How To Launch An ICO, A Detailed Guide
last year, it seemed that everyone was either running ICOs or taking share in them, with the total come of funds raised throughout the year nearing a $ 5 bln mark. If you ’ re read this, chances are you ’ re considering getting in on the action. While there are projects such as Useless Ethereum Token, which was very probable created by a single person in no fourth dimension at all and still somehow managed to raise about $ 200,000 in contributions, your future project will need quite a significant amount of time a well as a give team to attract significant funds. fair a fiddling disclaimer before we proceed : hosting a successful ICO from rub is going to be rather expensive. It takes approximately $ 60,000 to launch such a crusade, but this total can vary depending on the project and its goals.
besides, launching an ICO campaign is quite time-consuming. In most cases, pre-public engagement phase, which includes all the processes prior to the first big announcement, takes roughly six months to one year. The post-public engagement phase, which includes everything that happens between the first base announcement and the actual sale of tokens, normally takes around three months. This timeframe is often considered retentive enough to gain the public ’ randomness attention and abruptly enough for the public not to forget about the project. When it comes to the team involved in the project, again, there is no rule of finger regarding the amount of people you ’ ll indigence on board. The key here would not be hiring as many people as you possibly can, but covering every individual area of expertness necessary for the plan to come to life sentence. That includes developers, Blockchain and cryptocurrency specialists, PR and selling deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as advisors, partners and early investors. thus, in the land of ICOs, there are no set rules, the competition is cutthroat, time is an magic trick and the future value of tokens is not supported by anything but demand. To assist you in navigating through this lunacy, here ’ s a comprehensive checklist designed to help you launch your very own successful ICO.
1. Come up with an idea, think it through and make sure that your project actually needs an ICO
If you want your project to be successful, it has to offer a solution that the market presently needs, and this solution should be objectively better than what your competitors have to offer. To achieve that, you need to have a thorough understand of that market, know your target audience and, most importantly, know what they will be bequeath to give you their money for. obviously, if your project is sourcing its fund through an ICO crusade, it will have its own token. According to the CoinMarketCap ‘s data, there presently are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies in being. so, if your token is to survive this contest, let entirely gain any value, it will need to be in very senior high school need. To achieve that, you need to think of a way to integrate a cryptocurrency into your visualize in a utilitarian and meaningful way, so that it becomes an essential and integral part of the intersection. Do you in truth need tokenization if you ’ rhenium sell toothpaste ? If your project will be using tokens unnecessarily, it is extremely likely that the investors won ’ metric ton flush consider putting their money into your project. A good way to test-run your idea and get some initial feedback would be creating a thread on BitcoinTalk forum, tagging it [ pre-ANN ] for pre-announcement.
2. Know your competition
Who are you competing against ? One might think it ’ s any other undertaking offering similar services to yours. well, you ’ re actually competing for the investors ’ money, so the answer here is very simple : you ’ re up against everyone else. Yes, literally every single ICO being held roughly at the same clock as yours.
3. Research the legal side of things and find out if ICOs are actually legal in your country
ICOs are presently the most regulate aspect of cryptocurrencies there is. This is due to the high volume of ICOs shutting down and running aside with the gather funds or plainly being exposed as scams. however, in most countries, Initial Coin Offerings are either legal, regulated or national to future regulations. so far, alone China and South Korea have explicitly banned ICOs in their respective jurisdictions. In the US, citizens are required to disclose any income earned and wealth held afield to the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ). furthermore, the US Security and Exchange Commission ( SEC ) is prosecuting ICOs that are not compliant with their rigorous Know-Your-Customer policies. Because of that, a quickly growing numeral of projects, such as Goldmint, Datum, Monaco Visa, and many others have explicitly exempted US citizens from buying their tokens. Bottom line is you need to learn how to navigate the cryptocurrency regulations that are presently in place and pay close attention to any future changes to them. This credibly goes without saying, but still, don ’ thyroxine break the law. Hiring a lawyer with know in cryptocurrency and ICO regulations wouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate go amiss. Keep in mind though, even if you ’ re not breaking any laws, any fishy activity on your share, specially in relation to handling the investments, may result in your project being labeled as a victimize by the cryptocurrency residential district. If that happens, your ICO is doomed to fail. sol, not only do you need to obey all the relevant laws and regulations, you need to be completely diaphanous in how you ’ re going to handle people ’ s money. Spendings, taxes, decree withdrawals and any other fiscal aspects of the project in truth need to be thought out to the very end detail.
4. Create an ICO token
Think of your project as a human being. The technical architecture is its skeleton that supports its integral soundbox. The blockchain engineering and the token itself routine as blood vessels, enabling the whole body to fully routine. Firstly, you need to have a solid distribution plan. It heavily depends on a particular ICO ’ s requirements and plans. For example, there can be many different stages of the nominal sale, including but not limited to a private sale, pre-sale, the actual ICO and a general sale. unlike structures work for unlike ICOs. Back in 2013, NXT managed to raise $ 16,800 worth of Bitcoin simply collecting donations to an anonymous wallet via the BitcoinTalk forum. Interestingly adequate, after all these years NXT ’ randomness ICO still holds the number one spot in terms of Returns of Investment. On the early pass, we have Telegram which managed to raise $ 850 mln during a preferably close pre-sale, and apparently they are preparing a irregular round of pre-sale, aiming to double the measure of investments even before the actual ICO happens. Next, you need to clearly outline how exactly the tokens are going to be distributed. Decide in advance how many tokens will be issued in total, how many will be distributed among your team members and how many will be sold during each stage of the token sale. finally, decide in which finical scenario you will issue extra tokens. When it comes to blockchain platforms used to issue tokens for ICOs, the market actually international relations and security network ’ metric ton that competitive. According to the ICOWatchList data, 81.7 percentage projects use the Ethereum chopine, while the other 9 % choose for developing their own custom-made blockchain platforms. There are, of course, other services such as Waves, Stratis or Hyperledger, but even their compound share of the market amounts to equitable 3.7 percentage. Creating the token itself is a relatively easy action, particularly when it comes to Ethereum ’ s ERC20 tokens. Ethereum ’ s web site even lists the code you will need to use. however, customizing certain aspects of a herd sale logic for your tokens might be a morsel more unmanageable, so if you ’ rhenium not precisely tech-savvy, consider hiring a professional to do that for you. For more detail information, check out our usher on ICO platforms.
