Crowdsale: Everything to Know

By  Beluga Research August 18, 2023

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  • A cryptocurrency crowdsale is a decentralized fundraising method where digital tokens are sold to the public, enabling project funding and token distribution
  • Crowdsales gained traction with Ethereum's introduction of smart contracts in 2015, enabling projects to create and distribute tokens easily
  • Participating in a crowdsale requires thorough research, an established wallet, and sending funds to a designated address within a specified time window
  • Crowdsales offer global access, early adoption opportunities, transparency, capital, global reach and community building


A cryptocurrency crowdsale is a decentralized fundraising method where digital tokens are sold to the public, enabling project funding and token distribution. Crowdsales leverage the decentralized nature of blockchain networks to facilitate direct investment, bypassing intermediaries such as banks or venture capitalists. By issuing tokens, projects create a cryptographic representation of value that can be bought, sold, and traded on various cryptocurrency exchanges. These tokens often serve a specific purpose within the project's ecosystem, such as granting access to services or representing a stake in the project's success.

A Brief History

The concept of cryptocurrency crowdsales gained significant traction with the rise of Ethereum in 2015. Ethereum introduced the concept of smart contracts, which are self-executing agreements with predefined rules encoded on the blockchain. These smart contracts made it possible for projects to create and distribute their own tokens easily. The first notable crowdsale on the Ethereum network was the launch of the project called "The DAO" (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) in 2016. The DAO aimed to create a decentralized venture capital fund, but it encountered a critical vulnerability, leading to a controversial hard fork of the Ethereum blockchain.

What is Crowdsale?

Participating in a crowdsale involves a series of steps and considerations. Firstly, individuals interested in a project must conduct thorough research to understand its goals, technology and team. This includes reviewing the project's whitepaper, which outlines its vision, its technical details and tokenomics. Tokenomics refers to the economics and mechanics of the project's token, including its distribution, utility and potential for appreciation.

To participate in a crowdsale, individuals typically need to have an established cryptocurrency wallet and sufficient funds in the specified cryptocurrency. Projects often set a minimum investment threshold, and participants must send their funds to a designated address during a specified time window. In return, participants receive the project's tokens directly to their wallet. It is crucial to exercise caution and verify the authenticity of the crowdsale, as the cryptocurrency space is susceptible to scams and fraudulent projects.

Once the crowdsale concludes, participants can choose to hold the acquired tokens or trade them on various cryptocurrency exchanges. The success of a crowdsale often depends on the project's ability to deliver on its promises and create real-world value. Investors should carefully consider the project's potential for adoption, market demand, competition, and regulatory factors before participating in a crowdsale.

Getting Started

To participate in a cryptocurrency crowdsale, the first step is to have a digital wallet capable of storing and transacting with the relevant cryptocurrencies. Popular options include wallets like MetaMask or hardware wallets such as Ledger or Trezor. Once a wallet is set up, the necessary cryptocurrencies will need to be acquired to participate in the crowdsale. This usually involves purchasing Bitcoin or Ethereum from a cryptocurrency exchange and transferring them to the designated wallet.

Next, it's imperative to research and identify the crowdsales of interest. It's crucial to conduct due diligence on the project, including evaluating their whitepaper, team, roadmap and any other available information. This will help assess the project's legitimacy, viability and potential for future growth. It's important to note that not all crowdsales are created equal and there are risks associated with investing in early-stage projects.

Once a crowdsale is selected to participate in, it's necessary to follow the instructions provided by the project team. This typically involves sending the required amount of cryptocurrencies to a specified address during a specified timeframe. In return, the project's tokens are delivered directly to the specified wallet. It's essential to carefully follow the instructions and double-check the wallet address to avoid any mistakes that could result in the loss of funds.

Unique Aspects

Cryptocurrency crowdsales offer several unique aspects that set them apart from traditional fundraising methods. One notable aspect is the global nature of crowdsales, as they allow anyone with an internet connection to participate, regardless of their geographical location. This opens up investment opportunities to a broader audience and fosters a more inclusive financial ecosystem.

Additionally, crowdsales provide early adopters and enthusiasts the opportunity to support promising projects from their inception. Investors can potentially benefit from the appreciation of the project's tokens if the project succeeds and gains traction in the market. However, it's important to remember that investing in crowdsales comes with risks, including the possibility of losing the entire investment if the project fails to deliver on its promises.

Furthermore, the decentralized nature of blockchain technology ensures that transactions during crowdsales are transparent and recorded on the blockchain, providing an immutable and auditable record of the token distribution. This transparency helps build trust between the project team and participants, as it allows individuals to verify the accuracy and fairness of the crowdsale process.


  • Access to Capital: Crowdsales provide a means for blockchain projects, particularly startups, to raise capital without relying solely on traditional funding sources. This opens up opportunities for smaller projects with limited access to venture capital or established financial networks.
  • Global Reach: With crowdsales, projects can attract investors from around the world, breaking down geographical barriers. This global reach allows projects to tap into a larger pool of potential investors, increasing the chances of securing the necessary funding for their development.
  • Community Building: Crowdsales often foster a sense of community around a project. Investors who participate in a crowdsale become stakeholders, aligning their interests with the success of the project. This can lead to a dedicated and passionate community that supports and promotes the project, providing valuable feedback and engagement.
  • Liquidity and Trading: Successful crowdsales can result in the tokens or coins being listed on cryptocurrency exchanges, providing liquidity and creating opportunities for trading. This allows early investors to potentially realize profits by selling their tokens on the open market. Liquidity also enables token holders to use the tokens for various purposes within the project's ecosystem.
  • Innovation and Disruption: Crowdsales have played a significant role in funding innovative projects and disrupting traditional industries. By providing funding to blockchain projects, crowdsales have facilitated the development of decentralized applications (dapps), smart contracts, and other transformative technologies.


  • Lack of Regulation: Crowdsales operate in a relatively unregulated space, which can expose investors to potential risks. The absence of comprehensive regulations may lead to fraudulent or malicious projects, making it crucial for investors to conduct thorough due diligence before participating in a crowdsale.
  • Market Volatility: The cryptocurrency market is known for its volatility, and this extends to tokens issued through crowdsales. The value of tokens acquired during a crowdsale can fluctuate greatly, potentially leading to significant gains or losses for investors. This volatility can make it challenging to accurately assess the long-term value of tokens acquired during a crowdsale.
  • Lack of Investor Protection: Unlike traditional investment avenues, crowdsales often lack the same level of investor protection. Investors may face challenges in seeking recourse if a project fails to deliver on its promises or if there are fraudulent activities. It is essential for investors to carefully evaluate the credibility and track record of the project team before participating in a crowdsale.
  • Limited Information: Due to the nascent nature of many blockchain projects, the available information during a crowdsale may be limited. Detailed technical specifications, business plans or regulatory compliance measures may not be fully developed or disclosed. Investors need to carefully assess the available information and evaluate the project's potential based on the provided details.
  • Overcrowded Market: The popularity of crowdsales has led to a crowded market, with numerous projects vying for attention and funding. This saturation can make it challenging for projects to stand out and attract sufficient investor interest. Investors may need to navigate through a sea of projects to identify those with genuine potential.