November 25, 2022 - 18 min read
Launching a new cryptocurrency or token can be tough. Gaining user trust, protecting investors against scams, and generating sufficient publicity can all be extremely challenging parts of the launch process. Fortunately, there is a wide variety of crypto and IDO (initial DEX offering) launchpads specifically designed to address these issues head-on and help ensure that a project’s ICO or IDO goes off without a hitch.
Crypto and IDO launchpads are fundraising platforms that assist new projects in their cryptocurrency or token launch. They provide legitimacy and security to a project’s token launch, can provide publicity and marketing services, and may have experts that can advise a project through the entire process, from pre-launch to post-launch.
Cryptos and tokens that launch through launchpads generally also provide investors with a higher degree of transparency regarding issues such as token distribution and tokenomics. Some crypto and IDO launchpads are tied to centralized exchanges, like Binance or KuCoin, while others are relatively decentralized. Some launchpads even operate as DAOs to ensure the highest level of decentralization.
Depending on the size, scope, and launch type, some launchpads may be better than others for a specific project. For example, some launchpads are focused explicitly on helping projects launch tokens on a specific blockchain, like Etheruem or Avalanche, while others are multi-chain launchpads.
In addition, some launchpads focus on helping launch tokens for specific types of projects. For instance, some launchpads focus on helping launch metaverse and GameFi tokens, while others are more focused on DeFi projects. In addition, some launchpads directly help in the technical programming and development of the token itself.
In this article, we’ll review some of the top crypto and IDO launchpads in the industry, reviewing their various focuses, strengths, weaknesses, and some of the best-known projects that have launched from each launchpad.
Binance Launchpad is a popular crypto and token launchpad created and operated by the cryptocurrency exchange Binance. Since it was founded in 2019, the launchpad has helped launch more than 60 projects, including the popular STEPN token. Cryptos and tokens launched via the Binance Launchpad are technically more like IEOs (initial exchange offerings), rather than IDOs (initial DEX offerings), as they receive the backing of Binance and are launched on Binance’s main exchange soon after their launch on Binance Launchpad.
Binance Launchpad provides a higher degree of legitimacy to crypto projects, as the Binance team investigates and reviews the project and its infrastructure before permitting it to utilize the launchpad. In addition, participating in Binance Launchpad IEOs is easy, as users generally only need to sign up for a traditional Binance account, fund their account, and convert their funds to Binance Coin (BNB) to participate in the launch.
In addition to Binance Launchpad, Binance also offers a secondary, related service, Binance Launchpool. Unlike Binance Launchpad, Binance Launchpool is not a launchpad, but a staking and investment service. It permits investors to stake their tokens in liquidity pools consisting of tokens of projects that have recently launched on the Binance Launchpad.
In contrast to Binance Launchpad and Binance Launchpool, BSCPad is an independent IDO launchpad focused on launching crypto projects on the Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain) blockchain. We have listed it alongside the Binance Launchpad, as many can easily get confused between the two separate platforms. BSCPad does not have the backing of Binance and instead was built by an independent team consisting of developers who created DeFi Prophets, another successful IDO launchpad.
BSCPad works through a multi-tier participation and lottery system in which users must stake the launchpad’s native $BSCPAD token to win a slot to purchase tokens in each IDO. Those with higher amounts of $BSCPAD staked get guaranteed spots and are permitted to purchase a larger number of tokens. BSCPad, unlike some platforms, does require a KYC process.
DAO Maker is a popular launchpad for both IDOs (initial dex offerings) and IGOs (initial game offerings). DAO Maker is governed by a DAO and has its own native token, $DAO. Users must stake the $DAO token to participate in launches. $DAO token holders with a sufficient number of tokens have a vote in which projects are launched and can earn rewards and guaranteed allocations by staking the $DAO token. Holders are divided into tranches based on the number of tokens they hold.
