Stunning Visualization Of The Explosion Of ICO Activity In The Last Four Years


This graphic shows every token sale that successfully raised at least $100k, from the beginning of 2014 through the end of last month, November 2017. The bar chart at the bottom displays the total dollar amount raised in each month (details below).

How big is the ICO (aka token sale) market really?

It seems like this should be an easy question to answer. After all, blockchains are open data layers that contain a complete record of every transaction ever made. However, we've found the answer to this question to be surprisingly elusive.

We surveyed the web for data on token sales and turned up over 100 ICO listing sites. Estimates on the total dollar amount that has been raised via ICOs to date range from about $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion.

Why such a big discrepancy?

As far as we can tell, all of these estimates rely strictly on reported figures -- either by the ICO issuer itself or by another third party. There is nothing wrong with this approach. Many data providers in the financial world collect their information this way. However, why rely strictly on reported figures when the actual transactions are available directly from the blockchain?

We decided to estimate the size of the ICO market ourselves by going directly to the source.

The figures in this post are based on our own deep dive into the Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchains. We searched for every token, crowdsale, and multisig wallet we could find. We then identified the corresponding owners and added up the total amount of contributed funds -- taken either from the blockchain itself or as reported by the fundraiser.

In total, we estimate about $6.4 billion has been raised via ICOs to date - materially larger than what is being reported elsewhere.

Perhaps more surprising than the fundraising total is the trend over time. The ICO market is not dying down, as many have reported. It's still growing.

The rise and rise of ICOs

This chart is a labeled version of the one at the top of the post. It shows the ICO fundraising amounts by month.

Contrary to the commonly heard narrative that the ICO party is coming to an end, ICO fundraising in November was only slightly off its high point the month before.

The current run rate of over $1.3bn per month surpasses traditional early stage fundraising by a multiple. Angel and seed-stage VC investments were running at less than $300 million per month as of July (Goldman Sachs via CNBC).

The trend is even more stark when you look at the total count of ICOs that closed each month (minimum raise of $100k).

By this measure, the token sale market is not only still going strong. It's accelerating!

November set a new record for number of closed token sales with 148, an increase of 36 compared to the month before.

We view this metric, the number of token sales, as a better gauge of market activity than the fundraising total. The total dollar amount raised is not only susceptible to fluctuations in crypto exchange rates, it may also be driven by just a handful of outliers, rather than the true underlying trend. For example, just two ICOs (Tezos and EOS, which raised $236m and $200m respectively) account for nearly half of July’s total fundraising.

The number of ICOs completed each month shows a much clearer trend, and one that shows no sign of slowing down.

ICO bubbles

To play around with the graphic yourself, click here to view the interactive bubble chart.


  • ICOs have closed over $6.3bn of fundraising to date.
  • Contrary to widespread perception, the ICO market is still growing.
  • Total fundraising in November was down slightly from its high point in October ($1.38bn vs $1.39bn).
  • November set the record for number of ICOs that closed with 148.


Herp and Derp Sabibaby Sun, 12/17/2017 - 05:01 Permalink

Actually there was a scam ICO called Eros.  They took a ton of money and disappeared.  It is weird, because the concept was stupid as a legal or even illegal functioning business (marketplace of prostitution) but it would have been nothing more than using Open Bazaar with a purple theme and some website how-tos for pros to use it.This is the problem that I am sure many people are facing, there is a new way to get money and fast for a business idea -1. Work hard, grow slow, make a legitimate company for yourself and employees making customers happy2. Promise and lie hard (hustling) till a big investor get suckered, grow company and technology, keep the pyramid scam running through VC rounds, optionally make a product/business whether profitable or not, cash out at IPO either way.3. Spend two maybe three hours on a website and 'white paper' on a flimsy blockchain technology concept or (regular business idea + blockchain). Post a wallet address or copy smart contract template for 'token' currency.  Announce on reddit, get 10mil (100mil if dumb celeb in on it) in a week.  Then your choice is either spend months/years working to grow a possible business no where near that value OR just turn the lights off and buy a fleet of Ferraris.

