Section 1: What is an ICO?
Initial Coin Offering a.k.a ICO is a fundraising tool used by startups working on new blockchain projects. An ICO is akin to an IPO, but with some notable differences. An ICO provides a chance to trade future crypto-currencies against crypto-coins having current liquid value such as bitcoin or Ethereum. Most new digital assets and currencies mainly traded against bitcoin and ether. They also trade against other digital assets and fiat (USD, EUR, GBP) as well.
Crowdsale, crowdfunding and token sale are among other popular terms for ICOs.
See also: What is an ICO Pre-Sale?