Key Differences Between Crypto ICO and Stock IPO

We hear the phrase Crypto ICO and Stock IPO a lot these days, thanks to the growth of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Many individuals mistakenly believe that ICO and IPO are the same things. The truth is that there are a lot of significant differences between the two.

While they can both assist your small business in raising cash and expanding, the way they are governed and raise funds differs. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between an ICO and an IPO so you can better grasp how they function.

The best interest for firms

These days, ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) are making headlines and generating a lot of interest. They’re supposed to be a breakthrough fundraising technique that uses blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to replace IPOs (Initial Public Offerings). While there’s no denying that ICOs have shown to be a great method to raise money, can they truly replace IPOs? To respond to this issue, we must examine all elements of various funding systems.

Key differences between an (ICO) and an (IPO)?

Both ICOs and IPOs are attractive means of fundraising for newly created businesses. Because in these startups, the public finances the enterprise in return for profit. But there are many differences that are listed below.


Many of the companies that consider an ICO are well brands that want their capital to expand rapidly. Peloton, Uber, Pinterest, Airbnb, Lyft, and Slack are just a few of the firms that have recently achieved an IPO two years ago in the year 2019. Each of these companies has a high public reputation; in fact, you may buy their products. Various IPO fringe players already have products and services available for purchase, and they’ve been operating for a long time. In March 2009, Uber was formed, while in August 2008, Airbnb started renting out extra rooms.

Often, the start-ups driving initial coin offerings (ICOs) lack this track record. In many cases, they are looking for funding for a concept – or a service or any kind of product that they want to develop with the aid of an investor. Their vision is usually communicated through a slick website with prototype graphics and a white paper outlining the project’s market research, upcoming milestones, financial estimates, and budget. Several ICOs have raised a massive amount of money. ETH and NEM are some of the prominent instances. Other ICOs have failed, either as a result of an exit fraud or because of the fact that the token’s value has dropped.

Because ICOs aren’t regulated in many locations, there aren’t always many investor protections available, which means there’s a lot of risks involved in getting in on these ventures. US regulatory authority SEC regulates IPOs. They are a completely different beast entirely. A registration document must be issued prior to an IPO to offer detailed information on the company’s present financial situation and how any funds obtained via the IPO will be used.

ICO takes place in the initial stages of the life of a firm or initiative. Prior to the functioning of a firm, it needs operating money to bring an untested notion or idea to reality. As a result, ICOs contain more risk than IPOs and should expect a higher ROI. IPOs, on the other hand, occurs later in the firm’s mature stages. They are already operating and but need financing for the growth in the long run.


ICOs are not regulated under government authorities while IPOs are. 

As a result, investing in IPOs rather than ICOs is typically safer. In order to offer its shares through an IPO, a firm must meet certain conditions. This necessitates the establishment of a track record of profits, which should be verified by a competent accounting company. Companies do not need a track record or any regulatory framework to participate in the ICO process. The majority of ICOs just have a white paper, which isn’t required. However, there have been fraudulent initial public offerings in the past. Investors must act with care and thorough diligence just because they are regulated.

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Accepted Currencies

An IPO’s securities are exchanged in return for fiat currencies such as the dollar, euro, and others. ICOs, on the other hand, entails the exchange of crypto assets for other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Bitcoin, Neo, and others. Some ICOs, on the other hand, allow fiat money in addition to cryptocurrencies.

Those who will benefit (Middlemen)

By eliminating the need for middlemen, ICOs have been able to function considerably more effectively than IPOs. As a result, ICOs generate more profit, benefiting both the shareholder and the firm that is conducting the ICO. On the other hand, must pay up to 4% to brokers, as well as a variety of additional charges to people engaged in the deal using IPO.


