China banned initial coin offerings in September as "a form of unapproved illegal public financing behavior." South Korea followed suit a few weeks later. Regulators in Hong Kong, Singapore, the U.S. and other countries have also expressed concerns. What is it that has them so worried?
Initial coin offerings raised more than $2 billion worldwide in the first nine months of 2017, according to CoinDesk, a cryptocurrency data provider. In an ICO, investors purchase virtual "coins" -- programs coded on a blockchain or a similar distributed digital ledger -- that can be used to pay for an online service the issuer is developing.