Initial DEX Offering (IDO)

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What is an Initial DEX Offering (IDO)?

Initial DEX Offering (IDO) is a modern mode of crowdfunding or fundraising carried out on a decentralized exchange (DEX). The IDO model is based on the principle of decentralization, removing the need for an intermediary to facilitate the token sale.


Unlike its predecessors – initial coin offerings (ICOs) and initial exchange offerings (IEOs) – where the token sale process was managed on centralized platforms, IDOs provide an open platform on a DEX that allows crypto projects to issue and sell tokens directly to users.

Techopedia Explains the Initial DEX Offering Meaning

Techopedia Explains the Initial DEX Offering Meaning

In the simplest Initial DEX Offering definition, it is a fundraising method employed by decentralized finance (DeFi) projects, particularly those built on DEX platforms.

In an IDO, a project launches its tokens directly on a decentralized exchange platform, allowing users to participate in the token sale and acquire the project’s tokens. Participants typically use cryptocurrencies like Ethereum (ETH) or other compatible tokens to purchase the newly issued tokens.

The primary advantage of an IDO is that it leverages the decentralized nature of blockchain technology, providing greater accessibility, transparency, and decentralization compared to traditional fundraising methods. However, IDOs also come with their own set of risks, including potential security vulnerabilities and regulatory uncertainties.

Participants in an IDO need to conduct thorough research on the project, its team, and its tokenomics before investing, as the decentralized nature of IDOs means there may be limited recourse in case of fraud or loss.

IDO History

The crypto ecosystem has borne witness to several fundraising models over the years, with IDOs being the latest entrant.

These methods have evolved from ICOs, plagued by issues such as scams and irregularities, to more regulated forms like IEOs and security token Offerings STOs.

In 2013, the first initial coin offering was held by Mastercoin Protocol, which raised $500,000 in Bitcoin (BTC). IDOs gained prominence in 2019, with Raven Protocol announcing the world’s first IDO on Binance DEX.

Since its introduction, IDOs have progressively enhanced their models, gaining traction due to low costs, minimal regulations, and decentralized control, thus reshaping the landscape of crypto fundraising.

How Do IDOs Work?

The process of an IDO is fundamentally similar to an ICO or IEO but with one critical difference. In an IDO, the token is issued directly on a decentralized liquidity exchange – these are crypto exchanges that rely on liquidity pools (LPs) of different tokens, where traders can swap tokens directly on-chain.

A liquidity pair, such as USDT/ETH, for example, forms part of the liquidity pool.

In a typical IDO, a crypto project offers its tokens to investors via a DEX, the investors, or users, commit their funds via the exchange, and the DEX completes the token distribution based on predefined parameters set in smart contracts on the blockchain.

The project’s tokens are then immediately available for trading, providing instant liquidity.

Liquidity pools are at the core of IDOs and play an integral role by offering liquidity post-sale. This process works as users lock funds in exchange for the new tokens during the token generation event. A portion of these raised funds, along with the newly minted tokens, is added to a liquidity pool.

This pool, typically locked for a specified period, ensures there is market liquidity for the token after the sale, enabling holders to trade their tokens freely.



IDO, IEO, and ICO are all methods used by cryptocurrency projects to raise funds, but they differ in several key aspects:

  • ICO: In an ICO, the project sells its tokens directly to investors through its website or other channels.
  • IEO: In an IEO, the token sale is conducted on a centralized cryptocurrency exchange platform. The exchange typically vets projects and facilitates the sale process.
  • IDO: In an IDO, the token sale takes place on a DEX platform, which operates without intermediaries. There’s no central authority overseeing the sale.

  • ICO: After the ICO, the project’s tokens need to be listed on cryptocurrency exchanges through negotiations between the project team and the exchanges.
  • IEO: The tokens are usually listed on the exchange hosting the IEO shortly after the offering is completed.
  • IDO: Tokens are immediately tradable on the DEX platform where the IDO took place, as they are issued directly on the exchange.

  • ICO: Open to anyone who finds and participates in the token sale.
  • IEO: Generally open to users registered on the hosting exchange, which may have specific requirements or restrictions.
  • IDO: Open to anyone with access to the decentralized exchange platform hosting the IDO, usually requiring only a compatible cryptocurrency wallet.

Regulatory Compliance
  • ICO: Regulatory compliance requirements can vary depending on the jurisdiction, and many ICOs have faced scrutiny from regulators.
  • IEO: Since the sale is conducted through centralized exchanges, they may impose certain regulatory requirements on projects, providing a level of investor protection.
  • IDO: Regulatory compliance may vary, but since IDOs occur on decentralized platforms, they may face less regulatory oversight compared to ICOs or IEOs. However, participants should still consider any applicable regulations.
  • ICO: Susceptible to scams and fraudulent projects since there is often minimal vetting by third parties.
  • IEO: Projects are typically vetted to some extent by the hosting exchange, reducing the likelihood of scams.
  • IDO: Projects may undergo less formal vetting, so participants need to conduct their own due diligence. However, the decentralized nature of DEX platforms can enhance security in some aspects.

In summary, while all three methods serve the purpose of fundraising for cryptocurrency projects, they differ in terms of centralization, accessibility, regulatory compliance, security, and other aspects.

Why Do We Need IDOs?