The distribution of capital is one area where many ICOs have failed to outperform IPOs. For example, some ICOs have an unequal supply of crypto-tokens because “whales” purchase the majority of them, causing price distortion and allowing for market manipulation. On the other hand, initial public offerings (IPOs) distribute their shares using a variety of feasible techniques that have been allowed by authorities and assure a fair asset share allocation.


Institutional investors, such as banks, are typically the targets IPOs. A small portion of the overall process is reserved for retail investors. However, anyone can participate in an ICO. All you need is a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin or Ether that you can convert into an ICO token.


The goal of an IPO is to collect dividends, whereas an ICO is to promote the implementation of the company and its affiliated services/platform. This means that investors will receive the project’s utility token, which will be stored in their individual crypto-wallet and used to access the company’s products and services.


Holders of initial public offerings (IPOs) have a significant amount of control and ownership over the company. While possessing ICO tokens somehow doesn’t imply ownership or control of the project or firm, it does indicate that you are interested in learning more about it. It does, however, provide owners with platform governance rights as well as connect directly to the token’s utility. An ICO entrepreneur can benefit in a variety of ways in the future. This is determined by the coin’s design and utility strategy, as well as the project’s overall goal.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

The term “ICO” stands for “Initial Coin Offering.” You’ll sell crypto tokens to anyone who wants to fund or invest in your firm during an ICO campaign. To do so, you’ll create an informal white paper that explains the aim of your project and the amount of funding you’ll require.

You can utilize the cash to start or finish your project if you satisfy the ICO requirements within the specified time limit. If you don’t fulfil the criteria, your campaign will be declared failed, and the money will be returned to your token investors. If you’re a startup or a relatively new firm looking to achieve short-term financial goals, an ICO can assist.


There are no official criteria for who can establish an ICO at this time. Whether you’re a beginner or have been around for a while, you may utilize this technique to try to get money. All you need is the tools to get started and the time to write a white paper outlining your concept. A little cash wouldn’t hurt either. A white paper is being written to support the project’s concept and persuade potential investors to invest. The white paper does not have a standard format. The white paper is not regarded as a legal document in several nations.

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Investor Requirements

An ICO may be participated in by almost anybody. They are encouraged to invest in your company as long as they have the required currency. In an ideal world, they’d already had a Bitcoin or Ethereum wallet set up.

So, how can investors identify ICOs that they want to invest in? The majority of them utilize the internet to keep up with new ideas, while some network with other investors both online and offline.

How Does It Work?

You’ll most likely upload your white paper on a website or app, advertise it, and ask investors for money once you’ve finished it. When you find an investor, keep in mind that they will not own your company. Rather, they’ll expect that the money they paid for will appreciate over time and earn them money.

Because ICOs are still new in the market, it’s a good idea to get the advice of a legal professional who can walk you through the process and warn you about any potential hazards.


The following are some of the most prominent advantages of ICOs for your startup firm:

Quick to Launch: You can also get started fundraising right away because there are a lot of businesses that permit anyone to create crypto tokens.

Extremely Liquid: Traditional investing generally requires investors to keep their funds locked up for years. They may, however, pay in and out whenever they want using an ICO.

No Formal Regulations: An ICO is not governed by any regulatory organizations. You can pursue one as long, even if you have a white paper.

Significant Returns: If the worth of the tokens you purchased during the ICO period rises, you’ll see a significant return on your investment.

Potential Disadvantages

Here’s a quick summary of some of the ICO’s disadvantages.

Risky: Many initial coin offerings (ICOs) fail within the first few months, so you can’t possibly succeed if you start one.

Fraud Potential: Because there is no official regulation, ICOs can rapidly devolve into scams.

Expensive to Implement: An ICO may cost up to $500,000 to implement when all costs are included, including lawyers’ bills and public relations expenditures.

Initial Public Offering (IPO)

The IPO (Initial Public Offering) is a method of taking a private company public. If you want to be listed on a stock market, you must go through a proper process. So, what exactly is an Initial Public Offering? Simply said, an IPO means when you sell your company’s stock to the public and raise money.

