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  • If you want to take your business to the next level, you have a few standard options.

  • You could get a loan.

  • Find a professional investor.

  • Or you could go public.

  • But now, there's a newer player in town and it's getting serious attention: the ICO.

  • An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a new way for companies

  • to raise capital through cryptocurrency.

  • Companies create a digital token or a coin, and sell it to investors in exchange for cash

  • or more likely cryptocurrencies, usually ether or bitcoin.

  • Let's say I want to set up a business that makes money from my videos.

  • Instead of issuing shares to investors, I'll be creating my own digital token.

  • Let's call it XECoin.

  • That's what investors will be buying during my highly-anticipated ICO.

  • People who buy my digital token can either trade them for other types of crypto

  • or use them on my platform once it's up and running.

  • With XECoins, you gain exclusive access to my videos.

  • XECoins, like most tokens, do not come with any ownership stakes.

  • That allows founders to keep control of their companies.

  • So how do I convince investors to come on board?

  • The first step is to release a white paper that details my business model.

  • That way, investors can decide if they want to get involved.

  • Simply putting together a white paper isn't enough though.

  • Hundreds of ICOs are launched each month, but you only hear of a few.

  • So if I want my ICO to be a success, I have to go on a marketing blitz to convince people

  • my business is the real deal.

  • Some ICOs have even had celebrity support, including Jamie Foxx and Paris Hilton.

  • The number of ICOs has skyrocketed over the past two years.

  • In the first quarter of this year, $6.6 billion was raised through 217 ICO sales,

  • an increase of more than 65% from the last quarter of 2017,

  • and just under the $7 billion raised for all of last year.

  • The Ethereum project is one of the most successful ICOs of all time,

  • and is now the world's second- largest cryptocurrency.

  • In 2014, it sold 60 million ether coins and raised capital of 31,000 bitcoin,

  • or $18 million in fiat currency.

  • Cryptocurrencies are underpinned by blockchain technology,

  • which is why ICOs were primarily used by blockchain startups.

  • But now other types of companies are flocking to ICOs,

  • even if they do not have, or require the use, of blockchain.

  • For instance, the owners of a real banana plantation in Laos issued Bananacoins

  • and if you bought one, you would be investing in the production of organic bananas.

  • ICOs aren't just for startups anymore either.

  • One of the most highly anticipated ICOs was that of messaging platform Telegram,

  • which has 200 million users.

  • It has reportedly raised $1.7 billion for its yet-to-be-built blockchain-based platform.

  • While Telegram tokens were planned for public sale, tokens sold through the initial private sale

  • were in such huge demand that a secondary market emerged.

  • However, as there are no regulations, these sales cannot be controlled.

  • ICOs have made headlines for being banned in China and South Korea,

  • but they're still technically legal in many countries.

  • One country that has emerged as a top ICO hub is Singapore.

  • More than $260 million was raised in Singapore last year, behind the United States and Russia.

  • ICOs are unregulated in most parts of the world, which means that founders don't have to go

  • through the expensive processes and middlemen that public companies have to.

  • Without regulation, it also means that fraud is incredibly common,

  • with several reports of founders disappearing with millions

  • and one recent study finding that 80% of ICOs are scams.

  • The regulatory environment in the United States is mixed.

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission shut down a $15 million ICO by Munchee

  • and even launched a fake ICO website to educate investors.

  • There are a lot of question marks surrounding ICOs.

  • Why would any investor want to buy in?

  • ICOs offer really high returns.

  • The average return on the S&P is about 10%.

  • In contrast, one venture capital firm analyzed that

  • if an investor had blindly invested in every ICO, including a significant number which failed,

  • the return would have been 13.2 times your initial investment.

  • It's returns like that which have sparked the ICO fever, which we see today.

  • But don't forget, big rewards also mean big risks.

  • Hi I'm Xin En. Thanks for watching.

  • If you want to check out more CNBC videos, click here and here.

  • We love getting your suggestions for future videos, so feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

  • Don't forget to subscribe and see you next time!

If you want to take your business to the next level, you have a few standard options.

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ICOとは?| CNBCが解説 (What is an ICO? | CNBC Explains)

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    Samuel に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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