If a person or company is looking to launch a cryptocurrency, the process usually starts with an initial coin offering, or ICO. Much like initial public offerings (IPOs), during which investors can purchase shares of a company, ICOs give investors an opportunity to purchase units of the new cryptocurrency. Most ICOs are funded with other cryptocurrencies. According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, ICOs carry a risk of fraud and manipulation, specifically because cryptocurrency markets are largely unregulated.
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