Since its inception, the Ethereum project has sparked a surge of interest from developers, enthusiasts, and entrepreneurs. The market has been flooded with innovation in the form of projects that are funded through a new venture capital model called an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). An ICO is essentially a combination of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) and Crowdfunding, in that it enables a company to offer backers the chance to choose to invest in the companies’ projects using traditional fiat currency or a cryptocurrency. Investments often function as shares of a company and allow for investors to influence project dynamics. A handful of Ethereum ICO crowdsales have received millions of dollars in funding and have generated a lot of buzz. 2016 has proven to be a very big year for ICOs and their subsequent projects. This is an ICO 2016 year-in-review.
Ethereum DAO (Now defunct.)
The first (and now defunct) Ethereum DAO was a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) that functioned as a set of contracts that reside on the Ethereum blockchain.
It worked as a completely transparent platform with no physical address and no formal management. This was to discourage misuse of investor funds by bad actors. The DAO operated as a hub that disperses Ether to potential projects. DAO investors would receive voting rights by means of the digital currency that’s used to determine the agenda of the organizations and which projects would get funded, following a voting period. Contributors were given the chance to receive potential dividends, including the currency, Ether.
Start: April 30th, 2016
End: May 28th, 2016
Raised: $150 million
ICONOMI is an Open Fund Management (OFM) platform that aims to disrupt the fund management industry by allowing investors to buy, sell, and make high profits. The fund management platform promises to revolutionize the investment industry by creating a new financial services category for the imminent decentralized economy.
Start: September 28th, 2016
End: September 29th, 2016
Raised: $10.1 million
SingularDTV is a blockchain entertainment studio platform for video-on-demand and smart contract rights management. SingularDTV seeks to disrupt the mainstream media market companies like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu by allowing content creators to post content without having to pay for excessive fees.
Start: October 2nd, 2016
End: October 2nd, 2016
Raised: $7.5 million
Touted as the supercomputer, Golem connects computers in a peer-to-peer network and enables users to rent computational resources from suppliers. Providers are monetized for their resources by Golem’s Ethereum-based transaction system which allows for direct payments between both parties involved. Golem is a promoter for both Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
Start: November 11th, 2016
End: November 11th, 2016
Raised: $9 million
FirstBlood is a decentralized eSports platform based on Ethereum smart contracts that allow eSports fanatics to compete in one-on-one, and team-vs-team matches for preexisting popular online games, such as League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
Start: September 26th, 2016
End: October 23rd, 2016
Raised: $6 million
Digix Global is a Singapore-based platform for trading gold-backed tokens on the Ethereum blockchain. Digix stores physical gold for each token issued on Ethereum by implementing fees for the storage of gold starting at 0.39 percent per annum, similar to Gold ETFs.
Start: March 29th, 2016
End: March 29th, 2016
Raised: $5.5 million
Chronobank is a platform for people to buy and sell their labor in a decentralized manner. Chronobank wants to revolutionize the way people locate jobs and how they are compensated for their work. The National Labour-Hour (LH) time tokens will be exchanged in LaborX, a decentralized exchange where Chronobank’s token cryptocurrency is accepted.
Start: December 15th, 2016
End: February 15th, 2017
Raised: At the time of this writing, $2.2 million
VDice is an Ethereum-based blockchain gambling platform. Considered a fully decentralized gambling system for the programmable peer-to-peer network, VDice eliminates the possibility of third-party involvement and the threat of compromised accounts. VDice aims to establish itself as the future of gambling in a permissionless and trustless online world.
Start: November 15th, 2016
End: December 15th, 2016
Raised: $1.5 million
KIBO is a decentralized blockchain and Ethereum smart contract-based lottery, built on the Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) model. Ethereum smart contracts implement and manage processes such as ticket purchases, random number generations, prize payouts, and accruals on the distributed network.
Start: January 10th, 2016
End: November 11th, 2016
Also known as, hack.ether.camp, the Virtual Accelerator is a platform that allows for the promotion, testing, and funding of Ethereum-based projects. The online event ran for nine weeks. Teams of developers were given a chance to collaborate on ideas to create a working prototype. The platform also serves as an opportunity for those teams to attract investors for their projects.
Start: October 20th, 2016
End: December 21st, 2016
Arcade city is a decentralized ride-sharing app for peer-to-peer service providers and consumers. Its initial plans were to disrupt just the ridesharing industry; however, the company now plans to disrupt both the peer-to-peer distribution services and short-term home rental industries.
Start: November 1st, 2016
End: November 29th, 2016
BlockCDN allows for sharers to provide the hardware structure to the “demanders” of network resources. BlockCDN is a blockchain enabled Content Distribution Network (CDN) that offers an online marketplace where bandwidth sharers’ crowdsource their bandwidth to network demanders at more competitive rates than traditional bandwidth providers.
Start: November 28th, 2016
End: December 26th, 2016
Raised: As of this writing, $125,790.39
Beyond the Void is a competitive, real-time strategic game, with multiplayer online battle arena elements. Players engage in one-on-one battles against other players. Beyond the Void also gives players the ability to have true ownership over game items by allowing for the buying and trading of in-game assets.
Start: January 11th, 2016
End: November 30th, 2016
Passflix allows for users to send parcels, buy items without barriers, and travel inexpensively. These actions are performed using self-executing Ethereum smart contracts on the blockchain to ensure processes are transparent. Passflix hopes to revolutionize the Internet of Things (IoT) in areas such as luggage, postage, and disputes between physical and digital assets.
Start: December 2nd, 2016
End: December 31st, 2016
Raised: As of this writing, $42,704.86
Branche is an Ethereum-backed mobile app that gives users access to formal financial services like check cashing and payday loans at rates lower than the current industry standards. Ethereum smart contracts process Branche Loyalty Tokens (BLT) as an approved payment for these financial services. Branche hopes to disrupt basic financial services by offering a simplified and rationalized system that will spur growth and promote collaboration within local communities.
Start: December 5th, 2016
End: January 2nd, 2017
Raised: As of this writing, $5,757.59
Looking into 2017, it looks as if ICOs will continue to thrive as new Ethereum projects are heralded in. With the surge of ICOs this past year, regulation will also begin to take precedence since there haven’t been any established guidelines. As it stands now, anyone with a whitepaper, website, marketing scheme, and idea, can lure investors with hot innovations. Unfortunately, this creates opportunities for scams which can depreciate the Ethereum brand as a whole. Adoption of ICO regulation standards would assure investors that they’re investing in a legitimate company with verified credentials. Analysts estimate that the blockchain technology market is projected to grow 61 percent by 2021 and Ether remains one of the leading cryptocurrencies on the market. Its maturation depends heavily on directive standards. In order to spur growth, future investors will need to be assured that they’re making investments into worthwhile ventures. This will instill confidence in not only Ethereum-based projects but the blockchain as a whole.
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