Can US Residents Participate In ICO

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 6 minute read

The meteoric rise in value of well-known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum since their inception has sparked widespread interest in the sector. As a result of their popularity, dozens of new blockchain-based enterprises and digital currencies have emerged.

To obtain funds for a cryptocurrency venture, investors can participate in what are called initial coin offers (ICOs), which function similarly to initial public offerings (IPOs) of a company’s stock.

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): What Are They?

To help pay for their development, cryptocurrency projects can hold an initial coin offering (ICO). Tokens in the project’s cryptocurrency are distributed to backers, and these tokens may have some practical use or just signify ownership in the initiative.

Traditional cryptocurrencies like bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH) are often used in ICO fundraising (ETH). This is an advanced investment strategy since participants will need to know the basics of blockchain apps and digital wallets in order to take part.

While initial coin offerings (ICOs) remain a popular method of generating capital for startups working in the cryptocurrency space, they do so at a higher risk than other types of crypto investments.

What Is the Process of Initial Coin Offerings?

In most cases, a white paper may be found on the website of a new cryptocurrency project outlining the concept of an ICO. Investors may learn more about the project’s plans and the ICO’s framework by reading the white paper.

This white paper is used by the project’s marketing team to raise awareness of the project, inform potential investors about the project’s management and token, and generate excitement for the ICO.

ICO Structure

Among the many possible ICO structures is setting a financing target and selling tokens at a preset price (usually expressed in a national currency like the U.S. dollar). Tokens will be pre-purchased by investors, much like an initial public offering, before being made available for sale on any exchange.

A crypto project may, for illustration, issue new tokens at a price of $0.25 each in order to raise $500,000 for its project. A total of 2,000,000 tokens will be sent to backers if the campaign is successful.

In addition, the price of each token may be adjusted for some projects based on the total amount of cash received. If a project aims to raise $1,000,000 and issues 1,000,000 tokens, but instead raises $1,500,000, the tokens may be valued at $1.50. This allows the project to raise additional money during the ICO without increasing the total amount of tokens.


Many initial coin offerings (ICOs) now necessitate a procedure known as “whitelisting,” which calls for participants to present confirmation of identification and residency in order to be added to a project’s whitelist. This verifies that all buyers are in compliance with local law and prevents anyone from participating in the token sale who is located in a prohibited country.

Due to SEC crackdowns on ICO projects, many ICOs are closed to U.S. participants on the grounds that they constitute sales of securities.

ICO Process

Here’s what needs to happen whenever a project decides to do an ICO:

  1. Publication of a white paper
  2. The start and finish dates of the ICO have been decided.
  3. Determined fundraising target
  4. Created a whitelist (if applicable)
  5. ICO has been launched.
  6. The ICO has ended (when funding goal met)
  7. Tokens have been distributed.

There are various variants on the ICO fundraising process, but generally speaking, it goes something like this.

It is necessary to have the cryptocurrency (or fiat cash) that the ICO accepts in order to participate. Bitcoin or Ethereum are common examples, although other cryptocurrencies might also be utilized.

You’ll also need to know the fundamentals of using a digital wallet to access blockchain software. You can only invest in an ICO if you have access to the cryptocurrency being offered, have a digital wallet that can connect to the ICO site, and can send money from your wallet over the blockchain to the ICO platform.

Pros and Cons

While initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a great method to fund a new cryptocurrency project, they are not without their hazards, either for investors or the projects’ creators. Here are several aspects to look out for and that make ICOs a solid investment prospect.


Initial coin offerings (ICOs) allow cryptocurrency companies to quickly raise funds and launch without requiring the participants to pool their resources.

If you have faith in the team’s ability and the project’s direction, they also provide a fantastic investment opportunity. Many people are interested in ICOs because of the following:

  1. Quickly get Financial Support. With so many bitcoin projects emerging each month, it’s more important than ever to get funding early on. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a technique to rapidly disseminate information about a business, bring on new investors, and generate the necessary funds to get the project off the ground.
  2. Potential for Significant Gains The potential for huge rewards is what attracts investors to new crypto projects at the ground level. Token values at some of the most well-known ICOs increased by 1,000% or more.
  3. Free for anybody to use. Launching an ICO does not need any sort of government authorization or license. As long as they have the necessary technical knowledge and marketing savvy to convince investors to join, any fledgling crypto firm may launch an ICO to generate money for their idea.


While initial coin offerings (ICOs) provide firms with fast access to funding and provide investors a chance to take part in a project they believe in, they also expose investors to a number of hazards.

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are a high-risk, potentially high-reward venture because of the regulatory hurdles and plain fraud that can accompany them. Some potential pitfalls associated with ICOs include the following.

  1. Extreme Danger (“Pulling Rugs”). The unregulated nature of ICOs means that there is a reasonable chance that you may lose any money you invest. However, many ICOs turn out to be fraudulent schemes, with the creators taking investors’ money and running. These “rug pulls” con investors out of their money and destroy the value of any associated token.
  2. Issues with Regulation. Authorities all across the world are keeping a close eye on initial coin offerings (ICOs), and one country has even outright banned them: the People’s Republic of China. The U.S. government has also cracked down on fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) launches, and the SEC has issued warnings to American people.
  3. Especially challenging for first-timers to get involved with. If you want to take part in an ICO, you’ll need to be familiar with cryptocurrency digital wallets, how to connect to blockchain apps, and how to move money across the network. For many potential users, this represents an insurmountable technological hurdle.

Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) vs. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) (IPOs)

The goal of both initial coin offers (ICOs) and initial public offerings (IPOs) is to assist startups and growing businesses to get access to capital markets. Offering shares or tokens in exchange for funding is similar to a pre-sale, and both are seen as valuable ways to join in on an investment early.

While ICOs have drawn comparisons to IPOs, there are important distinctions between the two types of token sales. When you invest in an IPO, you get a piece of the firm in the form of shares. Tokens distributed through initial coin offerings (ICOs) are used to get access to the cryptocurrency stored on a blockchain but do not reflect ownership in the project.

While the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversees first public offerings (IPOs) to ensure investor safety, anybody may establish and launch an initial coin offering (ICO). Since authorities have so little power over crypto enterprises, ICOs are more prone to fraud than IPOs.

Bottom Line

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) allow startups in the cryptocurrency industry to swiftly generate capital for the launch of their own cryptocurrency, and they can provide investors with a wonderful opportunity to join in on a promising project at an early stage.

However, fraud is rampant in ICOs, and even well-executed token sales may not be worth your money. Many initial coin offerings (ICOs) fail to make a profit for their backers, while others generate huge returns.

You should see any money you put into an ICO as speculative, and prepared to lose it all. The SEC has warned Americans to stay away from initial coin offerings because they are illegal in several countries.

To sum up, ICOs do have a purpose in the crypto market, but the enormous gains they promise come with a considerably larger risk.

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