project also being led by Block.One team, headed by other big names in the crypto-sphere such as Brock Pierce and Ian Grigg.
The roadmap for this project covers the development of a minimal viable testing network and audits on testing and security processes by the end of Spring 2018. Although many will be watching technical developments, many more investors will be concerned with what affect the conclusion on this long ICO will have on the price of this token in June 2018.
ANTSHARES/NEO ~ ROI 22,000%
NEO is another token that held its ICO prior to 2017 while also being notable for the staggering ROI yielded for investors since then. Antshares were rebranded as NEO by the project earlier this year and the project team have held a number of token sales since their inception in 2015.
In October of that year they raised roughly $550,000 through the release of 17.5 million ANS tokens, and in September 2016 they raised another $4.5 million through the release of another 22.5 million tokens. ANS tokens originally sold at $0.032 in 2015, but with the all-time high of NEO in June 2017 of $11.79 this led to an eye-watering 22,000 % ROI for early investors.
NEO is widely regarded as the “Chinese Ethereum”, and earns this comparison to the super-token much more deservingly than EOS does. The project combines smart contacts and digital assets into “smart assets” and uses an original blockchain algorithm to improve upon the model that has led Ethereum to success.
Somewhat surprisingly however, the NEO token being traded at exchanges is closer to being a traditional security, as opposed to a “utility coin” such as Ether. What this really means is that while owning Ether is essential in order to be able to interact with the Ethereum ecosystem, the NEO token is closer to being a share in the company and when it comes down to it, that’s really what it is.
BANCOR ~ Total ICO Investment $153 Million
Bancor’s somewhat controversial ICO was one of the most significant of 2017, netting the project over $153 million in just 3 hours. Originally designated for a period of 2 hours, the team extended the deadline for another hour, citing technical issues from malicious attacks to the network that affected processing speeds. The reason for anger from early investors was that within the extended 1 hour period another 150,000 Ether ($51 million) was raised, heavily diluting the value of investments made within the originally set time frame.
Bancor is a protocol allowing for anyone to build cryptocurrencies upon it, which they call “Smart Tokens”. These tokens have relations automatically built with other tokens that are held in reserve against them, and conversion between tokens is preformed directly with a smart contract instead of requiring third parties or sufficient liquidity on exchanges. The Bancor Foundation itself is another of many projects in the space based out of “Crypto Valley” in Zug, Switzerland.
Current work on this project is focused on its webapp and smart-token development, as well as web3 integration of their system. Future significant steps towards the launch of this platform include work on user Ethereum accounts and user-to-user messaging through bots.
STATUS ~ Total ICO Investment $90 Million
The Status token sale was another that was both wildly successful and marred with contention. Their ICO in June really exposed some of the technical issues with the Ethereum network at the time. Due to heavy congestion in the network, investors were not able to collect their tokens immediately after, as was outlined prior to the sale. Irrespective of these issues it was one of the more dominant ICO’s of 2017, with $95 million-worth of SNT tokens being sold all up.
Status is an interface to allow mobile access to decentralized apps built on top of Ethereum by utilizing their browser and wallet. Additional functionality also allows decentralized messaging through their platform, and any mobile can become a lightweight Ethereum client by using Status as a gateway to the entire ecosystem. As a community-driven open-source project, interest and interaction from developers has rapidly grown as the project has progressed.
The Status blog covers many planned steps in their process, as well as update on current developments. This includes wallet redesign and implementation, production of decentralized push notifications and “network switching” to allow DAPPS to conduct further system testing while using the Status network.
SPECTRECOIN ~ ROI 13,000%
Spectrecoin ran their ICO through November 2016 until January 2017, selling 19 million XSPEC tokens, but raising a meagre $15,000 for the project. However after launching on exchanges at a price of $0.001 after the completion of the token sale, this dramatically increased to an all-time high of $0.4315 in June 2017. Early investors enjoyed more than a 13,000 % ROI, and the value of this coin currently floats at around $0.32.
Spectrecoin is one of a number of cryptocurrency projects that focus on user privacy, amongst a group of more widely-recognized coins such as Monero, Dash and ZCash. The popularity of anonymous tokens has been driven by adoption of the use of these coins to achieve the levels of privacy that much of the public perceive Bitcoin to have, when in reality that’s simply not the case. The Spectrecoin project was designed as a digital currency to be used in an app to allow fully anonymous funds transfer from anywhere in the world.
Upcoming technical improvements to their system including memory use reduction and implementation of various Linux distributions are due before the end of this year. Over the next 12 – 16 months the project will be focusing on developing their hardware wallet and groundbreaking web wallet for use with the platform.
TENX ~ Total ICO Investment $64 Million
TenX completed a pre-sale on June 14th, raised 100,000 Ether ($39 million), and then followed up with another huge haul during their ICO, netting another 245,832 Ether (roughly $80 million). Investors in both the pre-sale and ICO received a bonus of 20% on token payouts, and the TenX PAY token is currently priced at around $1.83, dropping down from an all-time high of $5.88 on August 12th.
TenX is a cryptocurrency payment processor that centers around providing a credit card to users in order to facilitate token spending in the in everyday life. The project is also developing associated crypto-wallets, bank accounts and ATM’s, and are working towards a functional bridge between the cryptocurrency users possess and payment activities that would usually be covered with a traditional credit card or cash. While costs include buying physical and virtual cards, transactions and exchanges are free using the platform.
The TenX team are currently working on the completion of their Decentralized Secure Smart Contracts (DSS’s) for developer and public interaction, along with an initial release of their COMIT protocol which is used to connect all blockchains in the network. Much of 2018 will see the team focused on security testing and the integration of a fully developed version of COMIT.
With the ICO space becoming a vast sea of cryptocurrency investment opportunities and so many projects vying for the attention of investors, gargantuan rewards are being reaped by those projects who start with a solid product and build ironclad fundamentals upon it. In 2016, it would’ve been a tall order to predict the figures being raised by the projects at the sharp end of the spectrum this year, with the maximum raised by any project in 2016 a now comparatively scanty, $8.6 million by Golem.
Taking the current evolution into account, we find it hard to begin to try to foresee the heights that behemoth projects may reach between now and next year’s list for 2018. After seeing the enormous potential for tech project fundraising through the ICO model though it would be a safe bet to say an increase in interest from mainstream investors could lead to ICO dollar amounts in the next 12 months that top even the largest on this year’s list.