In reply to by Sabibaby

honestann Sat, 12/16/2017 - 23:03 Permalink

If anyone watches this and doesn't think Tulip Mania... they're not paying attention (and/or captured by the desire to get rich quick).Make no mistake, cryptos are a mania precisely because some people are getting rich quick.  When that reverses, the mania will reverse == collapse.

MadHatt Jibe Ho Sat, 12/16/2017 - 23:32 Permalink

How can it be a con? A lot can be picked up for free.A bunch are accepted for payments for PM'sAlmost all of the can be converted into BTC, which, almost every online seller of gold and silver accepts.  //editSure, like all things, some are garbage, and it takes some research to figure it out.But, that was always the case.

In reply to by Jibe Ho

adr MadHatt Sun, 12/17/2017 - 00:13 Permalink

If you do actually research these things, they make garbage look like a chip fab clean room.Blockchain coupons? Is that something we really need?It seems like you find an industry and say, "Total sales for industry X are $150 billion, a capture of 1% of that market run through our blockchain app would yield a coin value of $350." Then they set an ICO of $.25 making it seem like they are massively underpricing their coin in the context of the "possible" market.

In reply to by MadHatt

MadHatt adr Sun, 12/17/2017 - 00:24 Permalink

When I research things, I find the team members involved, I find where they worked, look up their backgrounds, criminal records.Then I read the white paper, look over the source code, their websites, check out the exchanges its listed on.There are massive differences between each coin... Comparing something like OneCoin, or TheBillionCoin to Ethereum or Bitcoin is nonsense for example.If the research is just following money taken in, then it's as good as investing in Enron.

In reply to by adr

greenskeeper carl MadHatt Sun, 12/17/2017 - 00:49 Permalink

Most of it is definitely bullshit, but every now and then one of them blows up. The guy I know follows all those pump and dumpers on the messaging apps. Pretty sure he loses a little money on most of these things, but enough of them skyrocket briefly that he comes out ahead. More of a hobby than anything. I don't see how the regulators in various countries will let these scam coind and ICOs go on much longer. Only governments and central banks are allowed to run that kind of thing.

In reply to by MadHatt

MadHatt greenskeeper carl Sun, 12/17/2017 - 01:11 Permalink

Trying to play with pump and dump is a terrible idea. The people who signal buys and sells, are already in or out of the market when they tell others what they want to see happen. But, that's just what I think.I dont see how a regulator can stop a decentralized system. Government and central banks cannot tell me what I can or cannot accept as payments.

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

SoilMyselfRotten MadHatt Sun, 12/17/2017 - 08:13 Permalink

Honestann, im not so convinced its tulips. When looking at this from a different angle, which i am guilty of, these coins/tokens attracting all this money are actually companies poised to capitalize when we transition to less cash transactions. This revolution in technology is here and its implementation is already occuring real time. So to me, this is the dotcom boom early on and holding these well positioined companies are like holding Microsoft, Apple etc., IPOs, and we know how that turned out. So when i hear bubble, just because BTC hit, now $20K, i think  its absurd. If im right and we adopt this blockchain tech in the future, the prices of everything now considered bubblelike are still relatively dirt cheap. Full disclosure, i threw $4K at the alt market 4-5 months ago that is an 11 bagger now. I could be consdered greedy for not taking profits but considering my stated opinion, it could just be getting started.

In reply to by MadHatt

Buckaroo Banzai honestann Sun, 12/17/2017 - 00:47 Permalink

"Make no mistake, cryptos are a mania precisely because some people are getting rich quick.  When that reverses, the mania will reverse == collapse."Maybe, maybe not. The traditional IPO, venture capital, and angel capital funding models have a pretty pathetic track record at actually funding innovation, but an outstanding track record of turning "trusted intermediaries" into millionaires and billionaires.When you consider that ICOs are doing the same thing to the funding space that cryptocurrencies are doing to the financial space--i.e., stripping huge amounts of waste, fraud, and abuse out of the transactions-- it just makes sense that they would be growing at the rate they are.

