Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

As a writer and enthusiast in the world of crypto, I get asked several questions regarding ICOs. Here, I’ll try my best to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about ICOs.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), Image by Freepik

What is an ICO?

Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs, are a method of raising capital for new projects in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. It involves the sale of new cryptocurrencies (tokens) in exchange for fiat (traditional currency) or other cryptocurrencies, more often with the intention of funding the development of new products or services.

In exchange for their investments, investors receive tokens that can be traded and used on the platform being developed.

How Do ICOs and IPOs Compare?

Initial public offerings, or IPOs, are new stock issues by private companies.

Despite the fact that both allow companies to raise funds, they have some notable differences in the following areas:

  1. Regulation: IPOs are heavily regulated by government regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). ICOs on the other hand are largely unregulated. There aren’t any laws in the United States that specifically deal with ICOs. However, if an ICO qualifies as a security offering, it is subject to the SEC’s oversight and federal securities laws govern it. ICOs are self-regulated through smart contracts on the blockchain.
  2. Stage of offering: ICOs are usually offered at the beginning of projects before they have any finished products or services. They do this to get funds to make their ideas become reality. IPOs, in contrast, are offered later in a company’s development. The business already has a functioning product but still needs long-term funding and development.
  3. Benefits: An investor in an IPO has the right to equity in the company. However, in an ICO the investor usually just receives ownership and use of the token issued.
  4. Beneficiaries: ICOs do not require the middlemen involved in IPOs, such as exchanges, brokerages, or underwriters. This allows the crypto project and its investors to get the maximum from of the investment.

What Are the Advantages of ICOs?

Some of the benefits of ICOs are:

  1. They offer considerable prospects for profit. Seeing as you’re buying the tokens early, prices are low. This means if the crypto project succeeds, you’ll receive more for the tokens you bought.
  2. ICOs are fully available to everyone. ICOs have no restrictions on who can invest. Anyone can invest.
  3. They don’t require middlemen. This ensures that both the investors and the crypto project receive the maximum from the investment. In comparison, IPOs must pay up to 4% in commissions to brokers in addition to other charges from middlemen.
  4. It’s a quick and effective way for startups to raise capital. ICOs can be used to raise money for cryptocurrency projects with great ideas that advance the integration and development of crypto but lack sufficient funding. People with similar interests and beliefs are likely to invest.

Are There Downsides to Investing in ICOs?

Well, everything has its pros and cons. Here are some of the cons of ICOs:

  1. There’s a significant risk. Investing in an ICO is essentially betting that a currently worthless currency will eventually increase in value. The success, loss of value, or even total failure of the token, is possible given how volatile cryptocurrency projects generally are.
  2.  Lack of regulation. The lack of regulation on these ICOs leads to more scams and substandard projects. It, therefore, takes some knowledge to boost your chances of investing in a potentially profitable project in ICO.

So, What do I Need to Know Before Investing in an ICO?

  1. The White Paper. Analyze the white paper and roadmap for the project to determine how they intend the product or service to function. Successful ICOs typically have clear, actionable white papers with simple and understandable goals.
  2. Security Audits. Check whether an accredited third party has audited the ICO. This is a strong indication that the project takes the security of its investors, and the project itself seriously.
  3. The legal terms and conditions. Since conventional regulators typically do not track and assess these ICOs, it is up to you as an investor to make sure that an ICO is legal.
  4. The team. Check the project’s team to see if members have a track record of building profitable businesses. Like any other business, the success of a cryptocurrency project usually depends on who is involved.

Have Any ICOs Been a Success?

Yes. The most famous example is Ethereum (ETH) in 2014. The 42-day ICO, raised $18 million, with the price of one ETH at $0.31. Ethereum went on to be rated among the best cryptocurrencies.

Cardano (ADA) is also a good example. The project raised $62.2 million in January 2017. It went on to be listed among the top five cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.

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