ICOs: an innovating system in the finances of the future
There is no doubt that the revolution of the internet that has been taking place
since the last twenty years has brought up a new era, in which we have changed
significantly our lifestyle, innovating the way we communicate with others, get to
know the world, generate and receive information, and of course: the way we make
Having said this, you have surely heard already about the cryptocurrency, a new
monetary system that uses cryptography to create coins and verify transactions (it
is entirely digital), and has a decentralized system, that is to say, it is not controlled
by any financial institution, like a bank, or a government. If you still don’t know what
I’m talking about, maybe the mention of Bitcoins (the most popular cryptocurrency
until now) might give you some clue.
So, it is important to note that this new type of currency has been becoming more
relevant in the last five years, especially since 2013, when the Bitcoin’s value got a
boost and started to be in the spot of the media. Here it enters a new phenomenon
that has revolutionized the business world as well, which is known as an ICO,
abbreviation for “Initial Coin Offerings”.
Basically, an ICO consists in a new kind of crowdfunding, in which the main
characteristic is that the developer of a project offers to investors the possibility of
buying a new token (aka, a cryptocurrency developed by the enterprise) before its
release, so that they can gain a profit when its value rises after being introduced to
Investing on ICOs, why it is important to know about it and how much money
it has raised?
Of course, the novelty of this system still generates some caution among investors,
but the innovations that it has brought to business and the great success that some
ICOs have had make it look like a juicy opportunity to them.
To get an idea of how much someone can benefit from this, we can take a look at
Etherum, the most successful platform until the moment that has used the ICO
method. When its token, called Ether, was first released, people just paid $0.3 per
coin. At the present date, the ether has raised its price to nothing less than $230.
Imagine how much money the investors of that project have gotten!
But what is remarkable about this system is not only how much an investor can
benefit from that, but also the amount of money that startups can get via ICO. Of
course, this has caught the attention of businessmen. For example, the platform
that we just mentioned, Ethereum, raised in 2014 $18,000,000 through ICO.
Some other platforms that have raised huge quantities of money have been The
DAO, with $155,000,000, MobileGo with $50,000,000, Brave with $35,000,000,
Storj with 29,200,000, and Aragon, with $25,000,000.
Although there is some uncertainty yet with the future of the cryptocurrency
system, there are some factors that might indicate a continuous boost of their
value. For example, the rigorous control of the government over the finances in
China, summed up to the constant devaluation of the yen, encourage Chinese
investors to buy digital coins, so that they can have a currency which value is
stable in time. This factor has influenced significantly on the value of tokens.
On the other hand, transactions made by these kind of coins are far simpler that
those made by the traditional means, and its mathematical system and encrypts
assures a high level of security to the clients.
Finally, if companies such as Amazon started to use cryptocurrencies, we would be
able to talk, for the first time, of a replacement of the traditional monetary system. If
this happened, the demand for tokens would raise considerably, along with their
value on the market, which would also increase the chances of success for
startups using this method of crowdfunding.
In summary, if we consider the increasing importance of technology in the way we
make business, we might expect a good forecast for those who invest and
crowdfund with ICOs.
Big changes and ruptures in the financial world caused by ICOs
You remember how revolutionary and innovating were social media such as
Facebook or Twitter to us at some moment? As well as these companies
succeeded in changing the way we communicate with others, the ICO’s and the
blockchain system have come to change the finances.
The most significant innovation that this system has granted is its decentralization.
Some analysts even think that this might be the beginning of the “democratization”
of finances. Traditionally, there is an intermediary that participates in the
exchanges of money and gets a profit from this, meaning that you’re going to see
yourself obliged to pay fees. For the very first time in finances history, we are able
to see a “peer to peer” transaction that is only regulated by mathematics protocols
that ensure the security and success of this transaction.
This fact allows a lot of people to participate in this process in a more democratic
way, letting behind many bureaucratic regulations and having lower costs to raise,
save, and exchange money.
Because of all of this, both investors and startups see themselves benefited from
that. The investors have the chance to use an innovative kind of currency, be part
of a community; have transparency about the project that they’re backing, have
more liquidity and the lack of governmental intervention in their finances.
By the way, the startups are able to fund from investors scattered in the whole
world without the inconvenient of having to deal with the several fees that appear
when the crowdfunding is done through a centralized institution.
All these characteristics might build a new way to establish the concept of finances
and business in the future if the cryptocurrency gets to have more relevance soon
and if it becomes the new traditional system.
The fears in the system, are we seeing a bubble growing in cryptocurrency?
