Pre-sale: A pre-sale is a fundraising event that some ICO developers choose to organize before the actual ICO, in order to raise some money to offset the costs involved in organizing the ICO. Usually, the fundraising targets will be much lower than in the actual ICO, which will follow soon after.
Accepted payments: The currencies in which the developers will accept funds for the ICO.
Token Limit: The total number of tokens that will be sold in the ICO, before it ends.
Hard Cap: The absolute upper limit of funds the developers will accept during the ICO. If more funds are received, these will be returned to investors.
Soft Cap: Usually a much lower limit than the hard cap: this indicates how much the developers are actually hoping to raise. Developers can choose to stop fundraising when the soft cap is reached or go on. Usually, when the soft cap is reached, the ICO is considered a success.
Product: The blockchain-based, decentralized project for which the ICO is raising funds.
Use of blockchain: The ICO is raising funds for a project that works using a decentralized, public ledger system, which is called the blockchain. Investors will often scrutinize whether the project actually requires a blockchain-based system, when they are deciding whether or not to invest.
Whitepaper: A whitepaper is an extensive document in which they developers behind the ICO highlight their strategy, introduce their team, and explain their ultimate goals for the project. It is an extremely important document for investors to look through when they are deciding whether or not to invest in a particular ICO.
Roadmap: The roadmap is a timeline, which the developers use to convey their immediate and long-term goals to investors. An ICO without a roadmap will often make investors feel there is insufficient planning on the part of the team of developers.
Compliance: When developers create an ICO, it is important that they research the legalities of such a venture – the project’s compliance to various regulations which may exist in their country – beforehand, so as not to get in legal trouble.
Company and Team: The company or team of developers behind the ICO. As an investor, it is important to conduct some research into the experience of various team members: can they be trusted to successfully carry out the project?
Token sale: The moment at which the ICO actually starts selling its own tokens, i. e. the cryptocurrency it awards to investors in return for their financial support.
Hype: As an investor, it is important not to be carried away by hype or so-called “FOMO”, or Fear Of Missing Out. Always conduct your own independent research into whatever ICO you are investing in, so as not to lose money on unsuccessful or fraudulent ICOs.
Risk: While each ICO investment comes with some risks – after all, even many startups conducted by honest and experienced people fail – an investor can reduce his investment risks sharply by doing proper online research into a project’s goals and its team’s experience.
Readiness: Before launching an ICO, developers must assess whether the project is ready to become a public venture – is it fully developed enough, and is the use of blockchain justified enough, to involve a group of international stakeholders?
Target User Base: The Target User Base is the group of people to whom the project the ICO raises funds for may become useful. It is important for developers to consider this beforehand; if the Target User Base is too narrow, chances of the project becoming fully funded are slim.
Competition: When creating a new ICO, it is important to bear in mind that the cryptocurrency market is becoming increasingly competitive. Both developers and investors should ask themselves what sets this particular project apart from the competition.
Innovation: The most important thing for a new crypto project to achieve is innovation – i. e. locating a gap in the market and attempting to fill this. Investors will not wish to spend funds on a project that simply does the same thing as an already existing technology. It is important to think about the new, exciting features this project brings to the market.