It’s a significant step for your company since it may provide you access to a large sum of money and make it simpler to develop and expand. As a result, only if you’ve attained a high degree of maturity and economic stability, then IPO is a smart option.


You must file a statement to register an IPO (SEC). A prospectus including risk considerations and financial figures that potential investors would likely want to examine should be included in the statement.

Throughout the process, you’ll need to collaborate with experts such as attorneys, underwriters, and accountants. You’ll go on a roadshow to meet with prospective buyers and try to sell your shares after your prospectus is available to the public. In essence, the prospectus serves as a résumé, and the road acts as a job interview.

Investor Expectations

Potential investors can examine S-1 forms filed with the SEC to learn about firms that are set to go public. They should register with a stockbroker if they locate an IPO they want to invest in.

The company will almost always demand that they fulfil transactions or net worth standards. According to Fidelity, a person must have either $100,000 or $500,000 in household income or at least 36 trades each year before investing in IPOs.

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How Does It Work?

You’ll inform the US government if your company decides to go through with an IPO. Then you’ll create investor’s confidence and wait for the price to be established by underwriters. Your privately held firm will no longer be privately owned if your company successfully applies for an IPO. Investors who purchase the company’s equity will become your new proprietors.


The following are the most significant advantages of IPOs:

Expands Business Opportunities: When you go public, you expose yourself to people and organizations that may not otherwise know about you. This might open up additional business options for you and improve your odds of winning.

Attracts Top Talent: If you fundraise through an IPO, you may attract top talent by providing stock options and other attractive perks.

Enhances Public Reputation: In general, the public respects public firms more than private companies. You’ll be perceived as larger and more effective than some of your personal competitors if you’re a publicly traded business.


IPOs have a number of drawbacks, including:

Time Consumption: One of the most significant disadvantages of an IPO is the length of time it takes to complete. It’s not unusual for the procedure to take six months or longer. This is due to the fact that you must complete a number of legal procedures before you can sell your shares.

Expensive: If you take the IPO way, you’ll have to pay costs for underwriting, filing, and reporting, among other things. Unfortunately, these may rapidly pile up and put a strain on your money.

Pressure to Perform: Because your success will be published every quarter, you may feel under pressure to perform well enough and keep your investors satisfied.


People can invest in your company through ICOs and IPOs. Whichever strategy you should follow depends on the stage of your business and the goals you want to achieve. You may get financing and achieve your short-term goals with an ICO. An IPO, on the other hand, may be appropriate if you’re a mature company with a high private value.

Both ICOs and IPOs have positive and negative characteristics. Initial coin offerings allow potential firms with no track record to acquire much-needed capital and release this money fast, and investors have fewer barriers to overcome if they want to participate. On the other hand, IPOs provide a regulatory safety net for both firms and investors, and they are generally less prone to price fluctuations and fraud. Crowdfunding campaigns and initial coin offerings (ICOs) have revolutionized the way firms acquire cash through investor investment in recent years.

So, should you go for an ICO or an IPO? The answer is based on your specific business and long-term objectives. An ICO may be the best solution if you’re a company owner looking for capital to get your business off the ground. It may provide you with the funds you need to purchase equipment, recruit workers, promote your products, and do whatever else you need to get your business off the ground.

If your company has been established for a while, though, an IPO may be a better option. This is especially true if it is financially strong and wishes to switch from private to public control. An IPO can help you develop and grow your business. Furthermore, it may help you establish a solid reputation and open doors to a range of chances.

Make sure you understand how an ICO, or IPO works, as well as the benefits and drawbacks that come with it, before deciding to participate. This way, you’ll be able to make the right decision that will help your company grow for years to come.

MubaShar Nawaz (United Arab Emirates)

MubaShar Nawaz is an experienced crypto writer working for Tokenhell. Having passion for writing, he covers news articles from blockchain to cryptocurrency.

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