Best Crypto Launchpads and IDO Platforms
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There are now thousands of new crypto projects launching that are beginning to make a perceptible difference in society. However, many of these innovative technologies would never have left the ground floor if not for crypto launchpads. This guide will explore the best crypto launchpads, dive into what they actually are, and unveil several ways investors can find new projects on crypto IDO platforms.
Best Crypto Launchpads
There are several excellent launchpads for both project developers and investors looking to find the next big thing. Many of them have different features, pros, and cons, which we will explore when diving into the best crypto launchpads in 2023.
- Binance Launchpad (best overall crypto launchpad)
- ByBit Launchpad (good for new projects with high first-week returns)
- Crypto.com Launchpad (selection of IEC/IDOs released each week)
- Gate.io Launchpad (highest number of IDO/IEC launches)
- KuCoin Spotlight (a good platform for IDO token returns)
- KrakenPad (new and up-and-coming launchpad)
Crypto Launchpads Compared
|Launchpad||Number of projects launched||Notable projects|
|Binance Launchpad||64+||STEPN, Bittorrent Token|
|Crypto.com Launchpad||220+||HydraDX, Argo Finance|
|Gate.io Launchpad||642+||DeFi Land, SingularityNET|
|KuCoin Spotlight||24+||ClearDAO, Victoria VR|
Review of the Best Launchpads for Crypto Projects
1. Binance Launchpad
Binance is by far the world’s largest and most prominent cryptocurrency exchange, receiving millions of dollars of daily trading volume and supporting 60M+ monthly visits. The platform’s gigantic stature in the industry has led it to become a hub for all things crypto – including hosting its own token launch platform.
Thanks to the company’s prestige, Binance is possibly the best launchpad for high-profile crypto developers to release their new products. The selection criteria are quite stringent and Binance will only accept the best and brightest projects to launch on their platform. If a development team is adopted, Binance Launchpad’s primary objective is to assist the project in its initial token sale. Due to its massive amounts of traffic, just being hosted on Binance is a huge marketing win for new projects.
The Binance launchpad was founded in 2019, and since then has supported the birth of several successful blockchain projects, including:
- STEPN (GMT). A fitness-based crypto app that rewards users for staying active and healthy. The initial token offering was 420 million GMT, the entirety of which was sold to 130,672 participating Binance users who committed Binance Coins (BNB). At launch, the price of one GMT token was approximately 11 cents. It peaked a few weeks later at over $5.
- BitTorrent Token (BTT). Perhaps the most successful crypto launchpad project on Binance was for the popular torrent tracking platform, BitTorrent. In just 15 minutes, the BTT developers raised $7.2 million.
Other crypto launchpad projects raise funds on Binance through a lottery system, where users can “buy tickets” for a chance to receive a new token. Axie Infinity, Harmony, Polygon and The Sandbox have all completed raises via the Binance Launchpad.
Binance also offers a Launchpool for IDOs. The process here is slightly different – investors can lock up their BNB or Binance USD (BUSD) into a pool. They will then receive a proportional amount of a new token as a “farming reward”. The APYs vary from less than 2% to well over 20%. Several IDO launches have secured well over 200,000 participants using the Binance Launchpool. Top crypto launchpad projects include Manchester City Fan Token and Anchor protocol.
Read our full review on Binance.
Binance Launchpad Pros:
- Binance’s launchpad/pool consistently hosts high-quality projects that go on to make waves in the cryptocurrency scene
- Binance IDO farms offer a passive earning opportunity
- The platform typically accepts BNB and BUSD commitments for participation, both of which are easy-to-access tokens
- Binance Launchpad has little to no fees for investors
- For project developers, Binance provides perhaps the best marketing support of any crypto launchpad
Binance Launchpad Cons:
- Even on prestigious platforms like Binance, most blockchain startups will fail
- Some projects rely on a “lottery system”, so investors are not guaranteed to receive any of the new tokens
- There is minimal protection for investors in case of an unlikely pump-and-dump scheme
2. ByBit Launchpad
ByBit is a well-known exchange renowned for offering an excellent range of derivatives and margin trading opportunities. The platform is one of few that supports trading without customers passing a verification process – although this limits its fiat currency compatibility. ByBit hosts a swathe of features, including a highly-regarded Launchpad for initial token sales.
The curated token launch platform supports two types of token sales – IDOs, and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEOs). IEOs are quite similar to an ICO, where a new project raises funds by selling tokens on an exchange like ByBit. Investors can participate by locking up tokens such as ByBit’s native crypto (BIT) or certain stablecoins (USDT).
At a glance, the ByBit Launchpad has some impressive statistics, with particularly high yields on new projects after the first week of IEC/IDO launch. For example, GENE, KASTA, and REAL had first-week gains of 3,938%, 2,050%, and 1,847% respectively.