DAO Maker has launched over 120 projects and provides extra benefits and preferences to some investors via a process called a strong holder offering (SHO), where some investors gain rewards and additional allocations based on their on-chain activities. In addition to its launchpad service, the platform also acts as an incubator for some projects before launch, which focuses on helping projects develop fair and sustainable tokenomics. A few of the most popular projects that have launched using DAO Maker include Orion Protocol (ORN), Seascape Network (CWS), Infinity Pad (IPAD), and My Neighbor Alice (ALICE).
DAO Maker is also in the process of developing a platform, Venture Bonds, in which investors can buy bonds from startups to earn a yield, which may include project tokens or equity.
TrustPad calls itself “the safest multi-chain IDO launchpad,” and is a decentralized IDO launchpad platform built on the Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain) blockchain. Like many other launchpads, potential investors must stake the launchpad’s native token, in this case, $TPAD, to participate in launches. Investors can participate in IDOs via multiple methods, including first come, first service access, lotteries, and guaranteed allocations for those holding a sufficient amount of $TPAD tokens.
Some of the best-known projects that have launched on TrustPad include Bullperks, GensoKishi, Syn City, Babylons, Senate, Husl, Bloktopida, and Bithotel. TrustPad also provides zero-fee staking pools, and only applies a 1% transaction fee which is distributed to all holders of the $TPAD token. The TrustPad platform is also regularly audited by the firms QuillAudit and Certik to improve transparency and ensure user trust.
GameFi bills itself as the world’s first launchpad specifically designed for IGOs (initial game offerings). Like many other launch platforms, user access to launches is determined via the number of the platform’s native tokens ($GAFI) that a user holds. Users are divided into four levels based on their token holdings; Rookie, Elite, Pro, and Legend. GameFi provides an interoperable marketplace that allows NFTs to be traded across multiple games and has partnered with several other launchpads, including DAO Maker.
In addition to its launchpad, GameFi also provides several other services, including a blockchain gaming accelerator, and a GameFi aggregator, which functions as a marketplace for NFTs, allowing for purchase, sales, and leasing of in-game items. GameFi also has an associated gaming guild, which helps provide scholarships to gamers.
GameFi collects fees in three different ways; trading fees from the purchase and sale of NFTs, acceleration fees from investors who purchase tokens from games developed with the help of the GameFi accelerator, and yield fees, from the gaming guild’s operations. Many tokens launched using the GameFi platform have achieved incredible returns for investors, with some achieving returns of 10-20x+. A few of the top gaming projects launched on the platform include Project SEED ($SHILL), Dreams Quest ($DREAMS), Meta Wars ($WARS), and Meta Gods ($MGOD).
TrustSwap is a decentralized, cross-chain launch platform that allows projects to launch tokens on the Ethereum, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain) blockchains. Their token minting service is designed to help projects create and launch their token in just a few, simple steps.
Unlike many other launchpads, TrustSwap has unique features, including a token lock option, which locks the founder’s tokens until a certain time period has passed. This can greatly increase user trust in a project, as it prevents the founders from selling their tokens quickly in a “pump and dump” scheme, leaving early-stage investors with severely devalued tokens. They also have an option that allows for liquidity locks, which prevent investors themselves from “dumping” tokens soon after they have been purchased.
Like most other platforms, TrustSwap requires users to hold its native token, $SWAP, to participate in investment opportunities on the platform. Users can stake $SWAP and other tokens which have been launched on the platform to earn rewards. TrustSwap also offers other consumer services, including Swappable, an NFT trading platform, and TheCryptoApp, an application that tracks over 3,000 cryptos to provide instant price updates for users.
Gate.io Startup is a launchpad created and managed by the popular cryptocurrency exchange Gate.io to enable IEOs (initial exchange offerings) for promising new tokens and cryptocurrency projects. As an IEO platform rather than an IDO platform, the exchange itself (somewhat like Binance Launchpad) conducts due diligence on each project before approving it for launch. As a result, the launchpad also conducts publishes significant research on each token to help investors make intelligent choices. In addition, because the launch is done via the Gate.io exchange, the potential for scams and hacks is greatly minimized.
