ICO Hot List is an independently curated catalog of the most promising active and upcoming Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s). Our picks demonstrate real potential across their whitepapers, teams, roadmaps, responsiveness to inquiries and more. The Hottest projects are included on our “Hot” shortlist, at our discretion exclusively. The “Hot” badge in our listing is for subjects we find interesting, and is not for sale.
We keep a growing archive of running tokens to follow up on the performance of past ICO projects.
Important Disclaimer: ICO Hot List does not provide investment, financial, or legal advice. This site cannot substitute for professional advice and independent factual verification. ICO Hot List does not endorse any initial coin offerings advertised on this site but does receive compensation for advertising certain offerings. Sponsored content is clearly marked in our listings and e-mail newsletter.
If you are an authorized representative of a project please use the Submission form to help us evaluate the project for inclusion in our catalog.
Our Review Methodology
Tokens offerings and ICO’s are highly speculative in nature. We help our readers assess risk by systematically reviewing the actual teams behind offerings, using structured criteria. Our analysts look into the backgrounds of team members, especially ones with prior business and ICO experience.
We investigate into all aspects of the project ranging from the technology, viability of the idea, tokenomics & sale structure, hype, participation risks, legal strategy, and vigilance. This also includes the members of the team, advisory board, and notable partnerships. We keep a close eye on deceptive types of behavior and practices that have the potential to harm the community. We are here to help maintain authenticity in the space and to provide an independent & honest source of information.
Transparency is a key factor in our reviews, including responsiveness to our inquiries about the projects we examine. We do evaluate marketing efforts, as well as social media and community engagement. However, skill, flashiness and buzz in presentation videos, and such, weigh less than the willingness to be forthcoming, about what we previously pointed out as key factors at the beginning of this article.
In short, ICO Hot List caters to journalists, analysts, and enthusiasts or anyone spectating this ecosystem as a game of fantasy football. We’re also interested in your feedback, especially if you feel anything we publish comes off as dubious or misleading.
What does ICO Hot List do?
At ICO Hot List, we work hard to bring you a curated catalog of the most promising Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). With this FAQ, we offer to explain how and why we work.
The gold rush to create the Googles and Amazons of decentralized tech has never been more intense. With this frenzy comes the need for a maintained, fresh list of the coins worth following. ICO Hot List is a premier outlet for such editorialized insight. We hope our site will be of great use to speculators in this exciting new market.
We aim to feature only offerings that make sense. As in any field it’s unwise to spend money randomly. ICO whitepapers, which are technically advanced, carry a risk of “The Emperor’s new Clothes” -style hype. Many people in visible, even authoritative positions overestimate their level of understanding of this very complex tech.
What does ICO Hot List NOT do?
It’s important that all our readers understand that ICO Hot list does NOT offer investment advice. In certain markets, like the US, investment advice is a regulated service, which must only be provided by licensed advisors.
Our site offers a catalog of opinions, reviews and historical data, which should not be mistaken as encouragement to buy anything. While we aren’t underselling the skills of our partners and expert contributors, our editorial content is offered for information purposes only. For investment advice, please seek a duly licensed professional.
We do understand and take seriously the ethical, professional obligations implied by the content we provide. If any of the information on our site appears dubious or false, please let us know.
How does ICO Hot List adapt to the uncertain regulatory environment facing ICOs at the moment?
At ICO Hot List, we understand that legislators everywhere are feeling the pressure to make good decisions to protect the public’s interests, without stifling innovation. ICOs are a type of open crowdfunding, and a new field that uproots a lot of established practices and interests. Hence, messages on the benefits and challenges of ICOs may be very conflicting.
Our service operates in good faith. While waiting for the regulative chips to fall, we’ve adopted stringent self-regulation, based on signals from US legislators and existing securities regulation. In the meantime, we will let you know when content we share is paid for.
We highly welcome any feedback that can help us understand the implications of this sensitive issue under your local legislation. If your own due diligence reveals things we’ve missed, we always appreciate more intelligence on our listings.
What’s an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and why should I be skeptical?
Let’s start with the term itself, Initial Coin Offering. “ICO“ leans, misleadingly, lean on the term IPO, Initial Public Offerings. First off, it’s more appropriate to compare ICOs to crowdfunding campaigns where early birds get special access to a new product or platform.
To get involved in this type of crowdfunding, it’s critical to understand that ICOs rarely, if ever, offer any kind of equity in the companies providing them.
