An IEO is often conducted when a new crypto project wants to launch its cryptocurrency or blockchain product but requires significant investment capital to do so.
For developers, there are many different ways of raising capital. Attempting to get funding from venture capitalists (VCs) can be time-consuming, with little or no results to show for it. Minting coins of a project before launch – known as a "pre-mine" – and keeping them in a treasury is also possible but often faces criticism from the community.
Opting for an IEO often can be an interesting option, assuming the developer has a plan of action and is dedicated to seeing the project's vision delivered.
What is an IEO?
As the name suggests, an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO) involves the use of a cryptocurrency exchange to raise funds for a new project. It is common to trade assets on these platforms, but that typically only happens after the developers raised money to kickstart their projects.
Because an IEO is facilitated by an exchange, the startups opting for this route have to be serious about their plan of action. In most cases, the IEO proposal is rigorously reviewed by the participating exchange. In some ways, the exchanges put their reputation on the line for every IEO they decide to offer.
How is an IEO organized?
Although blockchain technology is relatively new, there are thousands of crypto startups and companies out there. Many of which are competing to acquire potential investors through ICO or IEO events.
When developers of a cryptocurrency project decide they want to organize an IEO, a complicated procedure must be followed before the first dollar can be raised.
For the project's team, several requirements must be met. Having a robust business model, experienced team members, a viable use case for the technology, and providing a whitepaper are absolutely crucial. Organizing an IEO is akin to stating that they are committed to the long-term success project.
Why blockchain projects do an IEO
Raising funds for new crypto or blockchain projects can be rather difficult. Similar to any other industry, there is a lot of competition trying to attract investors. Not everyone can successfully attract investment capital through traditional means.
An IEO can be useful because it caters to existing cryptocurrency holders. Given how the participating exchange helps lend some credibility to the project raising funds, there is some degree of trust. After all, the exchange is putting their reputation on the line by facilitating the IEO. Even so, everyone should still do their own thorough research before making any financial commitments.
For projects looking to raise money with the help of an exchange, an IEO is a reliable option. Most Initial Exchange Offerings sell out very quickly, depending on the project's vision and use cases. The project token will also be listed on the exchange after the sale ends.
IEO vs. ICO
Participating in an ICO carried a lot more risks. Investors had to send bitcoin or ether to a smart contract or a website and hope they would receive tokens. Anyone with some basic smart contract knowledge and web development skills could put together a shiny website with a promising-looking roadmap and start raising money. It was a far cry from ideal and carried tremendous risk for anyone investing in ICOs.
IEOs largely mitigate these risks. Investors send money through exchange wallets, rather than sending it to the project directly. Dishonest projects or teams with little business sense will not be able to conduct a successful IEO either, due to the very strict requirements.
Additionally, an IEO has lower risks and more flexibility compared to ICOs. Tokens are guaranteed to be listed on the exchange organizing the sale. For investors, this makes it easier to exit their position, should they feel the need to do so.
The risks and opportunities of an IEO
Even though every IEO is vetted by the participating exchange, no investment is without risk. It is possible that the project raising funds will not be able to realize its vision. This can and often will impact the token price, regardless of its value during the IEO.
With that said, IEOs can present favorable investment possibilities as well. Being able to buy upcoming tokens early while knowing that they are to be listed on markets with good liquidity can create some opportunities. Not all IEO tokens will rise in value once they start trading, though.
The lower frequency of IEOs has helped weed out some of the less savory projects in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space. However, no method is foolproof, but it appears that IEOs are at least on the right track.
Just because the IEO exists, it doesn't mean that everyone should invest in these offerings. Doing your own due diligence is advised at all times, regardless of how companies and projects aim to raise funds. There are benefits to contributing funds to an IEO, but the risks cannot be overlooked either.