An Overview of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)


When a company needs to raise funds, it will hold an initial coin offering (ICO) where the new cryptocurrency will be offered for sale. This cryptocurrency is offered to investors in exchange for their money.

ICOs can be incredibly lucrative, but their lack of regulation makes them extremely dangerous.

A new cryptocurrency token created by the firm may be acquired via an initial coin offering, which is open to anybody interested in investing. Tokens may represent a stake in a business or project, or they may represent some kind of usefulness tied to the firm’s product or service.

Who Can Create an ICO?

An ICO can be started by anybody; anyone with access to the right technology may start a new coin in the United States, where there is presently no regulation of ICOs.

It also means that scammers may do anything they want to fool you into thinking their ICO is legitimate — and then make off with your money. Of all the available financing options, an ICO is perhaps the simplest way to start up as a fraud.

The first step is to verify that the people behind the ICO are legitimate and responsible. Consider the product’s history with cryptocurrencies and blockchains. If it seems that no one with relevant, readily verifiable experience is involved in the project, it’s a red sign.

Types of ICOs

The following is a list of the two kinds of ICOs:

Private ICO.

Only a small number of investors may participate in private initial coin offerings. There may be an option for companies to limit participation in private ICOs to qualified investors (financial institutions or high-net-worth individuals) by setting a minimum investment amount.

Public ICO

Crowdfunding in the form of public initial coin offerings is aimed at the general population. A public offering is a kind of democratised investing since it is open to the whole public. Because of regulatory concerns, private ICOs are becoming more popular than public ones.

As cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies take off, ICOs are becoming more popular. In 2017, ICOs raised a total of $7 billion. 

There have been dramatic increases during the last year. Instant messaging provider Telegram just held the largest ICO in history. One private ICO generated almost $1.7 billion for a UK-registered firm.

A timeline of ICOs

For the token MasterCoin (renamed Omni Layer), J.R. Willet authored a white paper titled “The Second Bitcoin White Paper” in 2013 and raised $600,000 in funding.

In 2014, a total of $30 million was raised for seven different initiatives. Ethereum raised around $18 million that year by issuing and selling 50 million ether tokens to the general public.

2015 was rather low-key. Only Augur’s $5 million transaction was larger than the rest of the seven sales totalling $9 million.

In 2016, 43 ICOs raised $256 million in their first round of funding, including Waves, Iconomi, Golem, and Lisk.

When it came to Ethereum-related enterprises, this included the token sale of The DAO, an autonomous investment fund that allowed investors to vote on which Ethereum-related ventures they wanted to finance. 

A hacker stole $60 million worth of ether, causing the collapse of the project and a hard fork of the Ethereum system only a few days after the sale garnered a record $150 million.

That doesn’t imply that everyone should participate in an ICO. Before deciding to launch an ICO, you should ask yourself whether your firm would gain much from an initial coin offering.

A Stepwise Guide to Starting an ICO

When it comes to initiating an ICO, it is a simple matter of creating the cryptocurrency token, setting the sale date, and creating rules for the token sale. There is a lot more work involved in raising money via an ICO. 

  • When launching a coin, it’s important to consider how it fits into the larger project strategy. Throughout the ICO process, you’ll also need the following materials:
  • Long-term and short-term objectives are listed on a route map.
  • Other ICOs’ market research
  • A social media presence on a website
  • A marketing tactic

Because of the time and effort required to pull off a successful ICO, you’ll need a strong team behind you. Create your own team or hire a firm that specialises in this kind of business model.

How are ICOs governed by the law?

In general, ICOs are uncontrolled. There are no particular restrictions on ICOs in the United States. However, if an ICO comes within the SEC’s jurisdiction and is controlled by federal securities laws, then the SEC has authority over the ICO.

Nepal, China, Macedonia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, and Ecuador are among the countries that have outlawed ICOs.


There are many unintended consequences to being involved in the cryptocurrency industry, and one is initial coin offerings (ICOs). New and established businesses are increasingly relying on alternative sources of financing. 

They may sell “tokens,” i.e., units of the selected cryptocurrency, in the same way that a traditional company would do so by means of an IPO. 

However, short-term gains in token value might be expected if the ICO issuers provide a credible and viable business plan in the white paper. 

To avoid this, it would be critical to identify in advance the evident symptoms of illicit money-raising before the scams begin.





Disclaimer: The views expressed in The Coin Times are solely those of the authors cited. It does not constitute The Coin Times recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any investment. Before making any financial decisions, it is recommended that you undertake your own research. Use the information supplied at your own risk. For additional information, please see the Disclaimer.

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