What is the Difference Between an ICO and STO?

Security Token Offering (STO)

STO stands for Security Token Offering, a type of fundraising event that uses blockchain-based tokens to represent an investment in a company or asset. Security tokens are different from other types of tokens because they represent an ownership stake in the issuing company, giving investors a share of the profits and other rights associated with ownership.

Initial Coin Offering (ICO)

ICO stands for Initial Coin Offering. It is a type of crowdfunding using cryptocurrencies. In an ICO campaign, a percentage of the cryptocurrency is sold to early backers of the project in exchange for legal tender or other cryptocurrencies. The money raised during an ICO is typically used to fund the development of the project and the launch of the associated platform.

What is the difference between an STO and an ICO?

The main difference between an ICO and an STO is that ICOs are unregulated, while STOs are heavily regulated. ICOs are more like crowdfunding campaigns, while STOs are more like traditional securities offerings. With STOs, companies must adhere to the regulations set forth by their jurisdiction, and investors have more legal protection.

STOs give business owners more security:

Every token is registered with and verified by the SEC. As a result, there is less chance of making a poor investment. An STO, which is backed by real assets like real estate investment trusts, is stored on a blockchain.

STOs are only available to authorized investors:

Companies can investigate the investor’s reputation and assess their track record before letting them jump into the business and share stock or trust with them.

STOs are the following however, ICOs are not:

Investors in ICOs have no guarantees, and there is a big chance they could fall for a pump-and-dump fraud. The SEC and the parties involved regulate each and every STO transaction. This rule may be both a blessing and a curse since, while it offers security to businesses and investors, it also slows down transactions.

Investment transparency as a result of stringent regulation:

It is clear from a comparison of ICOs and STOs that the latter provides businesses with more transparency. All business strategies and plans will be updated to give investors a clearer picture of the company they will be investing in.

Less potential investors:

One of the STO’s few disadvantages for companies is this. STO investor selection is more challenging than ICO investor selection. The available funders, on the other hand, are more reliable and knowledgeable, and every decision they make will be rigorously examined.

The high entry barrier for STO investors:

The bulk of investors in tokens profit from large levels of liquidity and low levels of control. The level of market transparency offered by ICO Security tokens is lower than that of regular ICOs. Although engaging with startups is obviously easier, intermediaries and monitoring are unlikely to be entirely eliminated by STOs. All exchanges are regulated and registered with the SEC. STO exchanges will also function on other systems known as alternative trading platforms.

Advantages of both ICOs and STOs: 

• Both ICOs and STOs provide a way for companies to raise capital.

• Both ICOs and STOs offer investors the potential to make a return on their investments.

• Both ICOs and STOs are often faster and more cost effective than traditional investment methods.

• Both ICOs and STOs are digital and global, making them accessible to a larger pool of investors.

Risks around an ICO and STO

• ICOs are unregulated, so there is no legal protection for investors.

• STOs have the potential to be manipulated by the issuing company or malicious actors.

• Both ICOs and STOs have the potential to be scams.

• Both ICOs and STOs can be vulnerable to hacking.

• Both ICOs and STOs can be subject to high volatility.

Examples of STO vs ICO

Blockchain platforms to develop STO


A platform called Securitize provides end-to-end support for companies wishing to tokenize their assets. To make sure that the company has credible stockholders, Securitize reviews investor profiles, including login details and the source of funding.


Polymath is the second Ethereum-based investor who focuses on the issue of security tokens. The tool also has its own ST-20 token standard and a system of smart contracts.

Blockchain platforms to develop ICO


NEO is also referred to as “Eastern Ethereum.” NEO has a number of advantages, so anyone looking to start a fundraising should take it into consideration. NEO is a blockchain platform for the development of smart contracts and digital assets.First, the platform’s architecture emphasises scalability. Unlike Ethereum, NEO can process up to 10,000 transactions per second. The platform also makes use of the well-known programming languages. This suggests that beginning a project on this platform will be far less complicated.


The Ethereum platform is an open-source, distributed computing platform based on blockchain technology. The most popular platform for ICO support right now is Ethereum. The use of ERC20 tokens by Ethereum standardised initial coin offerings (ICOs), in a manner similar to how the HTTP standard altered how we see the internet. The ERC20 technical standard can be used by anyone who wants to launch their own token.


The key difference between ICO and STO is that ICOs are unregulated while STOs are heavily regulated. This means that STOs offer investors more legal protection and transparency, but they also have a higher entry threshold. Both ICOs and STOs have the potential to be scams, so it is important to do your research before investing. There are a variety of blockchain platforms that can be used to develop both ICOs and STOs, depending on the specific needs of the project.

Brugu Written by:

Brugu team contributes the time on blockchain research to gain knowledge and maintains consistency in implementing the best practices on development of software".The team develops decentralized business applications and blockchain technology integrated business solutions to transform and improve traditional business processes. Every obstacle to start blockchain business has to be abolished if we want to build a better and brighter business growth.

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