What Are Initial Public Offerings and Initial Coin Offerings?


Before we get to the security token definition, let’s discuss IPOs and ICOs first. An initial public offering (IPO) is a method of obtaining capital in which a private company seeking finance issues stock to retail investors in exchange for equity interests in the company. These equities are normally freely tradeable on the open market and are sold on a public exchange or brokerage. This is done in compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) financial regulations and the markets where securities are issued and sold. These regulations, in general, necessitate thorough registration statements and disclosures, as well as limitations on marketing materials.

Because of the stringent requirements for going public, IPOs are often conducted by more mature, financially solid businesses rather than early-stage startups. This is partly due to the expensive costs of meeting those requirements (e.g., more than $1 million) and partly because many mainstream investors have less interest or appetite for risk when it comes to investing in younger, less proven companies. Additionally, organizations planning to issue an IPO often go through a preliminary IPO readiness evaluation to estimate the IPO share value, which can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months. For young businesses that require funding rapidly, this can be an excessively protracted investment waiting period.

Crypto Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs): The Rise of Tokenized Crowdfunding

security token definition


ICOs are a type of blockchain-enabled crowdfunding in which a company raises capital by selling cryptocurrencies or tokens. These digital assets are occasionally advertised as having future utility on the platform or blockchain to which they are linked. ICO token sales might be accessible to the public or restricted to a select group of investors. In many cases, an issuing project will start an Initial Coin Offering with a private sale for a small group of investors before going public. Certain crypto ventures, on the other hand, may forego a private sale entirely and launch their blockchain ICO directly to the public.

Investing in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is dangerous since it usually does not give buyers any ownership rights and lacks the legal safeguards that traditional stocks and other regulated assets do. This is why you should be interested in what is a security token. (Hint: Keep reading to learn more!) ICOs have drawn regulatory scrutiny, most notably from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has determined that sales made through an ICO constitute an unregistered securities offering in some cases.

ICOs are substantially less expensive for businesses to launch than IPOs, and they lower the entrance hurdles for investors. The lack of ICO laws, on the other hand, makes them hazardous and opaque. As a result, several projects considering launching a blockchain ICO may also want to consider an Initial Exchange Offering (IEO). The issuer transfers its newly minted tokens or coins to a crypto exchange, which manages the crypto sale and distributes on the issuer’s behalf. Because crypto exchanges conduct due research on crypto issuers before deciding to collaborate on an IEO, the IEO technique can provide legitimacy to the operation and allow the fundraiser to leverage the exchange’s existing user base.

What Are Security Tokens? A Hybrid of IPOs and ICOs That Combine the Best of Both Worlds


Security Token Offerings, or STOs, which combine the key features of IPOs and ICOs, are becoming increasingly popular among businesses and individual investors. The security token definition would be is that STOs are similar to Initial Coin Offerings in terms of procedure, with the exception that security tokens are subject to the same regulatory monitoring as an IPO, giving STOs and the token issuers involved a potentially higher level of legitimacy.

Organizations must follow several legal and compliance rules to launch an STO, and investors who purchase these tokens may be subject to regulatory restrictions. On the other hand, due to the regulatory policies under which the STO operates, investors who participate in an STO have certain safeguards and privileges. This reduces their chances of being duped by low-quality initiatives and frauds, which were widespread during the Ethereum ICO boom of 2017-2018.

Furthermore, security tokens offered through an STO have many distinct features that give them an edge over corporate stocks and other traditional securities. Because security tokens are traded on a blockchain, their ownership data is automatically confirmed and kept in an immutable yet publicly accessible way. From the issuer’s perspective, this lowers the cost of raising cash. It also simplifies the STO process for investors who would otherwise have to manage various forms of documentation and go via a financial intermediary to execute their transactions.

Because security tokens can be programmed with unique attributes and ownership rights, they can be used to automate traditional operations, combine numerous equity/stakeholder rights, and enable new modes of cross-functional asset interoperability, among other things.

While this unprecedented level of programmability means many security tokens are now operating in uncharted regulatory terrain, new rules and laws are expected to clarify and expand the current legal framework governing these new asset classes. As a result, STOs are gaining traction as a cost-effective way to raise cash, as they combine the advantages of blockchain-enabled crowdfunding with a high level of regulatory control. And are naturally, intriguing more people to ask about the security token definition so they can learn more!