Mastercoin held the first token sale (also known as an ICO) in July 2013, the fundraising event ran for almost one month and raised close to 5,000 bitcoins(around $5000 at the time). Ethereum raised money with a token sale in 2014, raising 3,700 BTC in its first 12 hours, equal to approximately $2.3 million at the time. In 2016 alone, 54 major ICOs raised close to $103 million, with ICONOMI ($10 million) and SingularDTV ($7.5 million) being the front-runners.
2017 was a break-out year for ICOs. At least 18 websites were tracking ICOs before mid-year. In May, the ICO for a new web browser called Brave generated about $35 million in under 30 seconds. By the beginning of October 2017, ICO coin sales totaling a combined $2.3 billion had been conducted during the year, this is more than ten times more than in all of 2016. Around 50 ICO’s happened in November 2017.
The highest-grossing ICO as of January 2018, being Filecoin raising $257 million, with $200 million of that raised within the first hour of their token sale. Two notable runner-up’s for most raised for an ICO in 2017. Tezos Raised $230 million, while Bancor raised $153 million
According to industry newsletter Cointelegraph, companies raised around $6 billion via ICOs in 2017; only 20 ICOs made 37% of that amount.
Ethereum is the front-runner Blockchain platform for ICO startups, with more than 80% of the market share. In most cases, ICO tokens are based on the standard Ethereum ERC20 coin.