An Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a fundraising method used by startups and projects within the cryptocurrency space. It involves selling a new digital currency (a token) to investors in exchange for established cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, or sometimes fiat currency. The idea is similar to an Initial Public Offering (IPO) in the stock market, but without the regulatory oversight.
ICOs have been used to raise funds for the development of new blockchain projects, with tokens often granting holders some rights or benefits within the project’s ecosystem. However, ICOs have faced scrutiny and regulatory challenges due to instances of fraud and the speculative nature of the investments.