IDOs have become a popular method for raising funds in the cryptocurrency space, offering several advantages over traditional methods like ICOs and IEOs.

For one, IDOs contribute to the decentralization of fundraising by allowing projects to directly interact with users on DEX platforms. The method also provides a more inclusive approach to fundraising, enabling anyone with an Internet connection and a compatible cryptocurrency wallet to participate.

Furthermore, IDOs support the development and adoption of innovative projects within the DeFi space. By enabling these projects to raise funds directly from the community, IDOs empower creators to pursue novel ideas, experiment with new protocols, and explore unconventional use cases for blockchain technology.

By eliminating intermediaries and conducting token sales directly on DEX platforms, IDOs can reduce the costs associated with fundraising for both project teams and investors. This cost-effectiveness makes participation in token sales more accessible and attractive to a broader range of stakeholders.

Staying Safe in an IDO

Participating in IDOs can be rewarding, but it’s essential to prioritize safety and due diligence. Here are some tips to stay safe while participating in an IDO:

Research ProjectsVerify the Legitimacy of the PlatformSecure Your WalletVerify Token ContractsManage Risks

Before participating in an IDO, users need to conduct extensive research on the project, its team members, its whitepaper, and its goals. It is recommended to look for red flags such as anonymous teams, unrealistic promises, or lack of transparency.

It is important to ensure that the DEX platform hosting the IDO is reputable and secure. This can be done by checking for reviews, community feedback, and any past security incidents.

Users need to utilize a trusted and secure cryptocurrency wallet to participate in the IDO. The wallet should be properly secured with strong passwords, two-factor authentication (2FA), and any additional security measures provided by the wallet provider.

Before sending funds to participate in an IDO, users need to verify the token contract address to ensure that it matches the official contract provided by the project team. It is necessary to avoid interacting with contracts that have not been audited or verified by reputable third-party auditors.

Finally, users need to consider the risks associated with participating in an IDO, including potential loss of funds, price volatility, and regulatory uncertainties. One valuable piece of advice can be: only invest what you can afford to lose and diversify investments across multiple projects to mitigate risk.

Popular IDO Platforms

In 2024, several IDO platforms have gained popularity, each offering unique features and advantages for crypto projects and investors.

Here are some of the notable IDO platforms:

DAO Maker
Known for its Strong Holder Offerings (SHOs), DAO Maker supports multiple blockchains, including Ethereum and BNB Chain.

Known for its cross-chain token pools and auctions, Polkastarter supports various blockchains, including Polkadot and Kusama, and is praised for its fair token distribution mechanisms.

Specializes in launching projects on the Binance Smart Chain (BNB Chain), offering a fair token allocation system that prevents monopolization by large buyers.
As a launchpad and incubator, Seedify supports projects on Ethereum, BNB Chain, and Solana. It’s heavily involved in the gaming and NFT sectors.
TrustSwap is a multi-chain launchpad that supports various blockchains, including Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain, and focuses on making IDO participation straightforward and secure.
Republic Crypto
Combines venture capital approaches with IDO accessibility, providing projects with both capital and a robust platform for public token sales. This hybrid model helps projects from seed to maturity stages.

IDO Pros and Cons


  • Trustworthy smart contracts
  • Immediate liquidity
  • No signup hassle
  • Affordability and accessibility
  • Anti-whale measures


  • Lack of regulatory oversight
  • Limited project scrutiny
  • Lack of KYC and AML

IDO Future

The future of IDO is closely tied to the evolving landscape of DeFi and the broader cryptocurrency market, with several promising trends indicating their growing relevance and potential for continued innovation.

In the first place, IDOs continue to thrive due to their decentralized nature, which aligns with the ethos of blockchain technology. They democratize access to funding, allowing a wide range of investors, including retail, to participate early in promising projects.

Moreover, with technological advancements, IDOs are increasingly supporting cross-chain functionalities, which enhance interoperability among different blockchain platforms.

The IDO model could also be influenced by broader market dynamics, including cryptocurrency adoption rates, investor sentiment, and economic factors. As blockchain technology gains mainstream acceptance, IDOs may see increased participation from both traditional and crypto-native investors.

The Bottom Line

As the crypto landscape continues to evolve, IDOs have emerged as an innovative method for token offerings. By providing immediate liquidity, reducing costs, and embracing a decentralized model, they offer several advantages for both project owners and investors.

However, as with any financial endeavor, potential participants are urged to conduct thorough research before partaking in an IDO, as the crypto world, though rewarding, can also be fraught with risks.

Despite these risks, IDOs represent a promising development in crypto fundraising, reflecting the ever-evolving nature of this digital ecosystem.


What is an Initial DEX Offering (IDO)?

What is the difference between IDO and ICO?

What is an example of an IDO?

What are the benefits of IDO?


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Ruholamin Haqshanas
Cryptocurrency journalist
Ruholamin Haqshanas
Cryptocurrency journalist

Ruholamin is a crypto and financial journalist with over three years of experience. Apart from Techopedia, he has been featured in major news outlets, including Cryptonews,, 24/7 Wall St, The Tokenist, Business2Community, and has also worked with some prominent crypto and DeFi projects.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in Mechatronics. Ruholamin enjoys reading about tech developments, writing, and nature-watching