History of ICOs
Mastercoin held the first token sale (also known as an ICO) in July 2013, the fundraising event ran for almost one month and raised close to 5,000 bitcoins (around $5000 at the time). Ethereum raised money with a token sale in 2014, raising 3,700 BTC in its first 12 hours, equal to approximately $2.3 million at the time. In 2016 alone, 54 major ICOs raised close to $103 million, with ICONOMI ($10 million) and SingularDTV ($7.5 million)being the front-runners.
2017 was a break-out year for ICOs. At least 18 websites were tracking ICOs before mid-year. In May, the ICO for a new web browser called Brave generated about $35 million in under 30 seconds. By the beginning of October 2017, ICO coin sales totaling a combined $2.3 billion had been conducted during the year, this is more than ten times more than in all of 2016. Around 50 ICO’s happened in November 2017.
The highest-grossing ICO as of January 2018, being Filecoin raising $257 million, with $200 million of that raised within the first hour of their token sale. Two notable runner-up’s for most raised for an ICO in 2017. Tezos Raised $230 million, while Bancor raised $153 million
According to industry newsletter Cointelegraph, companies raised around $6 billion via ICOs in 2017; only 20 ICOs made 37% of that amount.
Ethereum is the front-runner Blockchain platform for ICO startups, with more than 80% of the market share. In most cases, ICO tokens are based on the standard Ethereum ERC20 coin.