An initial coin offering (ICO) is usually a very effective method used by new cryptocurrency projects to raise funds for their development. The idea is that the project sells off their underlying crypto tokens in exchange for Bitcoin or Ether. It can be compared to an initial public offering where investors pay money in exchange for a share of the company.

Although a relatively new idea, so far ICOs have quickly become a hot topic in the cryptocurrency community, with many successful ICO’s being used to raise funds for new projects. Some people believe that they are a great and innovative way to help new projects, whereas others often argue that they are unregulated securities that allow for the project’s founders to raise an unjustified amount of capital.

Whether people love them or hate them, they are continually used in the cryptocurrency community, so let’s take a look at some of the most successful to date.


NEO is often known as China’s Ethereum, as like Ethereum it uses smart contracts, but has also gone one step further. It has the additional feature of decentralized commerce, identification, and digitalized assets.

The NEO ICO was extremely successful, and this could be due to the big names that it has backing it, which includes companies such as Microsoft, Alibaba, and the Chinese government.

The NEO token started out as a price of $0.032, and has had an all time high of $180, and is taking the cryptocurrency industry by storm. NEO also has many practical applications, and has the ability to combine digital assets with smart contracts.

Its first ICO was in October 2015, and since then it has raised $550,000, it then had another ICO in September 2016 which was much more successful, raising $4.5 million!


Ethereum is likely to be the second most well known cryptocurrency after Bitcoin. In reality, it can offer a whole lot more. It uses ledger technology that can be used to build decentralized applications, which is also often referred to as smart contracts.

Ethereum was created by young entrepreneur Vitalik Buterin and has gone from strength to strength since its creation. The cryptocurrency has been enjoying a great amount of success from its ICO back in 2014, when reports it managed to raise as much as $2.3 million. Its success greatly stems from the fact that the technology can be applied to a rage of different industries, taking their problems and inefficiencies, and digitalising them to make them more streamlined.


Users of Lisk have the ability to create apps using the technology, complete with JavaScript, and operate them on sidechains. Another great thing about Lisk is the fact that it has some support from some powerful backers, including some of those that are also backing Ethereum. Therefore, since its ICO it has grown in size considerably.

The Lisk ICO officially ended on March 21st in 2016 and it was extremely successful in the four weeks that it ran. It finished with a total of 14,009 BTC and 80 million XCR exchanged.

Not only did it finish with considerable funds to help with its growth, but it also developed a burgeoning community, which was already a very powerful achievement.


Ark is an extremely quick platform that it is designed to integrate cryptocurrencies into its own blockchain and already is extremely popular in the digital world thanks to the fact that it is known for bridging different cryptocurrencies together.

ARK is a fork of the Lisk cryptocurrency, and is intended for broad consumer adoption. It is basically a faster moving and more friendly version of Lisk, so it is hardly surprising it is so popular when you take a look at how Lisk performed in its ICO.

When the ARK ICO ended, the total raised was at an impressive 1,279.67 BTC which at the time was worth an incredible $998,000. Although this was below the project’s target, it was still a lot of funds that could definitely help with its development.


This token has managed to make a big name for itself by not only using blockchain technology, but also the internet of things and has combined elements of each. It stands out from some of the other major cryptocurrencies because of the fact that it doesn’t conduct its transfers using the full blockchain, but instead uses a platform known as Tangle.

This method works well for the project as it means that it doesn’t have to deal with issues such as scalability that other digital currencies have to contend with. Plus, participants don’t need to receive fees in order to verify transactions.

This project’s initial coin offering took place in 2015, and managed to raise $400,000, and in the process sold all of the 1 billion IOTA tokens that it had on offer.

Future business are able to take as many lessons away from the successful ICOs as the unsuccessful ones. The key is to be able to boast something innovative, unique, and valuable to potential investors in order to bring them in, as investor support is key to a successful ICO.

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