In reply to by honestann

honestann Buckaroo Banzai Sun, 12/17/2017 - 02:44 Permalink

What would be really great would be if the blockchain technology (and so much time and effort that's being invested in ICO thingies) was diverted into funding new science, engineering, technology and invention that can't get diddley-squat funding.  But instead, the people getting rich are... as you note... a bunch of intermediaries and lucky people who just happen to roll the dice at the right time.The main (one of many) problem with crypto-currencies is... they are just as fiat, fake, fraud, fiction, fantasy as conventional fiat currencies.  Before this week at least the crypto-currencies were not also fractional-reserve, but now that futures, options and various derivatives on them exist, it isn't a whole lot different.I agree that a 2% or 3% charge to buy with a credit-card is a monumental ripoff.  I do.  However, crypto-currencies are not a great solution.Here is one reason.  When you purchase via credit-card, if the seller doesn't ship the purchased item to you, the credit-card company will refund your money and stop accepting transactions with the seller entity (and also perhaps chase after the creeps).  Similar if the item is broken, non-functional or significantly different than represented in the marketing material.That's still not worth as much as 2% to 3%... but that's not the point.  The point is, when you "buy" with crypto-currencies, you are screwed if you never receive what you purchased, or the item is broken, or the item is nothing like what was promised.  That is an inherent consequence of buying remote with no intermediary.The only effective solution is... to buy in person, where you can see, touch, handle, examine, even test what you are about to buy.  But if you're doing business in person, you can also pay with precious metals and the entire transaction can be equally or more private and anonymous than crypto-currencies.To me, the practical advantages of crypto-currencies don't exist for the reasons I stated above (and a few other less extreme issues).  I probably am missing a few cases that really are better served by crypto-currencies, but they certainly aren't the mainstream application of the technology.If all else fails, the predators-that-be will not allow crypto-currencies to cut them out of the world-controlling scam they have going now.  And no, the government doesn't need to shut down the internet.  They merely need too make all forms of encryption illegal... except the one they freely provide to everyone (which has a back-door, of course, so they can decrypt everything effortlessly).  This is trivial to implement too, since essentially 100% of the ethernet packets that carry data across the internet pass through one or two dozen "super-nodes" (forwarding servers) that route the packets to their destination.  The predators-that-be already control those super-nodes, so adding a tiny bit of code to reject packets that contain ANY other form of encryption is quite trivial.  I could make the whole change myself in two or three months of work.

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

FakeNewsBandit honestann Sun, 12/17/2017 - 04:41 Permalink

<What would be really great would be if the blockchain technology (and so much time and effort that's being invested in ICO thingies) was diverted into funding new science, engineering, technology and inventionThis is new science, technology and invention. You don't understand that the blockchain is for much more than just currencies.<The main (one of many) problem with crypto-currencies is... they are just as fiat, fake, fraud, fiction, fantasy as conventional fiat currencies. Wrong. I don't think you understand what fiat means. <When you purchase via credit-card, if the seller doesn't ship the purchased item to you, the credit-card company will refund your money and stop accepting transactions with the seller entityThis can be done easily with a decentralised cryptocurrency and an escrow service (can also be done in a decentralised manner), so your point is moot. edit- also, this ability for credit card issuers to refund money as you say, results in fraud to the tune of billions of dollars.<equally or more private and anonymous than crypto-currencies.False.<make all forms of encryption illegalLOL this is where you lost me, but then I came back to laugh at this:<I could make the whole change myself in two or three months of work. 

In reply to by honestann

honestann FakeNewsBandit Sun, 12/17/2017 - 05:06 Permalink

What, so nobody has spend time inventing more ICO and other crypto-nonsense?  Oh, they have?  So there you go... they could have been doing something more novel and... perish the thought... productive.I know what fiat means.  It means "it has value simply because someone claimed so" (instead of having intrinsic value, for example).  Just because the entity that declared Bitcon has value may not be a government or central bank, doesn't mean it wasn't just claimed to be so (rather than have real intrinsic value).Yes, I'm sure such an alternate escrow service could be created.  So far though, I'm not aware of any.  Are you?  Please specify.  And until a really good and reliable one does exist, that's a huge negative for crypto-currencies... a negative that greatly favors scam artists.You think that's funny?  There have already been bills in congress to make unapproved forms of cryptography illegal on the internet (but so far, only on the internet).The whole "get rich quick" urge sure does drive a lot of people nuts... just as it did with Tulips many years ago.

