The cryptocurrency market went through a monumental bull market in 2017 and 2018, primarily as a result of massive growth on the part of the two largest cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum. For Ethereum, it was a time where the blockchain’s use cases were being put to the test. As an example, many of the most well-known NFT projects, like CryptoPunks and CryptoKitties, were released during this time. But perhaps the biggest development of that bull market was the ICO craze.
ICOs, or initial coin offerings, often draw comparisons to initial public offerings (IPOs), and for good reason. After all, both offerings are primarily used by new and often small companies to draw in money from investors to fund product development, corporate growth, and ongoing operations. ICOs took in billions of dollars’ worth of investment before being more or less shut down by regulators in many countries (but that’s a story for another day).
ICOs were enabled by the easy creation of fungible tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, usually under the ERC-20 standard. Creating new cryptocurrencies had been relatively easy beforehand since many of the largest protocols, like Bitcoin, were open-source. But the introduction of the ERC-20 standard was gasoline on the proverbial fire. Anyone could quickly, easily, and cheaply create their own cryptocurrency. And thousands of people and companies have done just that since then. Some of those cryptocurrencies are still around these days. But many of them have come to rest in the trash heap of history. And if there’s one truth about crypto, it’s that history has a tendency to repeat itself.