What is an ICO? ICO – Initial Coin Offering. ICO is a method of raising fund by issuing cryptocurrency tokens. During an ICO, a company typically sells part of its cryptocurrency tokens in exchange for money. The funding is used as a medium to distribute tokens to the market and funds expenses by the founding team, by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture.
What are Tokens?
Tokens are coins that are offered during an ICO and would be considered an equivalent to shares purchased in an IPO and are also referred to as cryptocoins.
An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is used by startups to bypass the rigorous and regulated capital-raising process required by venture capitalists or banks. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies.
When a cryptocurrency startup firm wants to raise money through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), it usually creates a plan on a whitepaper which states what the project is about, what need(s) the project will fulfill upon completion, how much money is needed to undertake the venture, how much of the virtual tokens the pioneers of the project will keep for themselves, what type of money is accepted, and how long the ICO campaign will run for. During the ICO campaign, enthusiasts and supporters of the firm’s initiative buy some of the distributed cryptocoins with fiat or virtual currency. These coins are referred to as tokens and are similar to shares of a company sold to investors in an Initial Public Offering (IPO) transaction. If the money raised does not meet the minimum funds required by the firm, the money is returned to the backers and the ICO is deemed to be unsuccessful. If the funds requirements are met within the specified timeframe, the money raised is used to either initiate the new scheme or to complete it.
Some key characteristics of an ICO include:
Coin ICOs generally sell participation in an economy, while token ICOs sell a right of ownership or royalties to a project.
Owning tokens do not always give the investor a right to vote on the direction of a project, with the rights of the investor embedded within the structure of the ICO, though generally the investor will have input throughout a project lifespan.
The majority of ICOs involve the creation of a defined number of coins or tokens prior to sale.
ICO prices are usually established by the creators of the economy, project.
ICOs may have multiple rounds of fund raising, with coins or tokens on offer, increasing in value until the release date, with early investors likely to have greater rewards embedded within their tokens as an incentive.
ICOs are similar to IPOs and crowdfunding. Like IPOs, a stake of the startup or company is sold to raise money for the entity’s operations during an ICO operation. However, while IPOs deal with investors, ICOs deal with supporters that are keen to invest in a new project much like a crowdfunding event. But ICOs differ from crowdfunding in that the backers of the former are motivated by a prospective return in their investments, while the funds raised in the latter campaign are basically donations. For these reasons, ICOs are referred to as crowdsales.
Although there are successful ICO transactions on record and ICOs are poised to be disruptive innovative tools in the digital era, investors are cautioned to be wary as some ICO or crowdsale campaigns are actually fraudulent. Because these fund-raising operatives are not regulated by financial authorities such as the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), funds that are lost due to fraudulent initiatives may never be recovered.
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