In reply to by FakeNewsBandit

FakeNewsBandit honestann Sun, 12/17/2017 - 05:37 Permalink

crypto-nonsense? Your bias is overwhelming. Google crpyotcurrency escrow, im sure you'll find some. We are still in the early stages of blockchain development, later on we will have trustless decentralised escrow.Can you provide some decent links for congress trying to make unapproved forms of cryptography illegal? And how exactly would they enforce that? Not trying to be a dick, im genuinely curious.The tulip analogy doesn't work, as has been stated here several times. You are comparing apples to oranges

In reply to by honestann

FakeNewsBandit Yellow_Snow Sun, 12/17/2017 - 07:27 Permalink

I think most of the fud and bs comes from the pain of missing out. Most of the nocoiners around here have been following bitcoin for years and missed every oppurtunity to make money on it, at this point they are praying it all collapses just so they save face. They have no interest in understanding the technology, they just want to be able to say "see, i told you it was a bubble", they are like cheerleaders for the banking system they pretend to despise.

In reply to by Yellow_Snow

honestann FakeNewsBandit Sun, 12/17/2017 - 21:23 Permalink

Read my messages above.  I am the most pro-liberty, pro-privacy, pro-anonymity, pro-individualism, anti-bankster, anti-predator-that-be on planet earth.I am also someone who has invented, designed, developed and implemented CRC, ECC, hash and encryption software and hardware (electronics) in computer products over the past two decades.  So I know what this stuff is.Given that, please understand that my reason to warn people is precisely the opposite of what you seem to imagine.  I want to warn people how easily the predators-that-be can thwart most of the advantages of crypto-currency (and all applications of encryption) when transmitted over the internet.  The reason I reveal this fact is because so millions of messages on the internet FALSELY claim that the only way the predators-that-be can thwart crypto-currencies (and encryption for other purposes) is to shut down the entire internet.Sorry, but that is simply false.  And I explain why in several messages under this article.My agenda is NOT to thwart liberty, privacy, anonymity and individualism... but PRECISELY THE OPPOSITE.Just imagine the disaster that will occur, and the harm to liberty, privacy, anonymity and individualism that will happen when the predators-that-be trash the primary benefits to crypto-currencies!  My reason to point out the problem is to attempt to avoid the disaster.  Just imagine what a disaster it will be for VASTLY more reasons than just "currency" when the predators-that-be remove all effective forms of encryption from the internet (without shutting down the internet).  That will happen, and I know that will happen because that is how the predators-that-be work.  They have ZERO scruples and ZERO inhibitions.  They will do ANYTHING they possibly can to prevent others from stealing part of their hyper-scam (fiat, fake, fraud, fiction, fantasy, fractional-reserve ponzi-debt-bit theft).What would I like to see happen?  I'd like to find or invent an alternative that isn't so freaking easy for the predators-that-be to thwart, destroy or dominate.  I've thought about this myself, and some of my ideas work.  Unfortunately, they don't solve all the potential problems that can be implemented by predators-that-be, so a better scheme than what I have is required.  Hopefully someone else will figure one out.  Maybe I could, but I'm too busy on an even more important technology (vastly more important).It is a serious problem that crypto-currencies attempt to solve (and do solve to some extent for the moment).  But the danger is, they clearly won't work for much longer, and can be easily thwarted by the predators-that-be whenever they wish (with no more than 6 to 12 month delay to full worldwide implementation).  AND MOST IMPORTANTLY... the bigger and faster the current form of crypto-currencies grow before the predators-that-be step in, the more horrendous will be the damage to... guess who?  To people who... like me... care about liberty, privacy, anonymity, individualism.  Because obviously they are most of the people who feel drawn to crypto-currencies given the siren song so many well-meaning but deluded people are singing.This is why the Tulip Mania comparison is relevant.  Not because of the form of Tulips and Bitcon, but because both are manias.  But get this.  If Bitcon and the crypto-currencies did not have fatal flaws, then I would not care much about the wild, crazy, Tulip-Mania type behavior.  And the reason is, because they'd never crash back to earth and destroy so many good people.And that's fundamentally where you and I disagree.  You don't think good people will get hurt.  I know they will.