One potential downside of the Gate.io launchpad is that it does have extremely strict KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) requirements, so users looking to maintain their privacy may feel somewhat less comfortable utilizing the platform. Like other platforms, potential investors must hold Gate.io’s utility token ($GT) to invest in new projects. Investors are generally limited to purchasing 1,000 tokens each, which could be another potential downside for users.
Somewhat like Gate.io, KuCoin Spotlight is a cryptocurrency and token launch platform created and managed by the major crypto exchange KuCoin. KuCoin Spotlight specifically prides itself on its high level of due diligence to ensure that only high-quality tokens are permitted to use the platform to launch. KuCoin’s launch research team puts every token through 4 levels of review and focuses on various factors, including team members, marketing ability, project background, technical aspects, and current financial status. KuCoin reports that less than 10% of projects make it through the launchpad’s strict selection process.
As of August 2022, KuCoin Spotlight had launched 22 projects, including several popular blockchain games, such as the only MMORPG Victoria VR ($VR), the PVP arena game Cryowar ($CWAR), and the NFT role-playing game Chumbi Valley ($CHMB). They also launched the DeFi projects Polodex ($PDEX), an order-book-based decentralized exchange (DEX), and ClearDAO ($CLH), a crypto derivatives platform.
Red Kite is a launchpad and DeFi platform powered by PolkaFoundry, a platform designed to help create DeFi and NFT-related dApps on the Polkadot Blockchain. Red Kite not only launches tokens but provides liquidity pools for users to invest in. Currently, the platform supports liquidity pools on Ethereum, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain), and is in the process of launching liquidity pools on Polkadot.
To participate in Red Kite, users must purchase a certain number of PolkaFoundry (PKF) tokens and place them in a share pool. The more tokens a user allocates to a share pool, the higher chance that they’ll be whitelisted for a project via a weighted lottery. By staking 40,000 PKF, a user can get guaranteed access to a token launch. Those who stake 80,000 PFK can also gain access to random token and NFT airdrops. Red Kite has had several highly successful GameFi token launches, including Bloktopia ($BLOK) and Sidus Heroes ($SIDUS).
IDO Launchpad markets itself as one of the most decentralized IDO and ICO launchpads in the industry, with a major focus on cross-chain functionality and interoperability, as well as an in-built price discovery mechanism. The platform uses a “reverse Dutch auction” methodology using self-running smart contracts to help ensure fair token distribution. IDO Launchpad currently offers launches on both Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain) and has tested their token launches on major Ethereum and BSC testnets.
In addition to traditional launches and token pools, IDO Launchpad offers diverse pools allowing users to easily invest in a wide array of tokens simultaneously. To promote decentralization, IDO Launchpad is governed by a DAO, and by Q2 2022, had onboarded more than 1000 projects onto the platform. Like many other launchpads, the IDO launchpad is governed by the platform’s native $IDO token, which must be staked to access token sales. The $IDO token also allows users to participate in the DAO’s governance.
FireStarter is a crypto launchpad focused on launching metaverse projects via IMOs (initial metaverse offerings) and is one of the first launchpads on the Polygon blockchain. FireStarter requires users to hold the platform’s native $FLAME token, an ERC-20 token on Polygon, to participate in token offerings. The $FLAME token is designed to be deflationary; for every token purchased, another is burned to help sustain the token’s value and make it a viable long-term investment.
In addition to providing a launch platform, FireStarter also incubates a few pre-selected projects, which it promotes to users on a predetermined “Demo Day.” Unlike some launchpads, Firestarter also promotes selected projects via influencer and celebrity partners, including musicians, authors, and other notable figures.
Polkastarter is a decentralized, cross-chain launchpad and decentralized exchange powered by the Polkadot blockchain. The platform has helped crypto and blockchain projects raise capital across most major blockchains, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain), Solana, Polkadot, Polygon, Avalanche, and Celo. The platform prides itself on its extensive analysis of projects before approval, which involves both vettings by its internal team and analysis by outside experts. To prevent rapid price swings during the IDO process, the platform allows for the creation of swap pools based on fixed token prices, which fix the token price at a pre-set level until the initial sale is complete.
