Top 5 Cryptocurrency Projects With The Highest Selling ICOs: Where Are They Now?

Oct 29, 2021 04:01 PM ET
Top 5 Cryptocurrency Projects With The Highest Selling ICOs: Where Are They Now?

To paraphrase the African proverb, if you want to go far, go together. Cryptocurrency developers have long appreciated the concept of leveraging other people’s monetary resources to launch their complex financial products through crowdfunding.

They achieve this premise through ICOs or initial coin offerings, the loose equivalent of stock initial public offerings (IPOs). An ICO is a crowdfunded (but may, at times, be private) token sale for launching a new cryptocurrency.

Billions have been invested in initial coin offerings, with some token sales concluding in several hours despite not having a live functioning product yet. ICOs have underpinned many popular cryptocurrencies existing today, like Ethereum, which raised about $2.3 million in 12 hours with its 2014 token sale. 

Brave’s Basic Attention Token reportedly did roughly $35 million in less than 30 seconds. The amount of money generated has grown exponentially, reaching tens and hundreds of millions in 2017 and even billions in 2018.

You may be wondering which cryptocurrencies lived up to the hype and which ones were duds after their token sales. Let’s start the countdown of the top 5 most successful ICOs of all time in cryptocurrencies.

#5: HDAC ($258 million ICO)


HDAC’s home page

Hyundai is no stranger to innovation as one of the largest globally in the automotive manufacturing field. The brand subsidiary, the Hyundai Digital Asset Company (HDAC), held a successful $258 million ICO in December 2017. 

HDAC’s purpose is for a Tendermint-based blockchain ecosystem incorporating distributed ledgers, IoT (internet of things), cloud, big data, and other digital services. The venture still exists today but isn’t where most would have expected it to be.

CoinMarketCap’s current ranking for HDAC (#3141) may suggest to many this project didn’t live up to the hype. 

Although nowhere near the expected heights based on its multi-million dollar ICO, HDAC reached an all-time high price of $0.16 just recently in September 2021. It’s presently worth $0.072. Therefore, it may not yet be time to write this venture off.

#4: Dragon Coin ($320 million ICO)

Dragon Coin’s home page

The Dragon Coin (DRG) held the record for the highest-selling ICO at the time (until EOS overtook it), with a token sale of $320 million in March 2018. This cryptocurrency was launched by Dragon Inc., a Macau-based blockchain provider. 

DRG was targeted to the South East Asian online casino (demographic), essentially a gambling token. Unfortunately, Dragon Coin has been marred with controversy. For starters, the project was investigated by Cambridge Analytica. 

A New York Times article referenced links between DRG and an ill-famed Macanese triad boss named Wan Kuok-koi and other well-publicized shady partnerships. While it seems trading for DRG still exists (albeit with very few exchanges), its value is nowhere near what it was once initially. 

Presently, CoinMarketCap ranks DRG #1716 with a per-token value of $0.039, a far cry from its all-time high of $2.40 reached in March 2018. 

#3: TaTaTu ($575 million ICO)

TaTaTu’s home page

TaTaTu sadly failed to live up to the hype generated after its spectacular $575 million ICO in 2018, despite backing from several high-profile investment firms and teaming up with the famous Johnny Depp. 

The project initially touted itself as a blockchain-based Netflix but has essentially moved on. Founded by Italian-Canadian film producer Andrea Iervolino, the venture was marketed as a platform where users could stream movies and receive tokens (TTU) for doing so.

Technically, TaTaTu is still active today as a social media, entertainment, and e-commerce platform where some incentivization exists for sharing and liking content. However, there is little price and chart information on TTU, and the app only has around 50 000 downloads on the Google Play Store.

#2: Telegram Open Network ($1.7 billion ICO)

TON’s home page


Telegram is one of the world’s most popular instant messaging apps. Yet, it is one of the few messengers with no clear monetization strategy, and the Russian-born founding brothers emphasized long ago they wouldn’t include any ads. 

When the prospect of generating profit was necessary to cover operational costs, the co-creators decided to launch The Open Network (TON) with its native utility token, GRAM. 

The project was highly ambitious, aiming to mesh the worlds of cryptocurrencies and messaging. Using Telegram’s massive user base, the 23-page whitepaper released in January 2018 elaborately described TON as a platform for dApps and even an alternative to the mainstream payment processing services.

TON’s initial coin offering ran over two rounds totaling a reported $1.7 billion in the process. Unfortunately, in October 2019, just a few weeks before the cryptocurrency was scheduled for live trading, the SEC (Securities Exchange Commission) pulled the plug on the project over legal issues. 

Despite numerous resuscitation attempts, Telegram announced in May 2020 GRAM wasn’t going to launch anymore. Soon after, the SEC requested the developing team to refund the $1.7 billion and pay an $18.5 million fine.

#1: EOS ($4.4 billion ICO)

EOS’ home page

To date, EOS holds the record for the largest initial coin offering in history. The astounding $4.4 billion it raised occurred over a period close to a year starting from June 2017. 

The project was hyped by numerous industry heavyweights and even billionaire hedge fund managers like Louis Bacon. EOS’ whitepaper was published on Github in May 2017, with the official cryptocurrency going live in June 2018. 

The multi-billion dollar ICO is unprecedented, even by today’s standards. Years later, the research discovered foul play through investor ‘wash trading,’ although the developing company behind EOS,, has not been implicated.

EOS was one of the first cryptocurrencies billed as an ‘Ethereum killer,’ a blockchain for developing decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. 

EOS differs from its predecessor in employing a delegated proof of stake model, allowing for incredibly scalable transaction confirmation, a friendly carbon footprint, and practically no fees. 

Fortunately, EOS is still prevalent in the industry. CoinMarketCap had listed EOS among the top 20 most traded cryptocurrencies for the first few months of January 2021. Now, it presently sits in the 42nd position with a value of $4.88.

Final word

Investors need to be incredibly knowledgeable with ICOs, considering the murky, anonymous, and largely unregulated environment of digital currencies. 

Therefore, one needs a high degree of attentiveness and perform thorough due diligence accounting for every aspect when offered an opportunity to invest in ICOs. 

There hasn’t been a boom in such offerings since 2018, though these events still happen frequently. Who knows, another unicorn like EOS may be lurking in the pipeline.



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