What Is an ICO in Cryptocurrency?

ICO is short for Initial Coin Offering. When launching a new cryptocurrency or crypto-token, the developers offer investors a limited number of units in exchange for other major crypto coins such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.

ICOs are amazing tools for quickly raining development funds to support new cryptocurrencies. The tokens offered during an ICO can be sold and traded on cryptocurrency exchanges, assuming there is sufficient demand for them.

The Ethereum ICO is one of the most notable successes and the popularity of Initial Coin Offerings is growing as we speak.

A brief history of ICOs

Ripple is likely the first cryptocurrency distributed via an ICO. At the start of 2013, Ripple Labs began to develop the Ripple payment system and generated approximately 100 billion XRP tokens. These were sold through an ICO to fund Ripple’s platform development.

Mastercoin is another cryptocurrency that has sold a few million tokens for Bitcoin during an ICO, also in 2013. Mastercoin aimed to tokenize Bitcoin transactions and execute smart contracts by creating a new layer on top of the existing Bitcoin code.

Of course, there are other cryptocurrencies that have been successfully funded through ICOs. Back in 2016, Lisk gathered approximately $5 million during their Initial Coin Offering.

Nevertheless, Ethereum’s ICO that took place in 2014 is probably the most prominent one so far. During their ICO, the Ethereum Foundation sold ETH for 0.0005 Bitcoin each, raising almost $20 million. With Ethereum harnessing the power of smart contracts, it paved the way for the next generation of Initial Coin Offerings.

Ethereum’s ICO, a recipe for success

Ethereum’s smart contracts system has implemented the ERC20 protocol standard that sets the core rules for creating other compliant tokens which can be transacted on Ethereum’s blockchain. This allowed others to create their own tokens, compliant with the ERC20 standard that can be traded for ETH directly on Ethereum’s network.

The DAO is a notable example of successfully using Ethereum’s smart contracts. The investment company raised $100 million worth of ETH and the investors received in exchange DAO tokens allowing them to participate in the governance of the platform. Sadly, the DAO failed after it was hacked.

Ethereum’s ICO and their ERC20 protocol have outlined the latest generation of crowdfunding blockchain-based projects via Initial Coin Offerings.

It also made it very easy to invest in other ERC20 tokens. You simply transfer ETH, paste the contract in your wallet and the new tokens will show up in your account so you can use them however you please.

Obviously, not all cryptocurrencies have ERC20 tokens living on Ethereum ‘s network but pretty much any new blockchain-based project can launch an Initial Coin Offering.

The legal state of ICOs

When it comes to the legality of ICOs, it’s a bit of a jungle out there. In theory, tokens are sold as digital goods, not financial assets. Most jurisdictions haven’t regulated ICOs yet so assuming the founders have a seasoned lawyer on their team, the whole process should be paperless.

Even so, some jurisdictions have become aware of ICOs and are already working on regulating them in a similar manner to sales of shares and securities.

Back in December 2017, the U.S. Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC) classified ICO tokens as securities. In other words, the SEC was preparing to halt ICOs they consider to be misleading investors.

There are some cases in which the token is just a utility token. This means the owner can simply use it to access a certain network or protocol in which case they may not be defined as a financial security. Nevertheless, equity tokens whose purpose is to appreciate in value are quite close to the concept of security. Truth be told, most token purchases are made specifically for investment purposes.

Despite the efforts of regulators, ICOs are still lingering in a grey legal area and until a clearer set of regulations is imposed entrepreneurs will attempt to benefit from Initial Coin Offerings.

It’s also worth mentioning that once regulations reach a final form, the cost and effort required to comply could make ICOs less attractive compared to conventional funding options.

Final words

For now, ICOs remain an amazing way to fund new crypto-related projects and there have been multiple successful ones with more to come.

However, keep in mind everyone is launching ICOs nowadays and many of these projects are scams or lack the solid foundation they need to thrive and make it worth the investment. For this reason, you should definitely do thorough research and investigate the team and background of whatever crypto project you might want to invest in. There are multiple websites out there that list ICOs, we recommend checking this ICO calendar if you’re interested to invest in a crypto project.

Tips to Set-Up Your Own Company As a Foreigner

There’s nothing like setting up an offshore company, but you also need to understand the limitations you have. The primary restriction being the laws in the foreign country, you will need to make sure the support of a legal expert. Though you can read articles and books on the business laws of your desired country, the chances of knowing them all are less.

Law, as you may know, is ever-changing and you can’t really do much about it other than keeping yourself updated with the nitty-gritty. Therefore, you must have a trusted legal partner with you who will work for your interest. Here are a few tips to help you find a good legal expert;

· Review Online Listings of the Lawyers: There are websites that give free reviews of the businesses.

· Ask for Recommendations and Referrals: Speak to your friends and family members who have had recently worked with lawyers. Ask them who they hired, what kind of service they have opted for and where they happy with the services. It is equally important to ask whether they would recommend.

· Make a List of Potential Attorneys: While doing so, jot down the attorney’s name, contact number, address and website address. This way you can organize your search.

· Review Attorney’s Website: Every website usually provides information about each attorney who is working for the firm. It is suggested to check the attorneys’ educational background as well as the work history. Typically, you should seek a lawyer with at least 3 to 5 years of experience in practicing the kind of law you need help with.

· Write out Questions about the Lawyer’s Practice: Generally, you will find the basic information about the lawyers online, say such as; how long she/he has worked and/or where and when she/he went to the law school. But there are certain areas that you will need asking questions; like not every firm states their pricing online as that may vary from one lawyer to another.

Plus you will need to know about the time frame, right? You should ask them a tentative time period for the delivery of work. Similarly, you need to ask about their availability. Ask how quickly the attorney can start working on your assignment and then decide so.

· Bring Documents to the Meeting: If you have fixed a meeting with the lawyer, he/she may ask you to bring the documents. Make sure you have them with you. Show it to the lawyer so that he can have a better understanding of your situation.