The sale of a cryptocurrency, ahead of it going public, to specific investors.
Developers may also perform a pre-sale in order to create buzz ahead of the ICO, hoping for a price surge when the asset goes public.
It is worth noting that pre-selling can come with risks. If a project fails, investors can find themselves owning worthless tokens, unable to make a profit from their investment. This adds to the fact that, when the actual ICO takes place, the plethora of coins now available to the public might dampen the value of the ones they initially bought.
On the other hand, developers have to be wary of investors who might offload pre-sold token shortly after launch, making a decent profit.
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