In reply to by FakeNewsBandit

honestann Spaced Out Sun, 12/17/2017 - 21:02 Permalink

Like everyone else, you miss the point.  They could eliminate them, but without a different scheme (which I described in various messages in this thread), they could not eliminate torrents and other privacy and anonymity schemes without also eliminating the ability for central banksters and monster corporations to spew their encrypted data across the internet.However, that can change very easily as I described.  I (and probably a thousand or more other talented programmers on the planet) can easily create a form of encryption that has a back-door for the predators-that-be.  Once they have that, all they need to do is give code for that specific encryption to everyone for free, and tell everyone that they will need to replace all encryption in ethernet packets with their "free" form of encryption within 6 or 12 months.Once that 6 or 12 months passes, they simply add a tiny bit of code to the dozen or two "super nodes" that route virtually all ethernet packets to their destinations.  All that code needs to do is recognize whether any portion of the content of each packet is something other than:  UTF8 plain text, a few dozen popular file formats (PDF, JPG, MPG, etc), or their form of encryption.  They need not recognize any other form of encryption or encoding, since they will reject/trash all ethernet packets that contain anything other than the approved file formats and their one encryption format.  Since they and their fellow predators at the central banks and government agencies will have a back-door key for their form of encryption, the predators-that-be will be able to efficiently decode all encrypted data.Now, exactly how much value do crypto-currencies have once the predators-that-be know the source, destination and contents of every bit of encrypted data in every ethernet packet that passes across the internet?Think a while before you answer.This doesn't mean crypto-currencies will cease to function.  This just means all privacy will be lost.  So yes, crypto-currencies could still operate as an alternative to the current predator-bankster-that-be schemes, and could cut prices, and maybe support some services the predators-that-be do not choose to offer.  But ALL will be in the open, and so the value of crypto-currencies will be drastically reduced.That's just a fact.Listen up.  I am the most pro-liberty, pro-privacy, pro-anonymity, pro-individualism human on planet earth.  That's a fact.  But I refuse to lie to myself, and I think anyone who prefers these positive aspects of human interaction should be VERY interested in creating a scheme that will work, knowing what will not work, and knowing what the predators-that-be can do to screw them up (both secretly and via in-your-face schemes like the problem I just described).EVERYONE who knows this stuff in detail AND is fully honest will tell you what I said is correct.  But a hysteria has gotten going and so people hide from the truth because THEY WISH these schemes are foolproof.  Well, they're not.  And anyone who is even a tiny bit honest with themselves MUST admit that the predators-that-be no longer have any scruples, or any pretense of scruples, or any restraint whatsoever.  They will do whatever they can do to get their way, to get their unearned wealth, and to enslave every human they can in every way they can.  Which is one reason some good people are so thrilled with crypto-currencies... because they believe the BS stories that "the predators-that-be cannot do anything whatsoever to stop, thwart, limit or devalue crypto-currencies".  THAT IS FALSE.

In reply to by Spaced Out

honestann kochevnik Sun, 12/17/2017 - 21:25 Permalink

All the forwarding nodes need to is recognize whether or not each ethernet packet that passes across the internet contains unrecognized encryption or not.  If the code in the forwarding nodes isn't sure, the packet will be rejected.  The software is trivial... all it need do is recognize whether each ethernet packet contains any encryption or other encoding that it doesn't recognize as "plain UTF8 text" or "approved file formats like PDF, JPG, MPG, etc" or "their own approved encryption" or "the central banksters private encryption".It is not true that everything can be hacked.  I'm a computer designer and systems software developer, so I'm not a moron you can fool by uttering empty assertions.  I invented CRC, ECC, hash and encryption implementations for system memory, disk controllers and network systems.  So while I haven't spend thousands of hours becoming 100% clear about every bit within the crypto-currency encryption schemes (and the software around them)... I know what encryption and these other forms of encoding, decoding and scramble are, and how they work.But let's just say you are some kind of god, and you can hack any hack.  Well, sorry, but 99.999999% of humans cannot hack any hack.  So in this fictional scenario you could live a very privileged life compared to the rest of the peons on the planet... but that's doesn't much help anyone but you.

