An ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is an alternative method of crowdfunding via cryptocurrency, which can be a source of venture capital for startups.
Each crypto-share is presented in a block-chain token form based on "smart contracts". It ensures 100% fund-raising transparency. Initially, these tokens are sold to investors at a fixed price. After that, the tokens start being traded on crypto-exchanges. Typically, over time their price multiplies many times.
Distributed ledgers enable the coding of simple contracts that will execute when specified conditions are met. Ethereum is an open source blockchain project that was built specifically to realise this possibility. Still, in its early stages, Ethereum has the potential to leverage the usefulness of blockchains on a truly world-changing scale.
At the technology’s current level of development, smart contracts can be programmed to perform simple functions. For instance, a derivative could be paid out when a financial instrument meets certain benchmark, with the use of blockchain technology and Bitcoin enabling the payout to be automated. The transparency of events along the supply chain via the blockchain is itself a major enabler of faster payments and improved financing, increased efficiency, fraud protection and lower costs.
A blockchain is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, secured from tampering and revision. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block. Blockchains are "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. The ledger itself can also be programmed to trigger transactions automatically." Blockchains are secure by design and an example of a distributed computing system with high byzantine fault tolerance.
It is incredibly popular because "the blockchain is an undeniably ingenious invention" with superior technology that will change everything.
The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger. Solving the issue of trust and ensuring non-malleable permanence of the data is invaluable to managing the provenance of assets, date-stamping events, geo-stamping those events in a specific location, establishing identity, and so on.
The blockchain network lives in a state of consensus, one that automatically checks in with itself every ten minutes. A kind of self-auditing ecosystem of a digital value, the network reconciles every transaction that happens in ten-minute intervals. Each group of these transactions is referred to as a “block”.
1. Transparency - data is embedded within the network as a whole, by definition it is public and fully visible.
2. It cannot be corrupted - altering any unit of information on the blockchain would mean using a huge amount of computing power to override the entire network.
“As revolutionary as it sounds, Blockchain truly is a mechanism to bring everyone to the highest degree of accountability. No more missed transactions, human or machine errors, or even an exchange that was not done with the consent of the parties involved. Above anything else, the most critical area where Blockchain helps is to guarantee the validity of a transaction by recording it not only on a main register but a connected distributed system of registers, all of which are connected through a secure validation mechanism.”
– Ian Khan, Technology Futurist
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Now you can invest directly through smart contracts and cut out the middleman.
Blockchain provides an avenue to a trustless system.