Ethereum ICO (2014): A Shot for the Moon

Ethereum (ETH) ICO is one of the most, if not the most popular crypto ICO stories to date. It is nothing but exceptional. 

What Ethereum (ETH) and the Ethereum Network have achieved is one of a kind,  especially at a time when blockchain technology was not very popular. 

Many considered it a gamble, a scam, or another pyramid scheme to make someone else rich. 

Ethereum and its founder Vitalik Buterin proved them wrong by raising millions of dollars in capital. 

That resulted in the further development of the project. The rest is now history.

Here are the key facts about ETH ICO:

  • Starting date: July 21 2014
  • Ending date: September 2 2014
  • Initial price: 0.31 USD – 1337 ETH / BTC
  • Amount of ETH sold: 60 millions
  • Cash Raised: 31 500 BTC (18,3 millions USD)

How exactly did that happen? 

What is ICO in the first place? 

I know that so many questions come to mind and it can be overwhelming. So, I am going to walk you through step by step.

In the end, you will have a clear picture of how was the Ethereum empire built.

ICO (Initial Coin Offering) Context of Ethereum ICO.
ETH ICO was in 2014 and is one of the ICO which as bring the highest ROI.

An initial coin offering is a fundraising activity like the initial public offering in stocks but without such strict regulations. 

In other words, it represents the process of a cryptocurrency becoming public. In this article, we are not going to dive deep into the topic.  

So to understand the basics you need to know that newly created coins are exchanged for legal tender or more stable tokens (like BTC, USDT, USDC, and now ETH). 

These new cryptocurrencies promote implementation in the related blockchains or dApps they are associated with. 

History – When Did the Ethereum ICO Happen? 

ICO became popular between 2017 and 2018 with hundreds if not thousands of projects coming to life. 

Though Ethereum benefited from this form of crowdfunding way back in the day.

ETH was the second token funded by ICO but raised larger sums than its predecessor Mastercoin – a token built on the Bitcoin network. Mastercoin failed due to poor user experience and low adoption.

Not the case with ETH…

I will come back to more specifics in the next section. 

Now, we were up to a History lesson. 

Vitalik founder of Ethereum crypto making a speech about ETH and its benefits.

This speech might have been about Ethereum (ETH) ICO.

The first time the founder of the project Vitalik Buterin spoke about the  Ethereum ICO was during a Bitcoin Conference in Miami in early 2014

Later that year on July 22 2014 started one of the most profitable initial coin offerings to date. 

The end date was set to September 2 of the same year and the entire event lasted  42 days

In the following year in July 2015, the Ethereum network launched officially and has grown exponentially ever since.

This is the official announcement of Ethereum ICO made by Vitalik on the Bitcointalk forum:

ETH ICO announcement on Bitcointalk forum. Jan. 23 2014.
This is where Ethereum ICO was first published for the public.

Money – The Initial Coin Offering Price of Ethereum

I told you many times now that ETH ICO was very successful. But how much exactly? 

Well, let’s find out. 

As promised in the previous section, we are now going to make a comparison between the funds raised by Mastercoin and Ethereum. 

While the Bitcoin native token Mastercoin managed to pull 500 000 Dollars, Ethereum received $2.2 Million in the first 12 hours of its ICO. 

At the end of the 42nd day, ETH had funds estimated at $18.3 Million in form of  Bitcoin (around 31 500 BTC). 

Bitcoin price was about 580$ USD at the time of ETH ICO.


Supply and Demand – Number of ETH Coins Sold

The total supply of Ethereum tokens at the beginning of the ICO was 72 Million. 

ETH ICO Coin distribution.
This is how the ETH coin were distributed between different  level of investors and founder team.

The early developers received 6 Million (9.9%) out of these with Vitalik getting the biggest share, of course – about 553 000 ETH

Another 6 Million ETH (9.9%) went to the nonprofit Ethereum Foundation.

Quite controversial, but after all that’s the world of crypto. 

Taking that into account, there were 60 Million Ethereum coins left for investors with an initial price of roughly $0.31

That means that you could buy 2000ETH with a single Bitcoin. Fast forward to the near future though, prices went up due to the high demand.  At the end of the sale, 1BTC could be swapped for 1337ETH. 

At the moment of this writing, 1 BTC would get you about 14,57 ETH. And BTC is hovering the 30K USD area, not 580$ like it was when ETH ICO was ongoing.

Attention to Detail 

We got down to the nitty-gritty already, but as people say: 

“The Devil is in the details.” 

To get a clear picture of everything surrounding the Ethereum ICO here are  some key points you should follow: 

  • Vitalik Buterin put the ICO on the table but the core Ethereum team  arranged it; 
  • More than 6600 transactions were confirmed during the ETH ICO (that  is though not the number of people involved, as some may have used  more than 1 wallet); 
  • Following the example of Ethereum many other successful projects were  launched through ICO:
  • and their cryptocurrency EOS is so far the record holder having raised the eye-whooping $4 Billion during an ICO that lasted an entire year; 
  • The web browser Brave reached the milestone of $35 000 000 in just  30 seconds

Despite all the positives that came out of the Ethereum ICO boom, one negative consequence stands out. 

I am talking about fraud.  

As ICOs are not legally monitored, there is a lot of room for criminal activity.  

There are exceptions, of course, when authorities like the U.S. SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) can intervene. 

But users should be very careful when deciding on which project to invest in


ETH dominance chart since its ICO in 2014

As you can see from the chart above, Ethereum was not a one-time success. 

Rather than ending up as a meaningless fundraiser (like many ICO have been since..), the Ethereum ICO paved the way for record growth in the industry. 

Despite some fluctuations, Ethereum’s market capitalization relative to the market cap of all other cryptocurrencies remained around 15% on average through the years. 

And that is a lot, considering that more than 8000 new coins were adopted in the period between 2015 and 2022. 


To sum everything up, I can say that ICOs may have proven risky in many instances due to the lack of regulations. 

The exception though shines bright like a diamond – ETHEREUM

The project blew the stereotypes and contributed to the expansion of an industry that will shape the future of the Internet and finance.

J-S Tremblay
About the author - J-S Tremblay

I've been involved in the cryptocurrency world since 2016 and trading since 2019. I started Moon and Lambo in 2021. I'm passionate about crypto and love to share my knowledge. I hate bankers and I hope that cryptocurrency will change the financial world for the better. View full profile...

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