Similar, even in name, to an initial public offering (IPO) in which a private company’s stock first becomes public, an ICO happens when a cryptocurrency startup wants to raise funding in order to further the development of their coin. The startup releases some of their coins (often referred to as “tokens”) to traders, who purchase these tokens in the hope that the project succeeds and those coins gain value. If the predefined minimum funding is not reached, the money is sometimes returned to the traders.
Many users forgot one of the most important features of Bitcoin—controlling your own money—and left more than 800,000 bitcoins in Gox accounts. In February 2014, Gox halted withdrawals and customers were unable to withdrawal their funds. The company’s CEO claimed that the majority of bitcoins were lost due to a bug in the Bitcoin software. Customers still have not received any of their funds from Gox accounts.
Around 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto founded Bitcoin. At the time, a paper was published through the Cryptography Mailing List. The first Bitcoin software client was released in 2009, and he collaborated with many other developers on the open-source team, careful never to reveal his identity. By 2011, the enigmatic Bitcoin founder had disappeared. His peers understood how valuable this cryptocurrency was, and worked feverishly to develop it to its maximum potential.