Despite all these positive things that we just said about the ICO system and its
success in the financial world, not everything is that beautiful. At the present date,
some analysts talk about the imminent crash of the bubble in the world of
The reason to be afraid of this is the incredibly accelerated increase of the
cryptocurrency value. For example, Bitcoin augmented its value a 137% only from
January until the present date. At the beginning of this year, the Bitcoin was
cotticed in $970, whereas its current price is $2300.
While some people think that we won’t see the equivalent of the 2008 crash in
cryptocurrency, we have to remember that the number of people who actually own
huge amounts of cryptocoins is still very low, and the majority of them are not
willing to sell these assets. If cryptocoins keep increasing their value, we might see
soon a boost in the demand along with a very low offer, which is usually a synonym
If there is going to be a crash in cryptocurrency or not is quite difficult to predict, as
long as this system is too innovating and new. But there is no doubt that the
possibilities of seeing this happen is something that we must take into account
before investing on ICOs.
The satiric side of ICOs
Maybe because of its unusual and kind of controversial nature, ICOs have also
awakened critics and satirical reactions among people. So, while we have serious
developers and startups that work with serious tokens like those that we mentioned
before, some others claim that the ICO system is rather nonsense and absurd.
In response, they have developed hilarious tokens that somehow depict the
absurdity of the phenomenon and the exaggerated attention that the media has
given to it. Some examples of this are “Coinless”, “FOMO coin”, “Useless
Ethereum Token”, “Fuck Token”, and even “DogECoin”, that uses the doge meme
as its token.
What might represent the biggest success of this way of satire is the fact that these
absurd tokens have raised thousands of dollars. No kidding.
For example, the UET (Usless Ethereum Token) was able to raise $40,000 in just
three days, the Jamaican bobsled team that participated in the winter Olympics
raised $30,000 in DogECoins, and Fuck token has a value of 0,2 Ethers while
FOMO coin is cotticed $6.05 in the market right now. On the other hand, the
Coinless ICO just started this month on July 24th. From now on, it is a matter of
waiting and seeing how much money it funds.
The funniest thing is that these tokens are not even based on a project. The
creator of FOMO coin, for example, explained in an interview that he created this
token as an experiment to see if people were willing or not to buy his coin. Also,
the only purpose of the UET is to make transactions with this token. Besides that, it
hasn’t any other purpose or technological innovation.
If you take a look at the Coinless portal, they present their token saying
this: “Introducing COINLESS, the best way to invest in nonsense and still make
some money out of it.” So, it is a cryptocoin which only aim is to make fun of ICOs
through an absurd coin. In other words, you won’t be backing any project by buying
these tokens. You will only spend money in nonsense. They also offer to retribute with “absurd profit”, whatever this means, which actually could “make sense”, if we take into account the current state of ICOs.
Still, we see how some people spend even thousands of dollars on these kind
Basically, these developers have known how to criticize with satire that a lot of
people enrich themselves by buying tokens and without actually paying attention to
the project that they’re backing, something that they find kind of absurd.
The ICOs and the great advantages that it brings to startups
Finally, once we have taken into account the positive things of ICOs, their
breakthrough in finances, the fears that have appeared in this market, and even its
satiric side, it is time to talk about the greatest advantages that the ICOs represent
As we said before, it is far cheaper than using the traditional means of
crowdfunding, like IPOs (Initial Public Offering), in which they have to pay fees to a
centralized enterprise. Basically, the ICO process allows the developers raise
millions of dollars just using a white paper, a cryptocoin, and a blockchain.
And not only that; as the process of crowdfunding is far quicker and simpler with
this method, it allows to contact more investors from different parts of the world in
an easier and even more “democratic” way than before. In other words, there are
more people investing varied quantities of money in your project rather than
counting in with just a bunch of investors, which makes the process of
crowdfunding quicker and with more earnings.
But the advantages are not only economic, but also social. The decentralized
system of ICOs allow the startups to build a community that is not connected by
the traditional intermediaries, which creates, at the end of the day, a network based
And maybe the most important point, the startups are not only able to develop their
project thanks to the crowdfunding resulting from the ICO, they also get a lot of
exposure in the media if their token is successful, which is a great way of
promoting their platform.
Plus, they can count in with a valuable coin, which also raises the value of their
company’s assets. This gives a lot of prestige to their project and an alternative
currency that they can use for their business.
So, even if we’re not completely acquainted with this system yet, it is definitely
something that we can’t ignore because of the many important changes that it has
already brought in, and there is no doubt that this system is going to have even
more attention from the media in the future, and, why not? Maybe we all are going
to use cryptocurrency in the future. It’s just a matter of waiting to see what happens
Gabriel Jiménez, CEO - The Social Us