Initial Coin Offerings, which are usually referred to as ICOs, are the hottest trend in the financial world. This is the amazingly innovative tool that businesses are using to raise funds rather than use the more traditional routes of banks and venture capital.
ICOs are proving especially popular with startups as a way to raise cash for projects, because it is more democratic, transparent and faster. It also uses a digital currency or a token, which is a term you’ll hear used by companies launching ICOs.
Tokens or digital coins
So, how do they do it? An ICO typically involves selling a new digital currency, or token at a discount. When the cryptocurrency succeeds and appreciates in value, the investor has made a profit. These tokens are often exchanged against digital currencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum and the new tokens can easily be sold and traded on existing cryptocurrrency exchanges.
Ripple and Ethereum set the trend
The first cryptocurrency to employ an ICO was Ripple, which is a payment system that promises to supplant the current SWIFT transaction procedure used by international banking. Its developers issued 100 billion XRP tokens, and the sale of these funded the development of the Ripple system, which is now finding traction with major banks.
The most prominent ICO, however, has been Ethereum. In mid-2014 the Ethereum Foundation sold ETH coins against a 0.0005 Bitcoin value for each one. This gave them nearly $20 million, which served as the capital base for the development of Ethereum, which is one of the biggest newcomers to the blockchain.
2017 – The Year of the ICO Trend
But 2017 is the year that ICOs really took off. And just to show you how hot the ICO trend is, look at these two examples: Gnosis raised $12 million in 10 minutes, and a new web browser, created by the founder of Mozilla, raised $35 million in 30 seconds. Yes, that’s right, not even one minute.
We are seeing new ICOs being announced every day. For example, a hotel booking company based in Bulgaria that will use blockchain to save its customers from paying expensive booking fees is promoting its LOK tokens via social media. It has the potential to become the next Booking.com, and if it does, then the people who have bought the LOK tokens at the pre-sale price, which is discounted, will stand to make an excellent profit. Just look at the figures for Ethereum and Gnosis and you will get a good idea of just how big these ICOs go, and how fast.
For example, if you had bought ETH, the Ethereum ICO coin, when it was sold at 0.0005 Bitcoin and that value is now 0.05 Bitcoin., you would have made substantial gains. Successful, ICOs can provide gains to their investors of anything from 100 to 500 per cent.
We’ll be bringing you more information about ICOs and how they use smart contracts, another blockchain innovation that is set to enter the mainstream thanks to Ethereum. This is truly an exciting time for startups, because ICOs offer a truly revolutionary way to raise funds for a business dream.