The Russian ICO frenzy – Millions of dollars raised in just a few weeks

Monday 26 February 2018 11:58 CET | News

The Russian ICO frenzy, which in 2017 numbered more than 130 ICOs and pre-ICOs conducted by Russia-based companies, is still going strong.

The story is brought to our readers following a syndication agreement with our friends at East-West Digital News (, the leading publication on Russian digital industries.

The Russian ICO frenzy – which marked last year with more than 130 ICOs and pre-ICOs conducted by companies with Russian roots, some 10% of the global numbers, according to data collected by ICObench and EWDN – is going on, with fundraising successes announced every week in a variety of fields.

BioCoin, which touts itself as “the first eco-cryptocurrency and international Blockchain-based loyalty platform,” announced that it raised the equivalent of USD 16 million through its ICO, overreaching its initial target of USD 15 million.

The token sale, which ended on February 18, 2018, was held in partnership with Voskhod, which in September last year became the first authorized cryptocurrency platform in Russia.

The initiative targets craftsmen, farmers, e-commerce sites, eco-entrepreneurs, associations, shops, restaurants, manufacturers and producers, among others.

Among the other Russian ICO successes announced recently were:

  • Faceter, a blockchain project that aims to make video surveillance systems affordable to everyone. This startup claims to have raised the equivalent of more than USD 10 million in the first 20 seconds of its pre-ICO and reached USD 16 million as of February 22, 2018.

  • Play2live, an eSports platform that plans to deploy blockchain-based decentralized P2P networks to increase Internet speed and create “a new eSports economy.” Its founder Alexey Budyrko, a Belarusian serial entrepreneur, told EWDN that his company attracted the equivalent of USD 16 million during the 12 days of its pre-ICO.

  • Simdaq, a community trading platform, which claims to have raised the equivalent of USD 5 million in just a day in late January, reaching its hard cap target. The project aims to “democratize crypto trading” by providing a set of tools for trading strategies, including training on historical data, a framework to develop trading robots, and a space for sharing experience with others.

International traction

These and other companies with Russian roots usually manage to attract investors far beyond Russia. In the case of Play2live, “30% of the money came from China, about 20% from Vietnam, 15% came from South Korea, 8% came from the US,” Budyrko told, “while just about 10% came from Russia.”

Dbrain, a Russian-Belarusian blockchain startup that offers to “collectively build full-stack AI apps,” secured a USD 2.5 million pre-ICO seed round at the beginning of the year. The funding came from funds based in Moscow, New York, Singapore and Syndney, as well as from Russian business angels Eduard Gurinovich (CarPrice, CarMoney and mytime ) and Leo Batalov (DLA Piper), Dbrain CMO Ivan Gorshunov.

Legitimate projects, marketing fluff and unscrupulous scams

In Russia as elsewhere, not all fundraising announcements correspond to any reality. “The market, still largely unregulated, is infected by fraudulent ventures or simply dubious PR strategies. Some announcements just aim to create some buzz and attract naive investors,” notes a Moscow blockchain entrepreneur who wished to remain unnamed.

“That kind of things could kill the market,” he fears, while conceding that there’s a number of fully legitimate projects, too, on the scene.

At a completely different scale, Telegram — whose Russian founder Pavel Durov left his country a few years ago — is discreetly conducting a second private token sale, having raised USD 850 million from 81 investors (including Silicon Valley funds Benchmark and Sequoia Capital) during the first one. Telegram is already going down in history as the largest ICO to date, breaking the record set by Tezos last year (USD 232 million).

This giant ICO is controversial, too, with skeptics seeing in it just marketing fluff, while enthusiasts believe in Durov’s plans to create a new type of blockchain.

For the original article and for more news and insights into the Russian digital and payments industry, please visit

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Keywords: Russian ICO frenzy, ICO in Russia, crypto in Russia, EWDN, cryptocurency, token sales
Categories: DeFi & Crypto & Web3
Countries: World
This article is part of category

DeFi & Crypto & Web3