Filecoin Launch Finally Brings $200M ICO to Fruition

Filecoin, designed as a decentralized alternative to Amazon Web Services, is now live as of block height 148,888, or 14:44 UTC.

AccessTimeIconOct 15, 2020 at 2:55 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 10:10 a.m. UTC

The Filecoin network pivoted to mainnet at block 148,888, or approximately 14:44 UTC. With that, its FIL tokens will begin their distribution. 

Filecoin is a system from Protocol Labs meant to be both a decentralized file storage and content distribution network in one. The Filecoin team wrote in a post announcing the transition the block number for mainnet launch signifies "prosperity for life" in Chinese, chosen "to honor the epic contribution by our Chinese mining community to Filecoin's long-term success."

The new token is very likely to make history as the fastest newly live blockchain to reach a market capitalization of over $1 billion, though we can't really know until the FIL tokens enter trading.

It should be noted the tokens distributed today will basically all be subject to a vesting schedule, so only a very small portion of the total supply of 2 billion FIL in the Filecoin system would count as circulating. Block explorers currently show a circulating supply of 10,396,586 as of 14:45 UTC. FIL futures are trading at $55.63 according to right now, which would place the market cap at $578 million.

The circulating supply at launch should be much, much smaller than the 200 million tokens sold in the 2017 initial coin offering (ICO), making for a vastly smaller market capitalization by convention.

Despite multiple delays, the Filecoin project has attracted considerable attention, particularly in China where investors have been speculating heavily on the network's mining hardware and the FIL token.

CoinList leads

CoinList's Scott Keto contends the first market to actually have FIL tokens available for purchase will likely be CoinList Pro.

The launch of Filecoin is itself a milestone for CoinList, a company that was spun out from Naval Ravikant's AngelList to manage the gigantic token sale for Filecoin, closing in September 2017. The token sale ultimately raised over $200 million, the largest ICO to that point.

"This was one of the most anticipated launches or token sales in 2017, it took them a long time to go live, I think that's partly because they took their responsibility really seriously," Keto told CoinDesk in a phone call. "It's finally here and it's one of the few, in my personal opinion, one of the very clear use cases for blockchain."

Those interested in following along with Filecoin in its earliest day should first keep an eye on one of its block explorers. Filfox is one such explorer: It shows block height, the number of miners, the top miners on the network and the total amount of available storage on the network. Filscan is another.

"There are many folks already announced as early Filecoin users, and still more to come next week," Filecoin's Ian Darrow told CoinDesk via email.

Filecoin dapps

Of announced projects, one example is Slate, a personal storage service that uses Filecoin and IPFS. Textile is another, which has evolved into a set of developer tools for managing storage from where it started, as a sort of decentralized Flickr.

In last month's "Space Race" testnet sprint, 360 miners participated globally, increasing the network's data capacity by 230 pebibytes. There was a final prize pool of 1.5 million FIL.


CoinList is playing a key role in the distribution of FIL tokens today, managing 55% of the distribution, for all the ICO participants who did not indicate a self-custody or external solution for the distribution, Keto explained.

"Given that CoinList will have the majority of the initial supply, in all likelihood CoinList Pro will be first to list. Fake IOU platforms may try to be first, but those are not backed by real tokens," Keto wrote.

CoinList's custody partner is Gemini Custody, though individual FIL buyers are using solutions at Coinbase, Anchorage and others.

Multiple exchanges have promised to list the FIL token, as Decrypt reported Wednesday. CoinList said that number is likely to rise.

Keto estimated that around 3,500 entities will receive FIL tokens. There were a little over 3,000 in the ICO and several hundred more that came through the incentivized testnet. Keto said that, anecdotally, there has been a stunning amount of inbound interest for buying FIL leading up to the mainnet launch.

This launch marks the latest in a string of products going live as described from the highest quality ICOs, a trend that arguably started when the Brave browser first started feeding ads to users last year.

Filecoin's purpose is to store real data in safe and complex ways. It's still incentivizing technical entities to get in early. It's currently running a contest for storing real data, called Slingshot, that will remain live for the next several days.

While the ICO era was controversial for its large number of scams, the best-known token sales have largely delivered their promised products (see for example Status, Tezos, Bancor and EOS). As ShapeShift Founder Erik Voorhees noted on Twitter:


Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.