How to write a white paper for an ICO
The Bob Pritchard Column
I know many people who are planning ICO’s, Initial Coin Offerings and the first place to start is with a White Paper. There are several necessary components to a successful token sale or ICO, but for the most part, they all follow the same basic narratives.
It is often easier to point out what ICO’s do wrong, than what they do right. For example, most projects fail to describe why the reader should care about their existence. When you’re writing anything intended to be persuasive, it’s imperative to answer the following questions as soon as possible:
- Who are you? Introduction/Team
- What are you creating? Solution/ Product/Tokenomics
- Why should I care? Problem/ Industry Overview/Market Inefficiencies /Technical Overview
- How are you going to deliver what you’ve promised? Roadmap / Tokenomics /Token Utility/MVP/Use Case.
Most projects do pretty well at the first two points, they falter when explaining why the reader should care, and how they plan on delivering. These questions are pivotal because they lend themselves to several different sections of a white paper.
It’s extremely important that you spend time thinking about these questions. It’s painfully obvious how thought out a token is when you talk to founders about writing their white paper. How serious they are about the business can often be shown by how quickly they’re able to answer the questions.
The “Team” section of the white paper is usually near the end, however, I’d suggest displaying it prominently on your website. So that when someone downloads your white paper, they see the team first. This way they’ll be able to see how qualified your team is before reading up on the problem you’re aiming to tackle.
The “Introduction” is not about who you are as a person, it is about what you seek to do? Why do you want to do it? How will the world or your industry be different once you’ve completed it? Explain your greater vision in your “Introduction”, and in “Team”, show them you have what it takes to execute on that vision.
How is your company creating a solution? What does this solution look and feel like? Have you thought out the Tokenomics? Will any coins be burned? Why not use BTC or ETH instead of creating your own coin?
Focus on benefits, not functionalities. You have talked about all the amazing functionalities your ICO is going to deliver. Now, it’s time to explain why anyone should give a flying f**k. What do all those functionalities mean to me as a user? How is the proprietary algorithm” you bragged about in prior sections going to benefit me as an individual?
So, how are you going to deliver what you promised? Explain why the team can execute on the milestones you’ve outlined in the roadmap? Does anyone on their team have any relevant past experience? If you are building a marketplace, has anyone on the development team built a marketplace before? If you’re a B2B project, do members of the team have relationships they can rely on to generate leads?
The killer ICO’s and Token Sales of 2018 will be the companies that have found a way to utilize blockchain technology to fix something that is impossible to fix with anything other than blockchain. It takes a true understanding of blockchain to create solutions that genuinely need the technology to improve, unfortunately, these necessary solutions are the minority in ICO’s.
There will always be need of trusted voices in the investment community, but what the ICO markets are showing is that the world has incredible demand for future-looking projects!