Initial coin offerings (ICOs) became a popular crowdfunding model in 2017 - when cryptocurrency prices reached their all-time highs. Although most ICO projects have failed so far in being able to deliver working products and/or services and many have been outright scams, there are a few blockchain-based ICO initiatives that are developing promising platforms.
In this article, we’ll review some ICO projects that have been successful and could potentially help increase cryptocurrency adoption - as they are developing real-world use cases for many different industries and could assist in streamlining routine business processes.
Bancor: Converting "Automatically" Between Tokens
In June 2017, the Bancor ICO raised over $150 million in only 3 hours via its token sale - which was conducted on the Ethereum blockchain network. At that time, no other ICO had raised such a large amount of funds, and now just over a year later, Bancor has launched a decentralized exchange (DEX).
Bancor’s DEX allows users to convert between any two tokens (supported on its platform) - as the platform’s algorithm automatically calculates the conversion price of the transaction and the process does not require counterparties.
Instead of facilitating direct trades between buyers and sellers (which traditional crypto exchanges do), the Bancor network generates liquidity via smart contracts and then helps both parties execute the trade.
As of September 2018, the Bancor network was processing over $2 million worth of transactions every 24 hours. Moreover, many new ICO projects are planning to list their coins on Bancor’s platform - as they think it’s user-friendly and they also want to take advantage of its built-in liquidity.
NEO: More Functionality Than Ethereum
NEO aims to develop a blockchain-based platform that would allow physical and virtual assets to be digitally represented as tradable tokens. The NEO network is comparable to the Ethereum platform as it may also be used to develop decentralized applications (DApps). However, NEO’s blockchain also allows users to automatically manage tokens through smart contracts.
In the past year, there have been several legitimate ICO projects which have been developed and deployed on the NEO blockchain. These include the following projects:
- APEX: a provider of enterprise level, blockchain-based infrastructure - designed specifically to streamline “consumer internet and B2C interactions”; public token sale raised $25 million;
- AlphaCat: a NEO-based marketplace with “robo-advisors” focused on cryptoasset investments which has been developed by experienced Wall Street financial professionals and former members of Google’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) program; public/private token sale raised $48 million.
SingularityNET: Decentralized Marketplace For Artificial Intelligence
SingularityNET is a decentralized marketplace that “lets anyone create, share, and monetize AI services at scale.” Moreover, the platform is designed to create a “bridge between AI developers and business users.”The SingularityNET platform also allows entrepreneurs in the AI industry to affordably acquire the tools and data they may need to develop algorithms. When first launched, the creators of SingularityNET focused on three key areas: biomedical investigation, cloud robotics, and cybersecurity.
As explained in its whitepaper, SingularityNET utilizes a “blockchain-based framework designed to serve the needs of AI Agents as they interact with each other and with external customers can enable the emergence of a collective intelligence.”
SingularityNET’s official website explains that the platform “was born from a collective will to distribute the power of AI.” Notably, Sophia, “the world’s most expressive robot, is one of [SingularityNET’s] first use cases. Today, she uses multiple AI modules to see, hear, and respond empathetically. Many of her underlying AI modules will be available open-source on SingularityNET."