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How to Participate in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

Initial Coin Offerings  (ICOs) have become a hot topic in the cryptocurrency scene, and everyday more people ask how they can buy into these ICO’s. Usually it’s a pretty standard process, so once you do it for the first time, you’ll be fine for any other ICO you want to participate in.

Lets get right into it…

Getting Prepared (1-2 Days Before the ICO Start)

Since most ICO’s take place on the Ethereum Blockchain, you’re going to need to obtain some Ether (ETH). Most ICO’s will accept a variety of payment currencies, but in this guide, we’re going to proceed as if we’re using ETH. If the ICO is a big one, with a lot of hype surrounding it, it’s not uncommon for the Ethereum network to slow to a crawl so that’s why you need to obtain your ETH 1-2 days before the ICO start.

Next, on most ICO’s you’ll notice statements that say something similar to: “Do not sent ETH directly from an exchange, only use supported wallets”. This is because you’ll need to send “data” along with the transaction along with a specific “gas limit” – those terms will be more clear in a second.

I recommend using MyEtherWallet.com for participating in ICO’s. It’s secure and simple to use. It’s easy to create a new wallet, just follow the instructions on screen (basically it’s enter a password, download your file, save your private key and you should be good to go)

Make sure your ETH is confirmed and in your MyEtherWallet wallet by at least 1 day before the ICO.

The Day of the ICO

Just before the ICO begins, have your wallet unlocked and ready to send and have your browser open to the ICO crowdsale page.

Usually there will be a countdown timer on the page, so once it hits 0, refresh your page until you see that you can contribute.

Here’s an example from a recent ICO:

Get Transaction Details

Get Transaction Details

You’ll notice the ETH Contract address which you need to send your ETH to, “Gas” or “Gas Limit” – which is 300000 in this case, a gas price (not in every ICO) of 25 Gwei and Data (not in every ICO, but in most). Once you have all the necessary information, you can go over to MyEtherWallet and generate the transaction.

Click Send Ether & Tokens if you’re not already on that page. Next, click +Advanced to reveal the Data field.

Reveal Data Field

Reveal Data Field

Now, enter the details you got from the ICO page and change your gas price:

Enter ICO Contract Details

Enter ICO Contract Details

Change the Gas Price

Change the Gas Price

Once you confirm everything is correct, click Generate Transaction and then click Send Transaction and finally click Yes, I am sure! Make transaction. After you click that, your transaction will be sent to the blockchain, where it will sit until it’s mined. If the Network is performing slow, be sure to get in as early as possible to be sure your transaction gets confirmed on time.

After the ICO

Once the ICO is finished, the next step is to wait. Wait for any sort of update from the team. Follow their social media and join their email lists. Sometimes, you’ll be able to see the tokens in MyEtherWallet shortly after you contribute. To do this, look on the right side of MyEtherWallet for “Token Balances”.

Token Balances

Token Balances

If provided, you can Add Custom Token and include the given address, the token symbol and the decimals (should be provided). Once you hit save, you’ll be able to see the coins in your wallet.


Good Luck and Invest Wisely!



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