Although more and more frequent, ICOs remain an esoteric concept for many of us. Let’s take a few moments to try to understand this phenomenon and the various fundraising variants in the field of cryptocurrencies.It has been a few months since the financial authorities around the world have been interested in the case of ICOs (Initial Coin Offering). A sudden infatuation following an explosion in the number of fundraisers in cryptocurrency.Bancor, Filecoin, Status, Tezos these names probably do not tell you anything, but it is nevertheless about companies that are raising, or have already raised, tens of millions of euros of financing through ICO, leaving traditional investors behind.If the concept of the ICO is very clear for those who regularly handle crypto-currencies, it is a little more complicated to apprehend for the rest of the world. Given the importance that this subject should take in the coming months, with the regulatory impulses of authorities around the world, we decided to explain it to you.Before going any further, if the universe of cryptocurrencies is not familiar to you at all, we invite you first to take a look at our previous article, detailing the concept of blockchain (or distributed register).At the beginning, was EthereumThe first notable ICO is that of Ethereum in 2014. The organizers were looking to finance the development of a new blockchain, different from that of Bitcoin with the implementation of the famous Smart Contracts.Rather than simply launching a Kickstarter or soliciting traditional investors, the team behind Ethereum chose to propose to anyone interested in the project to exchange bitcoins for Ether, the future cryptocurrency linked to the blockchain. the Ethereum. In just a few weeks, more than $ 18 million was raised, with an exchange rate set at $ 0.4 per Ether.In this context, it is possible to define an ICO as the presale of a new cryptocurrency, in the form of a crowdfunding campaign, by raising funds in cryptocurrency. But this definition does not cover all possible cases.The smart contracts and The DAOAs a reminder, and this is important for the future, a smart contract is a small piece of code that automatically executes a given task when certain conditions provided for in advance are met.To give a very concrete example of their interest, the insurer Axa makes a simple use of this function with his insurance Fizzy. If an aircraft arrives more than two hours late at destination, the insured must receive compensation. The smart contract then scans a database for the arrival time of the aircraft, and triggers a payment when a sufficient delay is found.It is however possible to push the concept a little further with more complex tools. Thus was born The DAO, the first Decentralized Autonomous Organization to come to life on the Ethereum blockchain. It is in fact an autonomous group, without physical reality or legal form, which exists only by its presence on a blockchain.A DAO can interact with the outside world by sealing smart contracts with third-party providers. If a DAO wants to engage in the production of boards, it is enough for him to sign a contract with a lumberjack to buy the raw material, a carrier, and a sawmill to transform it.These (standardized) tokens are then comparable to the shares of a company and can be exchanged through the Ethereum blockchain. The operation as a whole can be seen as an IPO, except that here the shares are only exchangeable through a blockchain.CoindeskJune 2017462 millionJuly 2017574 millionAugust 2017134 millionSeptember 2017537 millionSince the beginning of the year 2017, $ 2.1 billion has been raised via ICOs, attracting the interest of financial regulators around the world. And for good reason, currently, few nations have set clear rules on the management of ICO, resulting in a kind of far-west where the very serious mixes with the most dubious initiatives.Regulators are now trying to get on the bandwagon and put in place a legislative framework that is a little more reassuring for investors. Meanwhile, some countries like South Korea have decided to ban this type of operation on their territory.