What Is an IDO?

What Is an IDO?

9 Min.

An IDO, or Initial Dex Offering, is a token offering on a Decentralized Exchange (DEX) that provides an easy and inexpensive way for projects to distribute their tokens. Liquidity pools play a crucial role in IDOs as they offer liquidity after the sale. During an IDO, investors can lock funds in exchange for new tokens. A part of the funds raised is then added to a liquidity pool with the new token, which is later returned to the project.

The IDO models are still changing, and new models, such as Initial Farm Offering (IFO), are being introduced. As the market becomes more regulated, we may see an increase in KYC requirements. To participate in an IDO, you need a digital wallet, such as MetaMask, and cryptocurrency to pay the transaction fees. It is vital to conduct thorough research on the project and use a trusted DEX. You should carefully examine the IDO mechanics, the project team, and the tokenomics. Keep in mind that token offerings involve high risks, so invest only what you can afford to lose.


In the crypto ecosystem, a token offering can be an exciting opportunity for investors to purchase tokens at launch. However, the ICO (Initial Coin Offering) craze of 2017 on Ethereum was not all positive, with widespread scams and rug pulls leading to significant losses for investors.

Since then, alternative token offering methods have been developed, including Initial Exchange Offering (IEO), Security Token Offering (STO) and IDO. While IDOs have become a popular choice, investors may wonder how they differ from ICOs and whether they are a safer option.

A cryptocurrency token offering is a method of fundraising where a startup or project offers a new cryptocurrency for sale. This can be done through a variety of crowdfunding methods, including utilizing a centralized crypto exchange platform for management (IEO), working with a local financial regulator (STO), or conducting the sale alone (ICO). Investors may buy the coins for their utility or for speculation, such as using the coin for farming, staking in a governance mechanism, or paying transaction fees.

What Is the Function of an IDO?

A DEX is used to conduct an IDO, where a crypto project distributes its tokens to users who commit funds through the platform. These processes are automated through smart contracts on the blockchain.

Different DEXs have their own rules and stages for IDOs, but there are some common methods. Firstly, a project is vetted and accepted to run an IDO on a DEX. The project supplies tokens for a fixed price, and users lock their funds in exchange for these tokens, which they receive during the token generation event (TGE).

Secondly, there is usually an investor whitelist, and investors may have to complete marketing tasks or provide their wallet address to join the list. Some of the raised funds are used to create a liquidity pool with the project's token, while the rest of the funds are given to the team. Investors can trade the token after the TGE, but the provided liquidity is typically locked for a certain period.

Finally, at the TGE, the tokens are transferred to the user, and the liquidity pool opens for trading. It's essential to conduct thorough research on the project and use a trusted DEX before participating in an IDO. Token offerings are high-risk, and investors should only invest what they can afford to lose.

The Future of the IDO Model

The IFO model is an increasingly popular type of token offering that has some similarities with IDOs. While an IDO typically involves locking funds in exchange for tokens, with IFOs, investors must first stake in a DeFi LP to earn LP tokens.

Regulators worldwide are taking a bigger interest in DeFi and its regulatory status. This could mean that DEXs like those used for IDOs will be subject to the same rules as centralized exchanges. AML and KYC requirements are already standard for centralized exchanges, but they may become necessary for DEXs as well.

What Benefits Does an IDO Provide?

Token offerings have become more fair and secure for investors over time. IDOs have several advantages that contribute to this improvement.

  1. Investors do not need to engage directly with a project or trust their smart contracts. A reliable IDO platform will have completed several successful sales, and if the smart contracts are the same, investors can have some trust in the offering.
  2. IDOs provide immediate liquidity post-sale. This is achieved by locking up some of the funds raised in liquidity pools to create a liquid market post-sale. This helps reduce slippage and volatility.
  3. No sign-ups are required to participate in IDOs. Investors only need a wallet and funds to participate, and personal information is not required. This makes IDOs accessible to all kinds of users. However, the lack of KYC or AML processes can also be seen as a disadvantage.
  4. IDOs are affordable and accessible for projects. It is often easier and cheaper for a small, less-known project to launch its token through a DEX than a large, centralized exchange.
  5. IDOs often have anti-whale measures, meaning no single investor can buy a large number of tokens.

