Bitcoin Global News (BGN)
March 21, 2018 -- ADVFN Crypto NewsWire -- Initial Coin Offerings
(ICOs) have become an extremely popular way to crowdfund
cryptocurrency and other projects while avoiding fiat financing
rules and regulations. ICOs raised around $6.5 billion in 2017 and
$2 billion so far in 2018. The Ethereum smart contract ERC20
standard made this all possible and almost too easy to do.
ERC20 tokens are sold in ICOs in exchange for ether (ETH), the
native currency of the Ethereum blockchain. “ERC” stands for
Ethereum Request Comment, and “20” is an arbitrary number assigned
to the technical standard.
ERC20 standardizes functions that make it easy for ICO projects
to develop and deploy tokens. The standard also creates
cross-project synergies that enable the fast and secure function of
cryptocoin wallets holding ERC20 compliant coins and cryptocurrency
exchanges listing ERC20 compliant coins for trade.
Among the largest ERC20 tokens by market cap are EOS, TRON,
VeChain, OmiseGO, ICON, Binance Coin, DigixDAO, Walto, Populous,
Maker, Status, RChain, and Augur.
Before the ERC20 standard was formalized in 2015, there were
compatibility issues among the various forms of Ethereum tokens.
Each cryptocoin created on top of another token had a unique smart
contract which required the writing of new code for each exchange
or wallet that wanted to accept a new token, which was risky and
time-consuming. A smart contract cannot be changed once it is
initiated by the ICO developers. If a smart contract contains
vulnerabilities or bugs, investors could lose their funding or the
tokens they bought with their funds, like with what happened with
the $55 million DAO hack. The industry came up with the ERC20
standard as the solution to these problems for all tokens that
ERC20 defines a common list of rules ("functions and signals")
which, all working together, ensure that different types of ERC20
tokens will be cross-compatible within the Ethereum system. This
ERC20 compliant functionality can be used, for example, to set the
total amount of tokens in circulation to either a simple fixed
amount or to a fluctuating amount based on a programmed ruleset.
This way, developers have the ability to program how new tokens
will function within the Ethereum ecosystem.
The Ethereum blockchain processes ERC20 token transactions. Your
Ethereum wallet is your gateway to the Ethereum blockchain,
allowing you to secure and hold ether and ERC20 tokens.
MyEtherWallet.com (MEW) is often used to manage ether and ERC20
tokens. The tokens can be secured from theft by pairing MEW with a
ERC20 tokens use 'gas' to process transactions on the Ethereum
blockchain. Gas is not a cryptocurrency or a token. It is a payment
to the Ethereum network, paid in ethers, and proportional to the
amount of work needed to perform the associated computation.
Transactions with more gas will go to the "front of the line" on
the Ethereum blockchain network and thus be processed more
One downside of the ERC20 standard is that it makes deploying a
token too easy on a technical level. ERC20 does nothing to ensure
valuable, useful or even functional tokens. Case in point:
CoinLaunch’s CoinCreator (www.coinlaunch.market/coincreator)
lets you create your own ERC20 token.
ICO teams who would have been otherwise incapable of launching
an ICO are now able to, creating a “Wild West” environment. This
has led to a plethora of very similar tokens, which in turn has
created a lot of confusion and danger for prospective
What does this mean for anyone considering investing in an ICO
or an altcoin? Investor due diligence and a very healthy dose of
paranoia are essential for any chance of success.
By: BGN Editorial Staff