An Initial Coin Offering, or ICO, is a fundraising method that trades future crypto coins for cryptocurrencies of immediate, liquid value. ICOs are similar to IPOs (Initial Public Offerings) in that they both offer investors an opportunity to invest in the development of a company's product or service before it hits the market. However, ICOs differ from IPOs in that they require no equity investment from the user and typically do not give users voting rights.
An ICO is the process of distributing tokens to early adopters. ICOs are often used for bootstrapping a new protocol or company via crowdfunding using cryptocurrency, especially bitcoin.