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An initial coin offering (ICO) is a phenomenon that has become popular thanks to the rise of cryptocurrencies, notably Bitcoin and Ethereum. For stock market watchers, an ICO is somewhat like an IPO, except that those who participate in the ICO do not actually own coins; rather, they own an option to buy coins at a discounted price. In exchange for this option, participants must pay the organizing party in some other cryptocurrency.
As is the case with any investment, an ICO does entail risk, especially because the purchaser does not yet own any new coin. That said, so many people have participated in ICOs that the Economist estimates roughly $250 million was spent on ICOs in recent months.
Here are nine of the most anticipated ICOs slated for the coming months.
Other than building a resume and contributing to important projects, there is currently no incentive for developers to work on open-source projects. That will change with FundRequest, a new platform that allows organizations to reward open-source contributors by sharing cryptocurrency as an extra incentive.
Related: Cryptocurrency Just Hit A Major Milestone — and Entrepreneurs Shouldn’t Ignore It
It can be difficult for early-stage startups to incentivize employees. Often it is not feasible to offer early hires a salary they deserve. Offering stock options can be expensive should the company become a success, and legally difficult without the help of a lawyer. Enter Starbase, a platform that allows employers to provide early hires with a stake in the business via cryptocurrency shares. These shares incentivize employees, who can sell shares at any time, meaning the incentive is much more liquid, and therefore more useful.
Related: From $100 Million to Broke to Betting It All on Cryptocurrencies
Engagement is the new gold standard. However, many advertisers fail to drive valuable engagement on publishing platforms simply because their ad placements are not relevant to the content site visitors are exploring.
SolidOpinion is changing that. The company helps advertisers and publishers alike spark deeper engagement using a unique rewards-based system. By using a proprietary cryptocurrency called Engagement Tokens, SolidOpinion empowers publishers to reward site visitors who engage with site content through article comments and subscription sign-ups. Additionally, advertisers can use Engagement Tokens to purchase space under relevant article headlines that serve as a natural tie-in to their product or service, using an auction-based “pay-per-article” model.
Related: 6 Cryptocurrencies You Should Know About (and None of Them Are Bitcoin)
4. Dispatch Labs
Related: Why You Can’t Afford to Ignore Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Anymore
In today’s world, one thing has become crystal clear: data has value. Facebook has been able to compile rich datasets about its users, and now makes billions selling ad space based on this data.
Our genes comprise some of the most data-rich entities in our world. Zenome wants to monetize genomic data in order to (among other things) allow scientists to develop new medicines. A participant anonymously uploads their genomic data to a database, and in return is paid in cryptocurrency. Drug companies and researchers would then study this data for various purposes.
Related: 10 Companies That Are Getting Creative With Cryptocurrency
Imagine you can sell a car without ever needing to meet the buyer in person. Bankex intends to make any asset a liquid asset via two sets of tokens. The first token is called a product token. If I am selling a car to you, you will receive the product token, which is essentially proof of ownership of the car. In exchange for selling the car, I will receive a Bankex token, which is essentially another form of cash.
Related: 5 Trends In Cryptocurrency Entrepreneurs Need to Know
Purchasing a home is a stressful proposition, made even more stressful by various rules governing the transfer of assets from home buyers to home sellers. CPROP is a cryptocurrency platform that hopes to solve this problem by providing buyers, sellers, banks and governments with access to a single platform to manage the entire purchasing process.
Related: Crypto Debit Cards are Taking Bitcoin Mainstream. How Entrepreneurs Can Benefit.
Make money by performing micro tasks. This is the simple but powerful promise of Storm, a platform that pays freelancers for performing small tasks like watching a video or trying a product via Ethereum.
Related: 5 Essential Podcasts for Entrepreneurs Serious About Cryptocurrency
MakeItViral (also known as MIV) is what would happen if YouTube was created with cryptocurrency in mind. MIV is a video platform designed to reward creators with cryptocurrency for creating content that “goes viral” or that viewers enjoy. Creators are paid either through viewer donations or when a video performs particularly well on the platform.
The rise of cryptocurrencies has made it possible for entrepreneurs to found companies that harness the benefits of the new technology-based financial systems. The results are enjoyable and useful experiences via all sorts of applications. The ICOs scheduled to happen in 2018 have the power to transform entrepreneurship, and the world.