- Total USD committed: $3.6B+
- Projects supported: 22
- Number of unique participants: 1.3M+
The ByBit Launchpad process works in four steps.
- Snapshot Period. Investors can qualify for IEOs and IDOs by committing BIT or USDT during a specific timeframe.
- Commit. Investors can subscribe to token allocation, or commit tokens to participate in a lottery.
- Distribution. ByBit’s Launchpad will algorithmically distribute tokens (either by lottery results, or directly to subscribers)
- Allocation results. The result of a lottery will be released and winning investors will receive the new tokens in their wallets.
Read our full review on ByBit.
ByBit launchpad Pros:
- ByBit IDOs have some of the best potential earnings on the market (100%+ for some crypto launchpad projects)
- ByBit has excellent liquidity
- Support for committing a stablecoin like USDT is an advantage for investors looking to avoid volatility
- Very low transaction fees
ByBit launchpad Cons:
- Less high-quality crypto projects than some competitors
- Fewer participants than Binance (average of around 20,000 per project)
3. Crypto.com Launchpad
Crypto.com is a centralized crypto exchange that made a name for itself in the early 2020s by securing famous brand ambassadors like Matt Damon. The platform prides itself on being at the cutting edge of blockchain technology and has consistently added new features. One of these is its own token launch platform – the Crypto.com Launchpad for investors to participate in IDOs and IEOs.
Crypto.com is very active in supporting new projects. There are regularly 5-10 coin launches going on at any given time. This gives investors ample opportunity to find their next favorite project – but it also means there is often less participation and fewer high-quality projects.
Many of the offerings available on the Crypto.com Launchpad are poorly written and unclear in the project’s actual purpose. The exact process for participation varies but usually involves locking up Crypto.com’s native token, Cronos (CRO). The platform also isn’t transparent with the exact participation figures or money raised per IEO/IDO. However, across the 220+ projects launched, there has no doubt been some winners.
Read our full review on Crypto.com.
Crypto.com Launchpad Pros:
- Extremely active in the community, providing investors with lots of potential money-making opportunities
- A well-trusted and highly-regulated exchange
- A very easy sign up process for project developers
- Supports all sorts of token launches, including IEOs, ICOs and IDOs
Crypto.com Launchpad Cons:
- Because of their relatively lax signup requirements, Crypto.com projects aren’t always the most successful or meritorious
- Crypto.com’s fees are fairly high
- The platform isn’t always transparent with launch results and participation processes
4. Gate.io Launchpad
Gate.io is a major cryptocurrency exchange that, like KuCoin, is renowned for supporting a massive range of altcoins and trading pairs. Alongside this, the platform has various features including a mobile app, an open-source API, derivatives trading, and staking.
Gate.io is a top crypto incubator for developers conducting an IDO or IEO. Known as “Startup”, the token sale platform has launched a whopping 642+ crypto projects in just a few years of operation. Although the quality can vary, many successful blockchain developers have leveraged Gate.io Startup to fundraise their projects. Prominent examples include:
- Zipmex Token (ZMT)
- Olive Cash (OLIVE)
- Celer Network (CELR)
The exact mode of participation will vary from project to project. Some are simply free airdrops where users only need to sign up to receive the new token. Other projects (usually ones with the greater financial backing and technical support) will require investors to lock up a token such as GT (Gate.io’s native digital currency) or USDT. Some combine the two concepts, where customers can spin a wheel for a chance at receiving tokens. If they fail, they can then commit a “share” to the project to receive a token allocation anyway. The token sale itself will fail if the full funding goal is not reached by the time the incubation expires.
Read our full review on Gate.io.
Gate.io Launchpad Pros:
- One of the largest range of new projects of any launchpad
- Very low fees and signup requirements
- Hosts free airdrops and lotteries, meaning investors don’t always have to commit money to receive new tokens
- Over $800M in funding has been secured for new blockchain projects
Gate.io Launchpad Cons:
- Given the massive amount of token sales, not all projects will be high-quality
- Not the cleanest user interface
- Quite a number of IDOs/IEOs fail to reach their token sale goal
4. KuCoin Spotlight
KuCoin is a prominent cryptocurrency exchange renowned for excelling at one specific feature – trading altcoins. The platform supports thousands of trading pairs, making it a hub for the crypto-savvy looking to capitalize on lesser-known coins. KuCoin’s support for obscure tokens makes hosting a crypto launchpad a perfect match – and this is an area the platform has expanded into in 2022 with KuCoin Spotlight.
KuCoin’s selection process is quite tough, as the company has employed a team of 20+ experts to rifle through applicants. Each applicant goes through three independent teams and four levels of reviews. This has resulted in less than 10% of applicants making it onto KuCoin Spotlight. Therefore, the platform’s launchpad is well-respected in the industry for exclusively accepting high-quality projects.
