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Reverse ICO


A Reverse Initial Coin Offering (Reverse ICO) is a process that allows established businesses to raise funds through cryptocurrency. Unlike a traditional ICO where startups sell their tokens to raise capital, in a Reverse ICO, a company that has an existing and viable product releases its own cryptocurrency tokens for investors to purchase. This allows the company to tap into additional funding via blockchain technology while offering investors potential equity or a share in the company’s profits.


The phonetics of “Reverse ICO” is:/rɪˈvɜːrs/ /ˈaɪsiːəʊ/

Key Takeaways

Sure, here you go:

Main Takeaways about Reverse ICO:

  1. Traditional Business Entering Blockchain: A primary characteristic of Reverse ICO is that it typically involves a traditional company that has been in operation for some time and is shifting into the blockchain industry. Unlike conventional Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) where startups raise funding to launch their services, these established enterprises are transitioning to incorporate decentralized blockchain technology.
  2. Greater Stability & Trust: Reverse ICOs tend to exhibit greater stability and reduced risk as compared to regular ICOs, mainly because it involves companies with a proven track record. Investors and participants are likely to have more trust in the project as it’s backed by an existing, established business. This also offers an added assurance of the project’s success and continuation post the ICO.
  3. Token Conversion: In many cases, companies doing a Reverse ICO offer their stakeholders the chance to convert their equity or value in the company into tokens. The newly issued tokens can then be used within the new blockchain-empowered ecosystem the company is building, thus enabling all holders to participate actively in such an ecosystem.


Reverse ICO is a significant concept in the business and finance world because it opens up new avenues for traditional companies to enter the blockchain space. Companies that already have established product/service lines and customer bases can conduct a Reverse ICO where they issue their own tokens, most likely to raise funds and decentralize their existing business models. This allows them to leverage the benefits of blockchain technology, such as increased transparency, enhanced security, and improved efficiency. Furthermore, a Reverse ICO can facilitate better customer engagement and loyalty as customers can become actual stakeholders in the business. The reverse process also enhances trust, as the company conducting the ICO is already established and operational, reducing the risks usually associated with traditional ICOs launched by startup companies.


A Reverse Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a fundraising method primarily utilized by existing, often successful businesses within the cryptocurrency world. Its primary purpose is to decentralize an existing product or service, typically one that is operational, profitable, or shows substantial promise. This is in contrast to traditional ICOs where funds are raised to develop a proposed project. The funds raised from a reverse ICO are used to convert an existing business into a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO) where decisions are made by stakeholders rather than a centralized authority.The reverse ICO provides an opportunity for businesses to tap into the potential benefits of the blockchain technology – such as enhanced data security, operational efficiency, transparency, and the elimination of middlemen- in a way that promotes stakeholder engagement. Moreover, reverse ICOs can also aid in greater network participation as tokens issued to the public promote active involvement in the platform ecosystem. Through this, businesses can potentially leverage more significant user base, faster innovation, and improved resilience to regulatory changes.


1. Kik Interactive: In 2017, Kik, a popular messaging app, launched a Reverse ICO to raise funds by selling its own token, Kin. The purpose of the token was to incentivize user engagement and create an internal economy within the app. This was a real-world example of a traditional company using blockchain technology to raise funds and drive user growth.2. Telegram: In 2018, Telegram, a cloud-based instant messaging software, also conducted a Reverse ICO. They raised billions of dollars through the private sale of their TON (Telegram Open Network) tokens. The main aim of this reverse ICO was to build a blockchain-based platform that would offer services like file storage, DNS and even accommodate decentralized apps built by third-party developers.3. Unikrn: Unikrn is an esports betting company that successfully carried out a Reverse ICO in 2017. They sold their utility token UnikoinGold (UKG) which is used on their gaming platform. The objective was to utilize blockchain technology for transparent and secure betting on their platform. Please note that while these examples were initially projected to be successful, the actual outcomes varied. For instance, Telegram’s project was ultimately halted due to regulatory issues with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Reverse ICO?

A Reverse Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is a fundraising method utilized mainly by existing, established businesses. It involves creating and selling utility tokens or cryptocurrencies to the public, effectively tokenizing the business.

How does a Reverse ICO work?

In a Reverse ICO, an established company introduces a token – usually based on the Ethereum blockchain – that serves to raise funds in exchange for future services. Unlike a traditional ICO that allows startups to raise capital, the Reverse ICO allows already established businesses to move into the decentralized mark.

Why would a company go through a Reverse ICO?

A Reverse ICO offers an avenue to become a blockchain-based entity and make their product or service available across various digital currencies. It often gives businesses a chance to develop a more sophisticated digital economy, build a community, and gives them exposure to new markets.

Are Reverse ICOs safe?

Like any investment, Reverse ICOs carry risks, including market volatility and the potential for fraud. However, since Reverse ICOs are carried out by already established entities, investors often have more information to base their decisions on and these companies have existing reputations to uphold.

How is a Reverse ICO different from a regular ICO?

The main difference is the status of the offering company. While a traditional ICO is often utilized by startups looking to raise funds to begin pushing out their projects, a Reverse ICO is typically conducted by an already operational company looking to digitalize and decentralize its operations.

How do I invest in a Reverse ICO?

Investing in a Reverse ICO usually involves buying the token during the offering period. This typically involves having an Ethereum wallet and purchasing the tokens using Ethereum or other accepted cryptocurrencies.

Can I use fiat money to invest in a Reverse ICO?

It depends on the specific Reverse ICO. While most Reverse ICOs, much like regular ICOs, typically accept cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Bitcoin, some also accept fiat money. Always check the details of the offering from the official company source.

Related Finance Terms

  • Blockchain: The technology that underpins cryptocurrency and, by extension, Reverse ICOs. It is a decentralized database where all transactions are recorded.
  • Token: A special kind of virtual currency that represents some sort of value or utility in a project. In the case of Reverse ICOs, tokens are often issued to investors.
  • Initial Coin Offering (ICO): A type of crowdfunding that involves the sale of a new cryptocurrency or token to fund project development.
  • Cryptocurrency: A digital or virtual form of currency that uses cryptography for security, of which tokens issued in Reverse ICOs are an example.
  • Decentralization: One of the defining features of blockchain technology and Reverse ICOs, which refers to the lack of a central authority overseeing transactions and issuances.

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