The currency, also called tokens, functions within the emerging platform of the ICO startup. We find it useful to compare tokens to gift cards issued by establishments such Amazon.com or iTunes. Except, iTunes and Amazon are massive, profitable businesses. Most ICOs are not – nothing guarantees your tokens will even have a platform to serve.
Speculators bet that the tokens will skyrocket in value when the application platform grows.
Even ICOs brought forward in good faith operate in a largely unregulated market, introducing vulnerability to risks like pump and dump schemes. Compare this to stock markets and other trading of securities, which have been under the lens of regulators for centuries, following painful lessons learned under cycles of booms and busts.
These are some of the reasons why anyone interested in ICOs should act with a healthy dose of skepticism. We also want to remind our readers that tech startups tend to be high-risk targets for speculation as it is.
Stay informed and proceed with caution.
What’s the hype all about? Why should I be excited about ICOs?
ICOs are possible thanks to smart contracts, a subset of the interesting new things companies can build on blockchain technology. This type of mechanism is a potentially revolutionary step forward towards building decentralized, trustworthy information exchanges and apps.
We encourage you to read on. If you understand the topics below, chances are you’ll come to share our mix of excitement and caution.
What’s a token sale?
Future networked applications and online commerce may be built on smart contracts, an offshoot of the blockchain concept.
This type of tech usually has the foundation in some kind of cryptocurrency, sometimes referred to as App Coins, or tokens. If based on the ERC20 standard under the Ethereum blockchain, tokens are convenient and compatible with existing wallets and exchanges.
However, in the case of regulated securities, investors own a small slice of a company. App Coins on the other hand are not that. Instead they’re nutrients, sunlight and atmosphere in which individual blockchain platforms operate. As interesting as it is to own a slice of the tokens being exchanged in every transaction on the network, it’s healthy to never forget that tokens may end up as nothing more than “Itchy & Scratchy money”. Basically, don’t be like Homer Simpson in the linked clip.
That said, we live in fascinating times. Tokens are part of a machinery, which, in simplified terms, can fund services and commerce in ways that uproots current standard internet business models.
What is a presale?
The new and exciting world of ICOs is now sufficiently established to spin off new concepts and phenomena. Pre-sales are such a novelty.
Pre-sales offers tokens before the official crowd funding, or crowdsale. This approach is usually more modest in its funding targets, often offering tokens at rates reduced by tens of percent. Different smart contracts are employed, to separate funds from pre- and crowdsales, for accounting purposes.
The purpose of presales is often to fund the marketing and other preparations of a bigger ICO campaign. Advertising, hiring and arranging events are necessary to gain traction in an increasingly crowded marketplace. These prerequisites for a successful ICO cost money.
Of course, for projects, there are risks associated with presales. The image and long-term valuation can become tainted by a perception of pre-sale bargains.
Digital currencies are not new per se, but cryptocurrencies are still a relatively recent development. Cryptocurrencies implement advanced cryptography. The blockchain is one such thing: immutable ledgers which usually create proof of value by imposing computational expense and confirmation of other network events. In other words, the blockchain offers a trustworthy, network-wide transactional history, forming an immutable, permanent record.
Cryptocurrencies got off to quite the start when anonymous programmer created Bitcoin in 2009, the first and most famous currency of its kind. Building on p2p networking, previously known in forms like bittorrent, cryptocurrencies are Rube Goldberg machines of state-of-the-art cryptography. Participants can put computers to use for “mining”, performing advances calculations, proof of work, to create coin.
Bitcoin is a deflationary currency, with a limited amount of coin being intended to be mined. As the supply grows, calculations for generating coin increase in difficulty. As the currency can be split in tiny parts as the value grows.
Naturally, everyone wants to hop on “the next Bitcoin”.
What is “crypto”?
Crypto, as a term, has been hijacked by cryptocurrency jargon. However, cryptocurrencies are really built on decades of work in modern cryptography.
The word cryptography stems from the Greek language, κρυπτός or kryptós, meaning “hidden, secret”; and γράφειν, graphein, “to write”, or -λογία -logia, “study”. Based on the ancient and civilization forming need to pass along secret messages, cryptography is defined as the study of ways to create obscure, unreadable version of information, using methods known as ciphers. “Ciphertext” can be “unlocked” and turned into “cleartext” by special instructions known as “keys”.
Built around extremely complex applied mathematics, modern cryptography in the hands of the layman is a very new thing. Before the exponential growth of secure network communication in the nineties, cryptography was mainly available to nation states and militaries. Governments even tried to keep cryptography out of the hands of citizens.
