ICO, an acronym for Initial Coin Offering, is a method used to raise money for new blockchain projects. It usually takes place before the launch of a coin’s blockchain, and involves the public sale, or crowdsale, of a percentage of the coin’s initial supply. ICOs are sometimes referred to as ICPOs (Initial Public Coin Offerings) or ITOs (Initial Token Offerings).

ICOs work in the following way:

  • A new company/organization/collective of developers announces that it will be selling the initial coin supply of their new cryptocurrency

  • Early supporters of the project pay money (normally in the form of cryptocurrency) in return for these new coins

  • The company then has money to spend on building out the technology to the point of release and beyond

  • The new project launches and if it gains traction, then the value of the new currency rises and investors of the ICO make a profit


ICOs are not going away anytime soon. They have become a central financing mechanism in the blockchain ecosystem. However, I would expect a number of trends to permeate through into future ICOs:


Forecasted ICO Trends

Increased Accountability

Going forward, it is unlikely that investors will be comfortable giving developers “carte blanche” to spend the money raised from ICOs. Blockchain companies will become increasingly transparent and accountable as to how ICO funds are being

Simplicity Over Complexity

While DAO models of fundraising will become more popular, aiding accountability, the failure of “the DAO” will mean that companies favour simplicity over complexity in the structuring of DAOs and smart contracts. The Digix ICO is a good example of this

Fixed Funding Targets

Open-ended funding campaigns can get out of hand, as shown by
the DAO. Owing to increased accountability, it is reasonable to expect future projects to have more concrete development targets, and as a result, fixed budgets in mind.

Government Regulation

It’s just bound to happen… and for good reason. Without the
Ethereum hard fork, a lot of people would have lost a lot of money in the DAO hack. There would have been a hoard of angry people and nobody would have been accountable. We’re living in the wild west of blockchain fundraising and it’s only a matter of time until another hack takes place or something else untoward happens. As ICOs become more frequent, it’s only a matter of time until the government gets involved.

ICOs Launched at Our Events:

Vitalik Buterin

Co-Founder, Ethereum

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

Market Cap: $8 Billion Dollars

Launched at: Our North American Bitcoin Conference 2014

One of the most well known ICOs, Ethereum, which was released at Keynote’s conference, crowdfunded in 2014, selling their tokens at 25 cents each, totaling approximately $18.5 million at the time. When you purchased an Ethereum token, you were purchasing because Ethereum promised to be a better, more advanced blockchain than Bitcoin.




Evan Duffield

Founder, Dash

Dash is a secure, blockchain-based global financial network which offers private transactions.

Market Cap: $680 Million +

Evan Duffield launched Dash at one of our famous Miami conferences.



Brock Pierce

Managing Partner, Blockchain Capital



Blockchain Capital recently raised $10 million for a venture capital fund, Blockchain Capital III Digital Liquid Venture Fund, LP, which it calls the first venture capital fund raised by a digital fund offering.

The venture capital firm’s new digital liquid venture fund recently raised funds through a digital token offering called BCAP token.

 Brock has spoken at six out of our last eight conferences.



Paul Snow

Founder, Factom

Paul Snow launched Factom at one of our past conferences to a huge round of applause. 

Factom is currently valued at over $70 Million dollars.



Charlie Lee

Founder, Litecoin



Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin and long time friend of Keynote Events has spoken at several of our past conferences. 

Charlie began speaking at our conferences when the price of Litecoin was around $1.25

Currently, Litecoin trades at $22+, with a market cap of over $1 Billion



Ruslan Gavrilyuk

Co-founder, TaaS

TaaS is a tokenized closed-end fund designed to reduce the risks and technical barriers of investing in the blockchain space. Built on a profit-sharing smart contract, TaaS introduces an innovative Token-as-a-Service business model, allowing investors to subscribe to the fund’s income stream.

Since April TaaS ICO has raised more than $1,050,000 USD from 450 investors globally.

Ruslan launched TaaS at our World Blockchain Forum in Dubai earlier this year.



Craig Sellars

Co-founder, Omni & Tether

Craig has presented at several of our events on Tether and Mastercoin/Omni

Tether is the first real-world currency platform on the Bitcoin Blockchain. Mastercoin, now Omni, is a platform for creating and trading custom digital assets and currencies. It is a software layer built on top of the most popular, most audited, most secure blockchain — Bitcoin.

Tether’s Market Cap is valued at $58 Million +



Diego Gutierrez


Rootstock is the first open- sourced  smart contract platform with a 2 way peg to Bitcoin that also rewards miners via merge mining, allowing them to actively participate in the smart contract revolution.

Diego presented at our 2017, North American Bitcoin Conference.


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