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.

Self Growth Techniques for Personal Success

What is self growth? It is about shaping yourself to become a better person with solid values, ethics and a well balanced approach to life. It is the process of working on your areas of improvement and turning them into areas of strength and opportunities. Just how can you do that? Here are five simple techniques for starters:

1. Learn from others. Start with your immediate family and closest friends. What are some of their traits that you admire? What have they accomplished that makes you want to be like them? Talk to them and ask them what they did to achieve self growth that led to their professional and personal success. Then check out famous people whose work you admire and read articles on how they got to the top of their profession. Learn as much as you can about their individual techniques and see which ones you can adopt for yourself.

2. Observe admirable people. Look at how they conduct themselves, from the way they walk, talk, sit and generally behave in public. Such refinement can only be a product of effective self growth techniques, which include polishing one’s looks, movements and skill sets to complete the overall package of the person. Look at how they treat others and are treated in turn. You can take a page out of their demeanor to propel yourself towards personal success and professional recognition. This isn’t to say you should mimic their every move; just derive the best practices possible from them that you can employ for your own good.

3. Assess your own attitude. How have you been behaving by your lonesome? Are you a person of integrity – always doing the right thing even when no one is looking? How are you with other people around? Do you exercise kindness and consideration for others, or are you being fueled by your own selfish needs for personal success? Bear in mind that in order to succeed at self growth, you must possess a mature disposition and a kind heart. Aim to be a caring and morally upright person no matter where you go. The universe has a way of rewarding people who treat others well and punishing those who won’t hesitate to trample on the feelings and rights of others.

4. Envision the kind of person you would like to be one day. This is a great self growth exercise that can provide you inspiration on your journey to professional and personal success. Paint a picture of the Ideal You – the kind of individual you wish to become in the future. How do you see yourself in that image? Do you see a nation-building politician, the next Mother Teresa, or the next Steve Jobs? Use your imagination as your mood board to guide you as you work on your greatest ambition.

5. Get rid of vices that may be harmful to your self growth. Are you quick to turn to painkillers when you feel the slightest muscle twitch? Do you tend to gorge on sugary snacks and drinks to keep your energy levels up as you slave over a very important project? Remove all self destructive habits from your system and start living clean! You won’t be able to enjoy personal success if your health takes a nosedive and renders you bedridden most of the time. So go have that physical check up and get tips from your physician and nutritionist on how to live a healthier and more wholesome lifestyle.

The Brilliance of “Design Your Own” Engagement Rings

There are few moments in life more exciting or more beautiful than that moment when two people decide to spend the rest their lives together. And when you design your own engagement rings as a keepsake token of that special moment, you’re creating a memory that will last a lifetime.

Designing your own engagement rings is a whole lot easier than you might initially think. In today’s world, many people are looking for more creative ways to express their love and devotion to another and, even though an engagement ring is certainly a very traditional token of this intent, when you design it yourself it adds a certain sentimental twist to the gesture. Not only that, but designing your own engagement ring is a good way to ensure uniqueness, as well as a good fit with her personal style. Now, you might be thinking, but I’m not a jeweler! I can’t design custom jewelry! But here’s the good news…you don’t have to have a high level of expertise or even fashion sense to design great diamond rings. You simply have to be able to choose and put together the elements you like from a selection of loose diamonds and ring settings. Here’s how the process of designing your own engagement rings works:

Step 1: Choose a Diamond
You will be presented with an array of loose diamonds from which to choose for your solitaire. Loose diamonds come in all shapes and sizes, and your search will be made infinitely easier if you take a moment to filter your diamond criteria by cut, carat, color and clarity. If you like, you can also filter your diamond search results by price, ensuring that you are only seeing the loose diamonds that fit into your specified budget.

Step 2: Choose a Setting
You’ve found the perfect diamond solitaire. Now, it’s time to choose a setting. Yellow gold, white gold and platinum are typical metal choices for the settings on diamond rings. Beyond that, a four- or six-prong arrangement will be recommended for securing the stone itself. And just like that, you’re almost done. Almost…

Step 3: Making it Your Own with Diamond Accents
That’s all it takes to put together beautiful diamond rings, but if you really want to dazzle her with a unique and distinctive piece of jewelry of your own design, then you need to take the process just one step further. Diamond accents add that extra touch of class and style that set custom engagement rings apart from the crowd; a token of your love that she’ll look upon fondly every day from this moment on.

It’s easy to design your own engagement rings and, when you see the look of joy and amazement on her face, you’ll know – without a doubt – that it was worth the extra effort involved in designing her ring yourself.