However, as basic human transactions moved online to a global network, a need emerged to protect information that previously was stored in ledgers, sealed envelopes placed in locked file cabinets… or bank vaults. Therefore, any attempt to regulate the use of cryptography itself should be considered an authoritarian attack on civil liberties.
What is blockchain technology?
Mainstream media reporting would easily lead you believe that Bitcoin is all about hopping on the darknet (usually the Tor network) to shop for whatever is deemed unsavory by the State at a given time.
That’s far from the entire truth. Bitcoin is revolutionary because the blockchain offers a decentralized ledger of transactions. Every fully participating node on the bitcoin network grabs a list of transactions from its peers. Transactions are verified in an immutable record, by being wrapped in cryptographic signatures, making it extremely hard to mess with any piece of Bitcoin history.
This takes us from illicit goods to huge potential world-improving scenarios for the blockchain. Human civilization needs permanent records and enforceable contracts. As humanity takes leaps into digitizing and automating everything, it becomes very attractive to remove trusted intermediaries from the mix. Nobody wants to reward banks and credit card processors for their rent-seeking behavior, they’re just useful service providers… for now.
What are smart contracts and how do they relate to cryptocurrencies?
The technological details of smart contracts can be hard to grasp. Luckily, the tech is actually extremely fascinating, regardless of the level on which you understand it.
With smart contracts, blockchains are built to perform computer programs. Smart contracts are programmable in the sense that transactions can check for conditions and trigger events, when things line up.
Imagine a world where life as a grown-up is way smoother in every way, from lending money for education, cars or real estate, to just getting a smartphone with a data plan. That’s what smart contracts potentially offer. Blockchain events become a shared interest, making it possible for credit records and similar to be approved quickly, when conditions match up.
Sadder parts of life, such as dealing with last wills or dissolving marriages could also become simpler, as would change management, in affairs like corporate mergers.
Ethereum (ETH) Explained
Ethereum is a complete computing platform built on blockchain. Being a decentralized network, Ethereum can facilitate almost any kind of transaction, along with the required computation and verification, with great geographic distribution.
Imagine a blockchain for keeping track of all kinds of deals involving goods, services and records on individuals.
The system comes with its own currency, Ether. This compensates device owners who contribute computational resources and network bandwidth.
Altcoins in a nutshell
Just like an iPhone from 2009, Bitcoin is starting to show its age. Creative types have been working on all kinds of improvements of the original concept, or new, alternative cryptocurrencies. These are referred to as Altcoins by the larger scene of cryptocurrency forums and ICO lists.
So why exactly is everyone waiting for “the next Bitcoin”?
Well, Bitcoin constrains itself with its base around computationally expensive proof of work, and the whole deflationary aspect.
Furthermore, despite what some people insist, Bitcoin is absolutely not anonymous. Coins are wired between wallets, in a way that goes on a public record. Certain altcoins, like Monero, are trying to solve problems like these.
Bitcoin is also becoming slow, and the community with its vested interests shows little consensus in how to improve the code. Verifying transactions is on the brink of being extremely taxing on hardware, with enormous energy consumption.
So, naturally, people are looking for options.
Decentralized applications, how do they work?
Since the turn of the millennium, corporate behemoths have combined user content and effort to create the internet landscape we use and love.
Wikipedia, Yahoo Answers, Twitter, Youtube, Cafepress, Stack Overflow and Airbnb are just some different examples or how user effort can be turned into world-transforming phenomena. But these applications, even Wikipedia, a non-profit, are highly centralized.
Diverse interests can sometimes work together and create impressing results (maybe except for Yahoo Answers). But the logistics of these services are heavy. Building web services and apps that can withstand the load of global audiences involves owning servers, buying bandwidth and paying staff. And the only feasible way of making money off of any of this, except donations, are creepy tracking and ads.
What if the next Wikipedia or Uber could be built on open source software, where transactions are bounced around and verified on a p2p network? Funding could be based on Bitcoin-style currencies, deriving value from proof of work or other methods.
What do these ideas have in common? They’re funded by visionary individuals who take the plunge and put some money into Initial Coin Offerings. The payoff for owning “the air” breathed by a decentralized application could be mind boggling.
What are some other ICO review sites?
At ICO Hot List, we don’t fear our competition. In fact, we accept that we’re part of an ecosystem informing the “tokenistas” of the world. We don’t vouch for any content but our own, but having said that, we encourage our readers to study and critically compare the findings listed by our hard-working colleagues in this field.
The online magazine Hackernoon offers a list of ICO resources worth checking out.
ICO Hot List