Top 10 ICO Projects with Products and Customers
Telegram raised over $1.7 billion with the promise of providing a blockchain that supports smart contracts, micropayments, distributed file storage, and more. Filecoin wanted to develop a blockchain-based data storage platform and raised $250+ million. Tezos planned to create a new blockchain that is more efficient than that of both Bitcoin and Ethereum; it raised over $200 million. Sirin Labs (blockchain-based smartphone) and Bancor (decentralized exchange) raised over $150 million each.
Over the past few years, initial coin offerings (ICOs) have eclipsed venture capital as the major source of funding for startups. Blockchain-based projects, riding on the wave of Bitcoin and Ethereum’s success in the market, have released thousands of cryptocurrency tokens, raising billions of dollars with the promise of developing platforms with specific product offerings. Unfortunately, some of the projects failed along the way; many had good plans but lacked the business and technical infrastructure to bring their product to market.
However, many projects defied all odds and became viable businesses, amassing a strong customer base as a result. Here are 10 blockchain-based projects that raised funds using ICOs and currently have working products:
In June 2017, Bancor made ICO history, nearly crashing the Ethereum network in the process. The project raised over $150 million in 3 hours (making theirs the biggest token sale ever at the time—later eclipsed by Telegram, amongst others). More than a year later, Bancor has a working product and a strong customer base.
Bancor is a decentralized exchange that allows users to convert between any 2 tokens at an automatically calculated price without counter parties. Rather than connect buyers with sellers,like many other exchanges do, Bancor automated the process, using smart contracts to create liquidity.
Because of its affordability, ease-of-use, and in-built liquidity, many new projects are now opting to list their tokens on Bancor with its 24-hour trading volume exceeding $2 million.
NEO is similar to Ethereum in that it intends to create an infrastructure for decentralized applications and cryptocurrency tokens. However, these are just minor parts of what the company aims to accomplish. In truth, what NEO wants is to create a blockchain-based ecosystem where all assets (physical or virtual) can be digitally represented by tokens, and where the tokens can be managed automatically using smart contracts. The combination of these 2 features result in a distributed network, or a Smart Economy.
Over the past year, quite a number of projects have successfully launched their ICOs using the NEO blockchain including Zeepin (raised $62.5M), AlphaCat (raised $48M), APEX (raised $25M), Effect.ai (raised $13.5M), and so on.
SingularityNET is a decentralized marketplace for artificial intelligence services and provides a “bridge between AI developers and business users” . SingularityNET also makes it possible for inventors in the AI space to access the tools and data they need to train and perfect their algorithms at an affordable cost. To start, the company chose to focus on 3 sectors: cybersecurity, cloud robotics, and biomedical investigation.
SingularityNET provided the AI software that powered the robot, Sophia (built by Hanson Robotics). In October 2017, Sophia became the first robot to be granted citizenship when Saudi Arabia made her a citizen of the nation. Some months later, she became the first non-human to be given a United Nations title (United Nations).
Basic Attention Token (BAT)
Their flagship product, the Brave browser, allows readers to earn tokens for viewing advertisements. Content creators and publishers get rewarded when readers spend time on their content, and advertisers increase ROI by targeting audiences that are actually interested in their products.
According to speed tests published on Brave’s website, the browser is 2X faster than Chrome on desktop, and 2-8X faster than Safari/Chrome on mobile devices. Furthermore, Brave provides near-total privacy and is completely ad-free. On August 24, 2018, the Android version of Brave browser reached 10 million downloads.
WAVES is an all-in-one blockchain platform that allows users to create and deploy personalized tokens. It comes with a native wallet for storing digital assets and a decentralized exchange that allows network participants to trade major cryptocurrencies (and cryptocurrencies created on WAVES) on a peer-to-peer basis.
The project claims to have facilitated the creation—and release—of thousands of cryptocurrency tokens), which in total have a combined market capitalization of over $1 billion . These include Primalbase (raised 3,000 BTC during its crowdsale) and MobileGO (raised $53 million).
Steemit is the first social media platform that uses a blockchain-based reward system. Powered by the Steem blockchain and launched in July 2016, Steemit now has over 1 million users. Steemit rewards publishers when readers upvote their posts, while readers are rewarded for discovering popular content. The Steem blockchain also hosts d.tube, an ad-free alternative to YouTube that rewards users that publish unique video content.
Rewards are given out using Steemit’s cryptocurrency token, STEEM. According to the Steem website, as of August 2018, rewards exceeding $40 million dollars were given out to users.
Verge is an anonymous coin that uses Tor and I2P technology to mask the IP addresses, locations, and identities of people that use the platform for payments. Originally launched as DogeCoinDark in 2014, the company rebranded as Verge in 2016.
The cryptocurrency is accepted by some of the world’s largest, most-visited websites and hundreds of other businesses.
ICONOMI is the digital asset management platform of fintech start-up ICONOMI. The platform consists of asset managers and investors, and 4 generations of digital assets: Bitcoin, altcoins, application tokens, and Digital Asset Arrays (DAA). A DAA is a portfolio consisting of digital assets created by asset managers on ICONOMI and offered to investors on the platform.
Investors can view the market performance the portfolios put out by the different asset managers and choose which one they want to invest in. As of August 25, 2018, over $50 million worth of assets are under management on the ICONOMI platform (ICONOMI Official Website).
OpenBazaar is an open-source, decentralized e-commerce marketplace that facilitates payments using cryptocurrencies. Released in April 2016, OpenBazaar charges no fees to list products or sell items. Since payments are resolved using Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and many other cryptocurrencies, there is no need for credit cards or bank transfers. Furthermore, there is a live chat feature that allows sellers and buyers to communicate with a multisignature feature serving as escrow.
Businesses from over 30 countries use OpenBazaar and users are allowed to customize their online stores. Interested buyers can purchase clothes, art, jewelry, music, games, videos, international goods, short-term housing rentals,and much more. Of course, it will take some time for OpenBazaar to reach the heights of the big e-commerce platforms, but given the features it offers, it may not take too long.
Factom provides blockchain-based data management, validation, and verification solutions. Using Factom, individuals, corporations, and government organizations can secure their data and documents in a tamper-proof environment. Whenever documents are sharedwith a third-party, they bear Factom’s guarantee of legitimacy.
In 2016, the Department of Homeland Security gave Factom a contract worth $199,000 to secure data collected by the division’s IoT devices. Two years later, they awarded the company an extra $192,000 for the final phase of the project.
As impressive as these projects seem, it is important to note that they are still young businesses.With time, they are bound to become further developed with stronger user adoption. . Furthermore, many of the services they provide are designed for anyone, not just blockchain enthusiasts. Anyone can take advantage of, OpenBazaar’s marketplace, Brave’s browser, or Steemit’s social media, for example.