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.

Why Your Business Needs An Internet Marketing Strategy To Stay Ahead

There are specific marketing strategies that apply uniquely to Internet marketing. If you do not use Internet marketing strategies for your business, your website will not get traffic, you will not attract new clients and your business will fall behind your competition.

One of the stumbling blocks impeding most local businesses from implementing an internet marketing strategy is that they simply have no idea what needs to be done. Online marketing is so new and such unfamiliar territory for most business owners that they don’t know where to start. They spend so much time running their business, taking care of their clients and managing their staff that they don’t have the time to learn something new.

Ask yourself a few questions:

• What are long-tailed keywords?

• What is keyword density?

• What is Web 2.0?

• How do you set up an autoresponder?

• How do you change the tags on your website?

• How do you create videos and audios for your website?

If you are like most business owners, you can’t answer these questions. That is absolutely normal. You have spent time focusing on other aspects of your business, ones that you do indeed master. But now you need to learn more! Finally, the time has come for the average local business owner to discover exactly what needs to be done in order to effectively put an online marketing plan in place for his or her business.

Business Has Changed.

Today, local business owners are in a hungry market. They need more work. They need to attract more clients. They need to adapt to the changing economy. However, the market is changing, or more specifically, how to reach that market is changing. Understanding the change and meeting the challenges of it are essential to survival of businesses.

In the recent past it was normal for a business to spend several thousands per year on directories like the Golden Pages / Yellow Pages. Now businesses find that this sort of advertising simply doesn’t work any more, it simply costs more than it brings in.

Today’s savvy business owner realises the Internet is the future. Worldwide, more than 2.6 billion searches for local businesses are performed online every month. This number grows by more than 50% each year. In fact, 80% of people search online before they make a purchase. They now prefer this type of search Golden Pages / Yellow Pages or the newspaper. Therefore business owners need to be online in an effective way, and have an effective internet marketing strategy to stay ahead.

Why Your Business Needs Web Video Marketing

Build Your Brand

Plain and simple, video is the most engaging content available creating a multi sensory experience for the viewer. No other advertising medium can trigger an emotional response the way video can. As a result, this makes the greatest impact on your prospects and customers.

Video is also the most effective ways to get your face, voice and brand all over the Internet positioning you as a leader and an expert in your field. When people see you, you become real and this humanizes the experience differentiating you from your competitors by putting a face/voice on your business.

Viewers also get to know you through your videos and if they like and trust you, they will want to do business with you. If you are truly sincere in your desire to help others, your videos will convert like wildfire and unlike traditional forms of advertising your web videos have no expiration date!

What this means is that your videos are out there working for you 24/7, educating your prospects about your product or service even while you sleep.

Web Video is a Growing Mega-Trend

I have three words for you, YouTube, YouTube and YouTube. Why does YouTube matter in social media marketing?

-Over 2 BILLION video views per day (double the prime-time audience of all 3 major US broadcast networks combined)

-Every minute of the day, 24 hours of video content is uploaded to the platform.

-YouTube is also the fastest growing search engine currently ranked #2 in the world only behind Google.

-People go there to look for videos to answer their questions, show them how to do something, or review a product or business.

-YouTube has become more than just a place to park your videos. As a social network, it is a place to build an audience where people subscribe to your channel and come back to watch and learn more about what it is you have to offer.

-Videos are also part of Google’s search engine results which means increased visibility as well as becoming a powerful tool driving traffic back to your website, blog or the site of your choosing.

Engage Your Audience With Content That Provides Value

The first step in creating engaging content is to identify exactly who your audience is. Once you are clear on whom you are targeting, the idea is to create messages that resonate with this audience.

This is your chance to educate the consumer about your product or service focusing on the benefits that your product/service will bring. Keep in mind that consumers are generally looking to solve a problem or address a need while in the research phase prior to making a purchase decision. What you need to do is deliver the solution in order to gain their business.

Your web videos can brand you as an instant expert in your field if you can deliver a compelling message that adds value. By educating the consumer you can improve the quality of their lives. Not only does this include information about what you do, but simple tips or strategies that they can implement as well.

Once you gain a satisfied customer, an engaging and powerful content strategy is to capture a video testimonial that can be shared on your website, blog and/or social media site.

Testimonials are potent forms of social proof. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, so sharing your videos on sites such as Facebook and Twitter become the new “word of mouth.” Users of these sites seek and make recommendations for products and services and share their experiences with friends and followers.

Also, it is important to incorporate a call to action within the web video itself. Viewers need to be told what to do so that may mean visiting your website, picking up the phone to call you or even sharing the video with their friends on the social media sites.

In summary, your web videos can help get you found online, are the most dynamic forms of content that engage your audience and can also be shared in follow up campaigns such as e-mail keeping you fresh in the mind of the consumer.

Local Marketing Guru is a Philadelphia Internet Marketing firm that specializes in helping local businesses establish a complete web presence and dominate their niche online.