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Beyond the hype: 5 ICOs that have actually delivered

While it is arguably true that irrational exuberance in the ICO market led to the funding of a wide range of mediocre, underperforming projects, there have also been ICO-funded ventures that have delivered on their promise of innovative new technology that has never been seen before.

A brief glance at crypto asset price charts presents a grim image of ICO tokens and their performance in the past twelve months. The altcoin market is down – on average – over 90 percent since its all-time high in January. As a result, many blockchain projects that came into being on the back of a successful ICO have started to receive a bad name. But a drop in price doesn’t necessarily equate to a failed project, and the following initiatives have all delivered on their promises, despite the bear market.

0x Protocol

Ethereum-based 0x Protocol held an ICO in August 2017, and raised $24 million for the development of its decentralized exchange protocol. Powered by the ZRX token, 0x "enables the peer-to-peer exchange of assets on the Ethereum blockchain."

However, the protocol is not a decentralized exchange itself. Instead, 0x provides the infrastructure on which developers can build DEX solutions.

0x protocol aimed to "create a tokenized world where all value can flow freely," according to its mission statement, and to fulfill this vision the project is providing a platform on which developers can create off-chain relay trading solutions that enable high-speed, zero-fee token conversions as they do not rely on the Ethereum blockchain to process transactions, unlike established DEX solutions for Ethereum tokens.

Since launch, eight decentralized exchanges have been built on the 0x protocol, including Paradex, which was bought by Coinbase back in May. Unsurprisingly, 0x’s ZRX token has performed well since its launch. Its ROI since ICO currently stands at 470 percent, despite being down over 85 percent since its all-time high of $2.53 from mid-January.


When investors bought Binance Coin during the Binance ICO in July 2017, most token sale participants probably did not expect to see this start-up bitcoin trading platform become one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world. However, that is exactly what occurred within less than a year of Binance’s comparatively modest $15 million ICO.

The Malta-based exchange with Chinese roots was launched in the summer of 2017 and has quickly grown to become one of the largest bitcoin and altcoin exchanges by trading volume. Today, Binance is considered one of the go-to crypto-to-crypto trading platforms for intermediate and advanced traders. Moreover, the exchange’s profitability which is estimated at over one billion dollars in its first year of business, has enabled it to make strategic acquisitions as well as develop its own blockchain solutions.

Binance Coin (BNB) hit its all-time high when it traded at $24.71 in mid-January. Since then, its value has dropped by almost 80 percent to around $5.00. However, the BNB token has still been one of the best performing digital assets relative to its peers in 2018 and it has generated an ROI of over 3,000 percent for its early investors.


Ethereum is the project that ushered in the blockchain 2.0 era and is, therefore, one of the most innovative and revolutionary blockchain projects to date. Envisioned by Vitalik Buterin in 2013 and founded through a successful $18 million token sale in mid-2014, the Ethereum network went live on July 30, 2015.

The Ethereum network enables the creation of smart contracts and, as a result, has breathed life into the decentralized economy of the future, that will be powered by smart contract technology and cryptocurrency.

In the three and a half years of Ethereum, over 1,300 decentralized applications (DApps) have gone live on the network, billions have been raised through Ethereum-based token sales, and Ethereum has reportedly overtaken the Bitcoin network in the number of users, measured by active wallet addresses.

Ethereum’s token, ether (ETH), has generated an impressive ROI of over 27,000 percent since its initial token sale. In mid-January, when ETH hit its all-time high of over $1,420, early investors saw their investment increase by a whopping 450,000 percent before the token fell victim to the 2018 bear market and dropped significantly to trade at around $93 today.

Despite the criticism Ethereum has been receiving throughout 2018 in regards to its scalability challenges, it remains the pioneer of blockchain 2.0 and still has one of the biggest developer communities and highest adoption rates among all cryptocurrency projects.


Often referred to as the "Chinese Ethereum," NEO is one of the most promising second-wave blockchain 2.0 projects in the market today.

Formerly known as AntShares, NEO is well-positioned in one of the biggest blockchain markets and soon-to-be largest economy in the world after raising around $5 million during its two token sales, held in October 2015 and September 2016.

NEO refers to itself as a "non-profit community-driven blockchain project that utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets and automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts to create a "Smart Economy".

Since NEO went live, over 25 token sales have been launched on the NEO platform, mainly from Asia-based blockchain ventures. Moreover, NEO has managed to attract a substantial developer community across the world, which acts as a testament to the blockchain community’s belief in the promising future of this platform.

NEO‘s token has generated an ROI of over 17,700 percent for early investors, and despite a steep drop in value in 2018, remains one of the top five best performing digital assets of all time.


The** **Waves platform, founded by Russian physicist Sasha Ivanov, raised $16 million in a successful token sale during April and May 2016.

Waves provides "solutions for storing, trading, managing and issuing your digital assets, easily and securely," using blockchain technology. Aside from its decentralized exchange, the main function of the Waves platform is to provide users with the ability to easily create tradable digital assets on top of the Waves blockchain without the need for complex smart contract deployment.

From April 2016 to March 2018, over 200 projects used or planned to use the Waves platform to issue digital assets, according to an analysis conducted by Waves, which highlights its high degree of adoption among digital asset issuers.

As a result of its pioneering technology as a digital asset issuance platform, WAVES has become one of the best performing blockchain assets in the market. Since its ICO, the WAVES token has generated an ROI of 1,150 percent, putting it in the top ten most profitable ICO tokens in history.

The five above-mentioned platforms have proven to the market that blockchain projects are not all "Fugazi" and that disruptive innovations with real-world applications are successfully being realized in this young, unorthodox industry.


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