ICO is the abbreviation for Initial Coin Offering (also called Initial Public Coin Offering (IPCO) or Token Sale).
An ICO is a blockchain-based form of financing for companies by way of crowdfunding. Companies can issue so-called tokens or coins against payment of cryptocurrencies or money, similar to shares in an Initial Public Offering.
The BaFin has already published guidance notes on the classification of tokens as financial instruments. It examines tokens on a case-by-case basis to determine whether they constitute financial instruments within the meaning of the German Securities Trading Act (WpHG) or the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II), whether they constitute securities within the meaning of the German Securities Prospectus Act (WpPG) or whether they constitute investments under the German Investment Act (VermAnlG). This examination is based on the legal requirements of the legal norms in the area of securities supervision, i.e. in particular the WpHG, WpPG, the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR), the VermAnlG as well as other relevant laws and relevant legal acts under national and EU law in the area of securities supervision.