As of September 2022, the platform had raised nearly $50 million over more than 100 projects, with a combined market cap of more than $400 million. Polkastarter has had a particular focus on funding metaverse and gaming projects. Some of the most popular projects funded include Cryptoverse, Galaxy Fight Club, Highstreet, Thetan Arena, Orion Money, and Wilder World. To participate in IDOs, users must purchase the platform’s native $POLS token.
Gamestarter is a launchpad focusing specifically on IGO (initial game offerings) for indie NFT and metaverse games. Users bid using the platform’s native $GAME token to get access to participate in IGOs. Holders with a lower level of tokens participate in a lottery to get the chance to gain access to each IGO, while those holding a larger number of tokens get guaranteed IGO access, with higher numbers of tokens giving users more purchasing power.
Seedify is another popular decentralized launchpad and incubator with a main focus on IGOs (initial game offerings) as well as INOs (initial NFT offerings). Like most other platforms, users must purchase the platform’s native token $SFUND, in order to participate in token offerings. As of September 2022, the platform has launched more than 50 gaming projects, as well as creating a proprietary NFT marketplace and launchpad. Seedify offers a wide array of liquidity pools for different projects, as well as a robust staking and yield farming service.
Like some other platforms, Seedify is governed by a DAO, which allows any founder to submit their project to a vote by the $SFUND token holders. The community can then also participate in giving projects essential feedback and participating in initial testing. Seedify also has its own creative team, Seedify Meta Studios, which recently launched the Avatars, a steampunk-themed collection of 10,000 unique NFTs.
Enjinstarter is a fast-growing IDO launchpad created by the highly influential blockchain and NFT gaming company Enjin, the same firm that first developed the increasingly popular ERC-1155 semi-fungible token standard. Launched in October 2021, Enjinstarter focuses on helping launch a wide array of blockchain, crypto, metaverse, and Web3 projects, including those focused on sports, fashion, entertainment, social media, and GameFi infrastructure.
Projects developed by Enjinstarter all operate within the Enjin ecosystem, a GameFi ecosystem that allows games and metaverse projects to inexpensively and seamlessly launch games with a nearly unlimited number of NFTs. Games within Enjin’s ecosystem operate on Enjin’s Jumpstart blockchain, a private Etheruem Layer-2 chain that offers zero gas fees, nearly instant NFT transactions, carbon-negative NFTs, and smart contract support for developers.
Like other launchpads, Enjinstarter has its own native token, $EJS, which is separate from Enjin’s main cryptocurrency, Enjin Coin ($ENJ). Users can lock up and stake $EJS for various rewards, with higher rewards provided for those who lock up their tokens for longer periods. Some of the more popular projects that have launched on Enjinstarter include Plutonians, Realms of Eternity, and Metafighter.
PAID Ignition is an IDO launchpad created by the PAID Network, a company that provides a suite of blockchain technology tools for dApp developers, enterprises, and other clients. PAID Ignition focuses on launching various blockchain projects, specifically on GameFi and DeFi. PAID Ignition both carefully vets projects and provides one-on-one advisory services to help promising projects with their marketing and launch efforts. The platform currently supports Etheruem, Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain), Avalanche, and Solana, and offers both public and private token auctions.
To participate in launches, users must stake the platform’s native token, $PAID, after which they can enter a lottery to participate in IDO launches. Users are divided by tiers depending on the number of $PAID tokens they have staked, with those who have staked a certain amount gaining guaranteed access to certain project launches. A few of the best-known projects to launch on PAID Network include Remnant Labs, Zone of Avoidance, Tangible, IKONIC, Bridge, and Legion Network. PAID Network also offers a secondary IDO launchpad, Apollo-X, which provides even more specialized token offerings
Unicrypt Network, also called Unicrypt, provides a suite of solutions specifically designed to assist projects with IDO launches. Unicrypt is one of the most decentralized launchpads on the market today, providing automated tools, including liquidity locks for project founders, token vesting tools, and whitelist creation tools. Unicrypt currently supports four major blockchains, including Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain), Polygon, and the xDAI chain.