What Drawbacks Exist With an IDO

Participating in an IDO poses some potential drawbacks due to its anonymous and decentralized nature. One of these is the absence of KYC and AML measures, leaving investors and projects vulnerable to harm. Performing these necessary checks helps prevent the unlawful flow of funds and sidestep economic restrictions. In certain regions, IDO involvement may be prohibited if the token is deemed a security. Another weakness is the reduced project scrutiny in IDOs. As a result, unethical projects can more easily distribute their tokens compared to IEOs, which are conducted on regulated exchanges.

What Distinguishes an IDO, IEO, and ICO?

ICO, IDO, and IEO are different methods, although they achieve similar results. Here's a summary of the main differences:





Vetting processDEX reviews the projectCEX reviews the projectNo review as the project handles the sale themselves
FundraisingDEX manages investors’ fundsCEX manages investors’ fundsThe project manages investors’ funds
Smart contractsDEX creates and operates smart contractsCEX creates and operates smart contractsThe project creates and operates smart contracts
Token listingLiquidity pools open on the DEXExchange lists the tokenThe project must find an exchange to list on
KYC/AMLNot requiredRequiredNot required

Where to Find IDOs?

To locate an IDO, the primary source is the project's website. Engage with the project's community and follow their social media accounts to get started. DEXs can also be checked for a list of forthcoming IDOs. For a comprehensive list of upcoming IDOs, CoinMarketCap offers a list of token offerings. Keep in mind that not all of the listed offerings are IDOs, but CoinMarketCap accurately labels those that are.

How to Join an IDO?

To participate in an IDO, you require a crypto wallet that can connect to DApps such as MetaMask, as well as some crypto to purchase the tokens and pay transaction fees. The cryptocurrency required for the sale is dependent on the specific IDO, and LP tokens may be necessary if you are taking part in an IFO.

Once your wallet is ready, connect to the IDO DApp using the connect button. Follow the instructions provided to lock your funds in preparation for the token generation event, and ensure you have sufficient funds for transaction fees. After the subscription period ends, your tokens will be transferred to your wallet in most cases. However, some sales may require that you lock or stake your tokens for a specified period. Be sure to read the sale details before joining an IDO.

Safety Tips in an IDO

When investing in an IDO, it's important to take precautions to minimize risks. Here are some practical tips:

  • Use the correct subscription link to the IDO. Scammers may create fake subscription pages to trick investors into sending their crypto to them.
  • Use a trusted DEX Launchpad to participate in IDOs. There are many reliable DEXs available that offer secure token sales.
  • Research the project you're investing in. Check if the team behind the project is reputable and trustworthy, whether funds raised will be vested, and if there is already a usable product.
  • Carefully read and understand the IDO terms and conditions. Tokens purchased during the sale may be locked or delayed for a period.
  • Lastly, only invest what you can afford to lose. Token sales are known for their high volatility, and even with sound research, there is still the risk of scams or rug pulls. Don't invest more than you're comfortable losing.

IDO Platforms

When it comes to finding DEXs that offer IDO services, there are plenty of options available on different blockchains. To simplify your search, you can check out CoinGecko’s list of Top Launchpad Coins by Market Capitalization. Most DEXs have their own coins, and the list includes all of them. However, keep in mind that a high market capitalization doesn’t necessarily mean that a DEX is reliable or trustworthy. You should consider other factors as well before deciding which DEX to use for an IDO.


The popularity of IDOs has surged in the crypto market due to their affordability, ease of use, and accessibility, making them a standard fundraising model for many new projects. This has led to the emergence of a whole industry for token offerings. While participating in an IDO through a Decentralized Liquidity Exchange is generally safer than investing directly in a project, selecting the right project is crucial for success. To achieve this, conducting thorough research in the crypto space remains the best approach.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)