To date, 24 projects have been launched on KuCoin. The graphic above shows the returns of the top spotlight projects. Some of the best performers include:
- Victoria VR (VR). A multiplayer metaverse following in the footsteps of The Sandbox. Post its initial token raise on Spotlight, VR tokens increased in price by 212x the initial sale value.
- ClearDAO (CLH). This project is devoted to democratizing derivatives trading in the crypto markets by supporting customizable derivatives. The CLH token enjoyed an increase of 73x upon KuCoin Spotlight listing.
Customers can participate in crypto projects by committing KCS (KuCoin’s native cryptocurrency) to a pool. However, investors must be verified on KuCoin to be eligible and several countries are not supported.
Read our full review on KuCoin.
KuCoin Spotlight Pros:
- High-quality projects that regularly perform very well in the short-term upon token sale
- A rigorous, independent vetting team
- KuCoin is renowned for its low fees
KuCoin Spotlight Cons:
- The successful crypto launchpad projects tend to be weighted heavily towards gaming rather than other blockchain sub-sectors
- The KuCoin Spotlight launchpad is still new and has less sway in the market relative to competitors
- Investors from certain nations (Japan, The United States, Sri Lanka and China) cannot participate.
5. Kraken Launchpad
Kraken is one of the few well-known digital currency exchanges that are based out of the United States. The platform supports buying, selling, and trading an array of cryptocurrencies, including BTC, ETH, and so on. The development team has spent a lot of time adding features to the exchange, culminating in the release of a separate crypto launchpad platform known as Krakenpad.
Krakenpad’s platform supports high-quality projects from all the major blockchain networks – Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Avalanche, Solana, and more. Rather than just being a website for investors to participate in token sales, Krakenpad is an all-in-one hub that provides a range of services to developers and investors alike, including:
- Kraken Swap DeFi exchange
- Launchpad for investors to find new crypto startups
- Kraken Prediction for decentralized prediction markets
KrakenPad is still new and is still ironing out any potential kinks on the platform. There haven’t been many project launches yet, however, Kraken’s social media will announce exciting new opportunities a few weeks before subscription starts. Participation is simple – investors can sign up by connecting an eligible wallet.
Although there isn’t much data to go off, Kraken’s track record for innovation, security, and quality holds its launchpad in good stead to become one of the industry’s most successful incubators.
Read our full review on Kraken.
Kraken Launchpad Pros:
- An all-in-one hub for all things DeFi – making Krakenpad more than just a crypto launchpad
- Kraken has an excellent reputation for high-calibre projects and technology
- An easy to navigate user interface
Kraken Launchpad Cons:
- KrakenPad is still new and has yet to get a firm foothold in the DeFi industry
- There have been only a few projects incubated via the platform
- Kraken’s fees aren’t the cheapest
What Is A Crypto Launchpad?
A crypto launchpad acts as an incubator for the blockchain world’s best and brightest upcoming projects. They are platforms that support the transition of a fledgling idea into a fully-functional project. For the most part, launchpads have already established a name for themselves in the crypto community and help spread the word about a new project. The launchpad will provide the required resources for the project to “lift-off” – hence their name.
This might include:
- An experienced advisor to guide the project developers through incubation
- A platform to distribute news and blogs
- Digital marketing/advertising to inform communities about the upcoming project launch
- Miscellaneous tools and resources such as web design or copywriting
- A platform for a project to raise funds, usually through the sale of a native token.
What Are Crypto Launchpads Used For?
Crypto launchpads are synonymous with token sales like ICOs and IDOs. Ultimately, a launchpad serves two fundamental purposes. Firstly, from a self-serving standpoint, launchpads are similar to “venture capitalists” who invest in startups trying to find the next Uber or Airbnb. Essentially, there are used to find and buy new cryptocurrencies before listing. Secondly, launchpads are vital to the health and ongoing growth of the blockchain and crypto ecosystem. Without them, fantastic and revolutionary projects could fall by the wayside due to a lack of funding and support.
How Does A Crypto Launchpad Work?
Each crypto launchpad will have a unique and distinct process for launching new products into the blockchain universe. Most major platforms will require project developers to undergo a rigorous application process, where only the most exciting and innovative of projects are accepted. Criteria might also include potential real-world impact, size of the development team, past experience in the sector, expertise in crypto-based fields, and marketability.
The launchpad will then provide the project with all the resources it might need. Most of the time, the biggest service they offer is a platform to host a token sale and open up cash flow. The launchpad will typically make an investment in the blockchain project they’re hosting themselves, giving them a vested interest in seeing it succeed.
How To Choose A Crypto Launchpad
There are certain factors that should be considered when selecting a crypto launchpad, although they may differ depending on whether you’re an investor or a project developer.
