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Top 10 Most Popular ICO Categories

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There are more than 200 live initial coin offerings (ICO) on the market, according to Coinschedule data, with another 150 due to launch shortly. As the ICO market is very dynamic and the number of live and upcoming projects is changing rapidly, we’ve provided a snapshot of the top 10 most popular ICO categories on February 28.

Trading & Investing
The emergence of blockchain and cryptocurrency has created a new asset class that has opened up the trading and investment market to more people. Cryptocurrencies as tradable assets have traditionally proven to be highly volatile, but the volume of trades and investment continues to grow. Over the years, several cryptocurrency exchange platforms and other crypto investment vehicles have been launched. Binance, one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world, was launched via an ICO in July 2017.
On February 28, there were 30 live ICOs in this category with about 20 more on the cards for the next few days and weeks.

Finance
The original disruptor market for blockchain, the finance market has seen a number of notable blockchain-based projects over the years. There are many areas of application for blockchain technology in finance, including banking, digital identity, clearing and settlement, and digital identity management. One area of particular interest is the banking sector, where blockchain and smart contracts could completely digitize the industry. In total, there are 31 live finance-based ICO campaigns with almost 20 more set to launch.

Commerce & Advertising
The monopoly enjoyed in the commerce and advertising market by behemoths like Amazon, Google and Facebook has almost stifled the growth of the industry. Digital advertising is viewed as a declining market by most millennials – who are incidentally the biggest target group for advertising campaigns, yet the most likely to use adblockers. Content generators don’t earn much for their work and all of the profit is in the hands of Facebook, Google, and the like.
Blockchain technology has been identified as being able to “democratize” the commerce and advertising space, as well as create the potential for creators to monetize their content. The Basic Attention Token (BAT) ICO of 2017 raised USD35 million in about 30 seconds. The project will reward users for viewing ads. There were 23 live ICOs in the commerce and advertising sector as of February 28, with around 15 more confirmed to commence soon.

Infrastructure
Blockchain technology can be applied to public utility infrastructure like water and power. Inefficiency is one of the major banes of infrastructure development in many countries. The contract validation process is beset with a plethora of bottlenecks and administrative/bureaucratic red-tapes.
Applying blockchain to infrastructure is not limited to the physical sense – it can also be applied to internet infrastructure management, as highlighted by projects such as Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Service (TBIS). These projects are revolutionizing the internet network structure. There are 18 active ICOs in the infrastructure space and 13 more are upcoming.

Social Network
Social media is seen as the pinnacle of the Web 2.0 internet framework. Now, blockchain technology is looking to usher in Web 3.0. There have been several blockchain-based social network platforms like Steemit, Synereo and Nexus. One common denominator of these platforms is their incentivized nature which rewards users and contributors – making them distinct from traditional social networks. As of February 28, there were 11 live social network-themed ICOs with 10 more in the pipeline.

Gaming & Virtual Reality
Blockchain is being touted as having the potential to revolutionize the gaming space by facilitating the establishment of decentralized parallel gaming universes that offer cross-platform support. Players will be able to import and export assets from one game to another. In the area of virtual reality (VR), projects like Decentraland and CEEK are looking to develop solutions at the intersection of blockchain and VR. There are 11 ongoing ICOs in this category with eight more scheduled to begin momentarily.

Payments
Payments were the original use-case for blockchain and the arena has seen plenty of innovations. While each project strives to bring a bit of uniqueness to the scene, the core principles remain the same: faster and less expensive transactions. The emergence of smart contracts has taken blockchain-based payment protocols to greater heights. Scalability still remains a bit of problem but the signs are encouraging. There are 13 live ICOs in this category with five more on the cards within the next few days and weeks.

Gambling & Betting
Long before bitcoin and blockchain could gain any form of mainstream acceptance, bitcoin online casinos were already popular on the internet. In fact, it can be argued that blockchain technology has been able to connect with the gambling industry on a much deeper level than most other markets. Blockchain has enabled anonymous gambling to flourish, thus making entry into the industry a lot simpler for many would-be players. Currently, there are 12 active ICOs in the infrastructure space and 15 upcoming ICOs.

Drugs & Healthcare
Enhancements to the supply chain, improved data security, and easy tracking of payment, billings and claims are some of the potential applications of blockchain technology in the health industry. Of particular interest is in the drug supply chain management system. Blockchain technology can help to secure the drug supply chain on a global level. There are already some Hyperledger based systems, such as the Yijan Blockchain Technology Application System, which are dedicated to the health sector. On February 28, eight live ICO campaigns were ongoing with six more due to launch.

Mining
Several start-up companies are entering into the cryptocurrency mining or staking arena. Cloud mining and staking services continue to multiply as individuals and corporations try to get a hold of valuable cryptocurrencies. Mining is seen as an alternative investment to cryptocurrency trading. On February 28, there were eight active ICOs in the infrastructure space and five upcoming ICOs.

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Among the runner-ups are ICOs in communications, data storage, identity and reputation solutions, and real estate. Less popular are ICOs related to charity and donations, legal projects and governance.

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