ICO is the abbreviation of Initial Coin Offering. It means that someone offers investors some units of a new cryptocurrency or crypto-token in exchange against cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum. Since 2013 ICOs are often used to fund the development of new cryptocurrencies. The pre-created token can be easily sold and traded on all cryptocurrency exchanges if there is demand for them.
With the success of Ethereum ICO are more and more used to fund the development of a crypto project by releasing token which is somehow integrated into the project. With this turn, ICO has become a tool that could revolutionize not just currency but the whole financial system. ICO token could become the securities and shares of tomorrow.
ICOs provide a means by which startups avoid costs of regulatory compliance and intermediaries, such as venture capitalists, bank and stock exchanges, while increasing risk for investors. ICOs may fall outside existing regulations or may need to be regulated depending on the nature of the project, or are banned altogether in some jurisdictions, such as China and South Korea.
Its important to note that unlike an Initial Public Offering (IPO), investing in an ICO won’t result in you having an ownership stake of the company you’re giving money to. You’re gambling that the currently worthless currency you pay for now will increase in worth later and make you money.