Any project can launch on the Unicrypt Network, which lowers barriers for developers and provides potential investors with a wider array of options. However, this means that projects are not vetted by a team of experts, so users may want to be especially careful and do their own research before considering purchasing tokens from any project launched on Unicrypt.
However, Unicrypt has instituted a variety of tools to prevent malicious token launches, and all dApps launched are audited by the blockchain auditing firm Chainsulting, which does provide some degree of security and aims to prevent truly fraudulent projects from utilizing the platform. In addition, all projects must lock at least 30% of their liquidity pool on Uniswap, which prevents project rug pills.
The first round of each launch is reserved for users who hold $UNCX or $UNCL, the native tokens of the Unicrypt platform, with secondary launches reserved for those on a project’s whitelist. In addition, Unicrypt provides staking incentives by distributing a share of token presale fees to the 100 top holders of the $UNCX or $UNCL tokens at the time of each sale.
BullPerks bills itself as “the fairest and most community-oriented decentralized VC and multichain launchpad.” Like many other platforms, Bullperks has a native token, $BLP, which itself launched on the TrustPad launchpad this year. The platform has successfully launched over 50 blockchain projects and supports nearly all major public blockchains, including Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain), Solana, Cardano, Polygon, and many more.
BullPerks has a six-tier system that provides different levels of launch access based on the number of $BLP tokens an individual has staked. BullPerks carefully audits projects before accepting them, has instituted various fairness rules, including minimum token liquidity locks, and, unlike most launchpads, provides refunds to investors in several circumstances.
DuckDAO is a well-known crypto and blockchain project incubator which provides a wide array of products and services, including the DuckSTARTER token sale launchpad. DuckSTARTER offers launches on several major blockchains, including Ethereum, Polkadot, Polygon, and Binance Smart Chain (now BNB Smart Chain). Unlike many incubators and launchpads, DuckDAO is focused on operating more like a decentralized venture capital firm rather than just a simple fundraising platform.
For this reason, they offer a hands-on approach to helping projects develop to their full potential and are particularly focused on long-term project viability. DuckDAO divides the projects it works with into three levels; Tier 3, in which DuckDAO only manages token sales and is not directly involved, Tier 2, in which projects are assisted with social media strategy, and Tier 1, in which projects are fully incubated from the early stages and provided with an array of marketing and advisory services.
DuckDAO is governed by the Duck Dime (DDIM) token, which allows community members to vote on the governance of DuckDAO itself, as well as to invest in upcoming token sales. To date, DuckDAO has funded more than 60 projects, with some of the most prominent being DeFi City, Cash Tech, and ETHBOX.
Jumpstart, also known as the OKX Launchpad, is an IEO launchpad created by the cryptocurrency exchange OKX, formerly known as OKEx. Like most other crypto and blockchain launchpads associated with centralized exchanges (like Binance Launchpad), Jumpstart provides early access to IEOs (initial exchange offerings) rather than IDOs (initial dex offerings), meaning that the token will be launched on the centralized exchange soon after the offering, instead of solely being offered on DEXs. Some of the best-known projects that have launched on Jumpstart include Taki, Element Black, Blockchain Brawlers, KlayCity, Gari Token, and Raydium.
Starter is a multi-chain IDO launchpad that currently supports Ethereum, Binance Smart Chain, Fantom, Polygon, Avalanche, and Pulsechain. Unlike most major launchpads, Starter does not require users to go through a KYC (know your customer) process, which increases anonymity and privacy for potential users. Some of the best-known projects that have launched on Starter include Cake Monster, ProjectOasis, Fomo Labs, and the WallStreetBets dApp. Enjinstarter, the popular launchpad developed by Enjin, also launched its token on Starter.
Like other launchpads, Starter requires users to buy their native token, $START, to participate in IDOs. Starter has four tiers for users; Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond, each which successively require users to hold more $START tokens. Gold tiers and above are guaranteed token allocations, while Silver tier users are entered into a lottery. The amount of $START tokens required to reach each tier also differs based on the blockchain each token is launching on. For projects launching on Etheruem and Avalanche, users must also hold a certain number of ETH or AVAX tokens (respectively) to participate in launches.
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