ICO, IDO, and IEO: What You Need to Know About Crypto’s Most Popular Fundraising Methods

You’ve probably seen the acronyms before – ICO this, IDO that. And IEO too. To define them in a few words: these are all fundraising mechanisms for new projects in the crypto market. But acronyms tend to confuse and overcomplicate, so let’s break them down into intelligible words. 


One of the most important aspects of crypto investing is “getting in early”. Finding a solid project with a good entry point can make all the difference in the world, that is – when the market capitalization of the project and its cryptocurrency are still low, therefore having a lot of room to grow in the future. 

One such way of investing early in cryptocurrencies is through Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), Initial Dex Offerings (IDO), and Initial Exchange Offerings (IEO). Now let’s see what each one of these means and why they matter for projects and investors alike.

What is an Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

ICOs, or Initial Coin Offerings, are a type of fundraising mechanism that involves the creation and distribution of a new cryptocurrency or digital token. These tokens are sold to investors in exchange for other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, or for fiat currencies, such as US dollars or Euro.


The purpose of an ICO is to raise funds for a new project or startup, often in the blockchain or cryptocurrency space. The tokens being sold during the ICO can have a variety of uses within the project or network, such as granting access to certain features or services, or functioning as a form of currency within the network.

Investors who participate in an ICO typically do so with the hope of receiving a return on their investment as the project or network grows and the value of the tokens increases. And because an ICO is “initial”, it is the starting point for a cryptocurrency, therefore that asset is still in its infancy and has the hypothetical potential for large growth. 

However, ICOs can be highly speculative and risky, as there is often little regulatory oversight or protection for investors. It’s important for anyone considering investing in an ICO to thoroughly research the project and its team, as well as the potential risks and rewards involved.

Read more: Fake ICOs are a thing in crypto. Learn how to recognize and avoid them.

Initial Dex Offering (IDO)

An IDO is a type of initial coin offering that is conducted on a decentralized exchange (DEX) instead of a centralized platform. DEXs allow for the direct exchange of cryptocurrencies without the need for a centralized intermediary.

In an IDO, the new cryptocurrency is offered on a DEX for investors to purchase. IDOs are becoming more popular because they allow for greater accessibility to investors and more transparency compared to traditional ICOs. 

Initial Exchange Offering (IEO)

An IEO is a fundraising method that is conducted on a centralized exchange platform, where investors can purchase new cryptocurrencies directly from the exchange. Unlike ICOs, IEOs require a rigorous screening process before the project is listed on the exchange. The exchange acts as a middleman between the project and investors, ensuring that the project meets the platform’s standards and regulations.

Comparing ICOs, IDOs, and IEOs

ICO, IDO, and IEO are all methods for fundraising in the cryptocurrency industry, but they differ in terms of accessibility, transparency, and regulatory compliance.

ICOs are the most accessible and least regulated, as anyone can participate in the sale.

IDOs are more accessible than ICOs, but they are subject to the rules and regulations of the DEX platform. IEOs are the most regulated and provide a high level of transparency and security to investors.

What should you look out for in an initial offering?

It is essential to do thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency project. The following are some factors that you should consider before investing in an ICO, IDO, or IEO:

  1. The team behind the project: Investors should research the team members behind the project and their experience in the industry. A strong team can significantly increase the chances of success.
  2. The whitepaper: A whitepaper is a detailed document that outlines the project’s goals, roadmap, and technical specifications. A well-written whitepaper can provide insight into the project’s potential and legitimacy.
  3. The community: A strong and active community can indicate a project’s potential for success. Investors should look for communities that provide support, share ideas, and offer feedback.
  4. The technology: The technology behind the project should be innovative, unique, and provide a solution to an existing problem. Investors should research the technical aspects of the project and its potential impact on the industry.

Read more: How to research a crypto project the right way

We hope this short article was helpful and you can now distinguish between the three types of initial offerings in crypto.

Keep reading, keep learning – explore more of our resources below.

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