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.

Tips and Tricks for Saving on Auto Insurance

Finding the best auto insurance rates can sometimes be tricky. It is absolutely necessary to be insured on the roads, though. In fact, it is required, by Illinois state law to have coverage. Some find auto insurance to be extremely expensive but, there are ways to help make it more affordable. Here are some things to consider to find the ideal price of insurance.

Shop Around

Get quotes from multiple insurance companies, including different types of companies. Also, realize that the lowest number does not mean the cheapest.

Consider Insurance While Shopping for Cars

Some vehicles have lower reliability ratings and other factors that contribute to higher premiums. While researching cars it is important to compare potential premiums for each of your options to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Increase Deductible

By increasing your deductible, you can decrease your premium. Just be sure that the deductible is manageable for your budget and that you have enough money saved in case you need to file a claim.

Bundle Insurance

If the insurance agency that you choose offers bundling, take advantage of it. If not, try to stay with the same company for all of your insurance needs. This results in discounts in most cases.

Keep Good Credit

Having good credit helps lower insurance rates. Researchers have found a significant relationship between your credit score and amount of claims filed. Insurance companies tend to rely on this correlation to define your financial responsibility.

Low Mileage Discounts

Research mileage averages and see if you fall below that. Do not be afraid to ask about a low mileage discount. This discount could also apply to you if you are someone who carpools.

Group Insurance

Some people fall into the category of people who receive insurance from their employer or other groups they belong to. Some insurance providers offer discounts on auto insurance to people who fall into this category.

Other Discounts

Ask your agent if there are any additional discounts you are qualified for based on certain qualities such as how you drive, etc.

Purchase 10+ days before you actually need it

By purchasing coverage before you need to use it helps drive down premium costs.

Pay in Full Up Front

If possible pay in full, rather than setting up a payment plan. The amount you save annually will add up.

Get New Policy When You Move

Especially out of state! Some states have significantly higher insurance rates than others.

Older Cars

Buying a brand new car, just released is exciting, but if your priority is lower insurance premiums it is better to purchase models that are 5+ years old. They are considered more reliable.

VIN Number for Quotes

The purpose of this is to see if you are eligible for a discount if you have anti-theft devices.

Go Paperless

Some companies value using less paper and offer a small discount to those who opt out of using paper which is not hard to do in this age if technology. It is a small offering, but it adds up.

Insurance Vocabulary

Be sure to understand what the verbiage means so that you have a good idea of what you actually need covered and what questions you need to ask your agent.

Automatic Billing

This is another way to save over time, similar to going paperless.

Education

Some insurers offer discounts based off of the level of education you have. For example, some offer discounts for college graduates.

Teen Drivers

Teen drivers are known to drive up insurance costs, since they are more accident prone. But, if they are in a college that is 100+ miles away without a car some insurers allow them to be temporarily taken off of the plan. Additionally, most companies offer a “good student” discount implying that they correlate this test of intelligence with responsible driving habits. Proof of a safe driving class can also save some money on teen auto insurance.

Want to Save Some Money? Play Some Free Browser Games!

With many console games costing hundreds of dollars and game titles usually starting out at 40-80 dollars, a good alternative is to play any of the thousands of free online games. You can forgo the need to purchase a brand new HDTV and the latest audio equipment and simply use any modern computer with internet access to entertain yourself for hours.

Finding Good Quality Games

Often the best way to find the most entertaining games is word of mouth and often Google searches yield excellent search results. I find the best quality games are often found on games portals as they pre-screen their games for variety, quality and hold them to high standards.

Another option is bloggers that are often quite passionate about the newest and most entertaining games available so they are often a very useful resource when searching for new games to try out. There are thousands of these blogs available that are updated daily so I would recommend searching out one that appeals to you.

Game Portals

Online game portals have achieved broad success as a result of increased broadband connections among consumers but even dial-up modems are able to play many of these games due to the small file size of them. The increase of internet access speed also means that game developers are able to create higher quality games with better graphics and game play. Fans of all genre, type and flavor of game will be able to quickly find some entertaining ways to spend their time.

An example of an immensely popular browser-based game portal would be Miniclip which has upwards of 43 million unique visitors on their website per month. These larger portals often feature localization in multiple languages such as English, Korean, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and French.

Other very large and successful Game Portal sites would include Yahoo Games, Kongregate, Newgrounds and Armor Games. Millions of users every month visit these websites playing a variety of games ranging from chess to zombie games.

Variety is one of the most compelling features of these free portals so you will often find categories such as Action, Adventure, Girls, MMO, Racing and Multiplayer games. As well you can find entire game portals devoted solely to one type of category such as Racing Games or Dressup games for example.

Game Formats

The most popular format used for these games would be Adobe Flash Player. This format has become very well distributed across the desktop market resulting in market dominance. Adobe makes the claim that 98% of US web users have their software player installed. Also one of the best aspects of Flash is it is not specific to PC or Mac, but usable by both types of personal computer.

Other types of formats online browser games can include Html, Java, Shockwave, Unity and the newer Microsoft Silverlight format. Most new computers do not come pre-installed with the above game players so when you attempt to play a game without the appropriate software, it will often auto install the software for you.

Popularity

Numerous studies from research groups such as Deloitte & Touche have released reports detailing the surging popularity of online games. A five fold growth prediction was touted recently in one of their white papers. Developing nations such as China, India and Latin America are poised to introduce millions more of gamers which will drive the demand for even more games and games portals.

Summary

Browser games only require an internet connection and a web browser so why not give them a try, its one of the fastest growing game markets. They are fun, unique, often innovative and the best part they are all available at no cost at all.