- Platform reputation. Each of the top listed launchpad platforms has a solid, established reputation for security and legitimacy. However, not all platforms – especially when navigating a decentralized exchange launchpad – will share this trustworthiness. Always perform independent research on the launchpad prior to parting with any money.
- Past projects. Past performance is not always a reliable indicator of future performance… but it might be the best we’ve got. Launchpads that have a history of incubating high-quality projects are more likely to continue this trend going forward. Conversely, a launchpad with minimal selection criteria may occasionally hit a diamond in the rough but are more likely to promote less valuable investment opportunities.
- Information provided. Not all launchpads are transparent with token sale information like Total Value Locked (TVL), number of previous projects, number of participants, and so on. It’s a good idea for investors and developers alike to steer toward platforms that provide as much relevant info as possible.
- Supported blockchains. Certain crypto launchpad platforms only support projects from certain chains, while others have innate interoperability. The long-term health of a new project may be dictated by the success of the chain it’s built on. For example, if an investor doesn’t believe the Binance Smart Chain has long-term viability, they should steer clear of platforms operating on this network.
- Type of tokens. Launchpads can accommodate either (or both) ICO and IDOs depending on the platform’s specific goals and business philosophies. Check the launchpad to see whether it lists ICOs, IDOs, IECs, or a combination of them all.
- Supported cryptocurrencies. A token sale platform will usually allow users to lock up digital assets to participate in token sales. The majority of them will require a native utility token (for example, Binance Coin) for investors to be eligible. However, others may accept popular and easily accessible stablecoins such as Tether (USDT) or Binance USD (BUSD).
- Trading fees. Although most token sales and launchpads won’t charge fees directly to participate, there will potentially be some form of transaction fee. It’s worth comparing launchpad platforms to ensure that it is still cost-effective to participate when accounting for additional fees.
How Can Investors Choose The Right IDO Project?
The crypto industry is known for its innovation – but also for its scams. It can be difficult to differentiate the “good” blockchain projects from the “bad”. No investor is going to hit gold every time they participate in a token sale, but there are some things to keep in mind that can help improve success rates.
- Project developers. Sticking with token sales from developers that already have a strong following in the community is a good risk mitigation strategy. While this will remove a lot of potential opportunities, it will also make investing in IDO/IEOs a much less stressful experience. In particular, keep an eye out for prominent developers that have already released successful projects, or have ample industry experience.
- DYOR. Most crypto launchpads will have some basic information on their upcoming projects condensed into a few paragraphs. Usually, this is nowhere near enough detail for investors to make a properly informed decision. Ensure to visit the project’s actual website, social media, and read the whitepaper (if published).
- Consider competitors. There’s little point investing in a project that does essentially the same thing as a pre-established app/platform/blockchain. It’s worth identifying the “sub-sector” of the blockchain world the project will exist in, and whether it provides a unique function or feature that will help it stand out. If not, chances are it will get lost in the weeds.
- Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Startups in the traditional financial world are known for being risky. This is even more true when it comes to cryptocurrency. The vast majority of token sales will be for projects that fold within a few years. Understand that a token sale is an extremely high-risk and high-reward investment.
- Beware pump and dump schemes. Initial token offerings are a haven for pump-and-dump schemes. Basically, certain investors or developers will buy up all the tokens offered, build hype and watch its price rocket up 100+% within 24 hours. However, in the flash of an eye majority of holders of the token will sell, causing the price to crater below its initial sale price. Try sticking to offerings that have protections against this.
Frequently Asked Questions
Several prominent cryptocurrency exchanges have a launchpad, including Binance, Kraken, Crypto.com, Gate.io and ByBit. Many decentralized exchanges also support the incubation of new crypto projects, such as DAO Maker.
There are 30+ platforms dedicated entirely to seeding new crypto projects. This includes DAO Maker, Tenset and Seedify.fund. Additionally, several multi-purpose exchanges and platforms have crypto launchpad programs in place, such as Binance and ByBit. Therefore, there are at least 50 crypto launchpads on the market, and likely more.
It depends, a launchpad provides investors the opportunity to invest in exciting new projects as they first enter the market. However, startups, especially in the blockchain world, are notoriously high-risk investments that can easily result in negative returns.
No, Coinbase does not operate a launchpad. Alternatives include KrakenPad and Binance Launchpad.
Participating in initial token offerings can be an excellent way for investors to find exciting new projects and support the underlying blockchain ecosystem. Without the infrastructure provided by launchpads such as Binance, OKX, and DAO Maker, hundreds of fantastic innovations in the industry would be left by the wayside. Users can typically join airdrops, IDOs, and IEOs by connecting a supported wallet to the launchpad and locking up a specific token.
Admittedly, investing in crypto startup projects comes with inherent risks that some may wish to avoid. However, the rewards for identifying a successful project can be quite handsome. Investors with a strong risk appetite and experience in the industry may find navigating crypto launchpads to be a worthwhile experience.