In reply to by kochevnik

Buckaroo Banzai honestann Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:49 Permalink

"a bunch of intermediaries and lucky people who just happen to roll the dice at the right time."But you miss the point: there are no intermediaries, the ICO process is completely disintermediating. All funds go straight to the entrepreneurs. You might disagree that the opportunities that some of them represent are not viable opportunities, but at least there aren't any wall street or sand hill road douchebags sticking their noses into the transactions. And as far as your "lucky people" comment, that sounds kinda like Nocoiner tears, tbqhBTW I've always been a fan of you here in the comments section. You shouldn't kneejerk so hard and maybe take a closer look at what's going on here.

In reply to by honestann

Buckaroo Banzai Xena fobe Sun, 12/17/2017 - 13:43 Permalink

Intermediaries are welcome when they can add value within the new framework. When they cannot add value, they will be ruthlessly exposed. But the days of a small monopolistic class of intermediaries and (((nepotistic tribal intermediaries))) reaping huge monopoly rents in a corrupt, closed (((financial system))) are swiftly coming to a close.

In reply to by Xena fobe

honestann Buckaroo Banzai Sun, 12/17/2017 - 20:36 Permalink

You confuse the fact that transactions CAN happen without intermediaries with the reality that a great many transactions DO involve intermediaries.  And an enormous number of people have already been screwed by problems at intermediaries.I agree that it is POSSIBLE for some intermediaries to come into existence, and do a good job, and perhaps someday be so reliable (and so insured against fringe cases by fourth and fifth parties) that the problem is close to eliminated.  But it will never be fully eliminated.  Proof of that is the fact that people get screwed by intermediaries in the current system... see the $850,000 ripoff by banksters + UPS posted on this very day.I may have come across improperly about cryptography.  I have nothing whatsoever against cryptography.  Just the opposite.  In fact I invented a couple forms of cryptography many years ago when I was developing computer systems and networks that contained CRC, ECC, hash, cryptography.  And I'm the strongest advocate of privacy, security, anonymity and individualism on planet earth.So I may have been a bit careless in how I formulated my message, and gave the impression that I consider cryptography to be fraud or nonsense, but that is completely false.  What I was actually trying to point out is the fact that the predators-that-be can EASILY eliminate effective cryptography over the internet due to the way the internet is structured and packets routed.  That's not a gripe against cryptography, that's primarily a gripe against predators-that-be... but also a gripe against those who are pro-crypto-currencies and spew the lie that "the only way predators-that-be can stop crypto-currencies is shut down the internet, which they can't do because it would cause global economic collapse".  That's a lie.  Not only because the predators-that-be aren't beyond destroying the global economy (once they have their short positions in place), but because they can stop unapproved forms of encryption (meaning forms that they don't have a back-door into) from being routed to any destination on the internet (that's not on the same local area network == RJ45 jacks or local wireless).Sorry if my rant wasn't clear in this way, but the point should not be missed.  The predators-that-be can (and almost certainly will) trash all secure encryption over the internet within 5 to 10 years... and possibly within a year or three.

In reply to by Buckaroo Banzai

Buckaroo Banzai honestann Sun, 12/17/2017 - 11:54 Permalink

"That's still not worth as much as 2% to 3%... but that's not the point.  The point is, when you "buy" with crypto-currencies, you are screwed if you never receive what you purchased, or the item is broken, or the item is nothing like what was promised.  That is an inherent consequence of buying remote with no intermediary."Lots of ways to manage this risk without a monopolist like Visa/MC in the middle of the transaction. For example, smart-contract features are built into many modern cryptocoins, these could be used to involve third-party arbitration services. Get educated. We're still in the first inning of this ballgame.

In reply to by honestann

Yellow_Snow Sat, 12/16/2017 - 23:49 Permalink

Let's see how some top '$1,000 club contenders' are doing...DASH - $1,100   Whoa...ETH $725  (on track for $1,000 by Jan 2018)Monero -$345LTC - $325