5. Write a white paper
A white paper is a largely technical document that describes your integral undertaking in every possible detail. ideally, it should cover literally everything : market analysis, your vision of the project, its development scheme, computer architecture and goals, information on the nominal and its distribution, legal issues, your available resources, a description of your team, early investors and advisors and sol on, and on, and on. Everything. Read our lead on how to write a white paper here. Of course, not every possible investor will carefully read through a detail technical description of your project. possibly ten people will read the entire thing. But it ’ s those ten-spot people that you need to satisfy with the white newspaper because they are capable of bringing some serious problems on your ICO. The Blockchain enthusiasts have a capital understanding of technical aspects and a substantial sum of expertness, they are extremely big and valued people within the community. They are public opinion leaders with audiences of tens of thousands of people. If you ’ ra running a big PR political campaign, but your plan has some obvious flaws, those people won ’ triiodothyronine miss their opportunity to expose them.
6. Launch a website
Content. People are only truly interested in three things : the team, the visualize ’ sulfur aims and the measures in place to ensure the security of the investors ’ interests. One of the foremost things you ’ ll determine on Nuvus ’ second web site is the detailed breakdown of the keepsake sale structure. not only does this block present the data is pass way, but it besides heavily contributes to building FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. The ‘ team ’ section of the web site should contain names, high-quality photos, brief biographies, ( focus specifically on team members ’ skills relevant to this especial project ) and links to sociable networks. Personify the project. ‘ Team ’ section of the like ICO should ’ ve been more informative, we don ’ thymine even get to know those people ’ second roles in the project. Shpring does it a bite better. ClearCoin actually includes bios, which is extremely helpful. Although, those could be shorter. Another enormously important section of your web site is the roadmap. It should contain clear and realistically accomplishable goals and set timeframes. A roadmap with some crucial milestones already being ticked off will undoubtedly give the investors a lot more confidence in your plan. ideally, your timeline should include set dates of an alpha acquittance, beta handout, public release and all the future milestones you deem necessity to mention. The dates shouldn ’ thymine be obscure, you need to be a specific as possible. A dislocation of costs associated with every undertaking outlined in the roadmap would besides be a quite thoroughly idea.
Read more: How Much Is 14 Mg Of Gold Worth
Roadmaps can be presented in respective forms. The examples above from Nuvus, Sapien and PikcioChain contain both history and future plans, are preferably enlightening and set concrete dates in terms of quarters. finally, make certain that all the information concerning token distribution is well accessible to your future investors. Let them know what part of your stick out ’ second currency will be distributed among the development team, and how many will be actually available to buy. traditionally, links to the project ’ s social networks are listed at the bottom of the web site, like Shping did it :
Of course, there are always other options, as demonstrated by the apt placement of this section on peak of the foliate on the ClearCoin ’ s web site : Layout. once you have all the contented ready to be published, take some time to think about the web site ’ south layout. The absolute majority of projects these days are opting for a single-page structure. Without a doubt, it ’ s a very convenient and easily-accessible way of presenting all the necessary information in the exact order it ’ south intended to be in. still, you and merely you will know the most suitable structure for your project ’ s web site. Security. now, one matter you decidedly don ’ thymine want your web site to do is to be down at any luff of time. once your ICO starts, provided it got sufficient interest from the community, thousands of people will be flocking to your web site all at the same time. The last thing you ’ five hundred want in this position is your web site crash, thus make surely to invest in a good and reliable host avail. furthermore, hacking and DDoS-attacks are besides a very common threat for any project running an ICO. There have been many instances of official websites being hacked and the wallets ’ addresses being replaced. As a result, investors unwittingly sent their money to scammers. besides, if you ’ ra running a large PR political campaign, make certain to take all the precautions necessary to protect your project from phishing attacks. It is quite common for fraudsters to accompany a DDoS-attack on your server with an all-out spam attack across every possible social distribution channel with a message saying something like ‘ our web site is temporarily down, use this liaison rather. ’ Design. The web site ’ second design should ideally reflect the nature of your project, it has to be authentic, look slick and professional, even friendly. even a bantam error in, say, textbook format will repeal a fortune of investors. decidedly, consider hiring professionals to both build up and design your project ’ s web site.
Here’s roughly what the perfect website should include:
- Subscription form
- Presentation Video
- Roadmap: what, when and how you’re going to do
- Description of your ICO
- The team: high-quality photos, short bios, social networks links
- Press coverage: pictures with Vitalik Buterin and other prominent members of the cryptocurrency community, links to articles and publications, videos of presentations and talks
- Description of your product
- Real-life cases
- Documents: terms & conditions, legal, whitepaper, etc.
- Partners, advisors, early investors
- Contact information and links the project’s social networks account
Translating. It is besides worth pointing out that if you ’ ra developing a rightfully ball-shaped visualize, you might want to consider translating your web site into the mother tongues of your prey audiences. When it comes to ICOs, the most useful languages to translate all the relevant information to are taiwanese, japanese, korean, russian, german, french and spanish. Considering that it costs around $ 60.000 to create a successful ICO from scratch, you will only need to allocate a relatively small sum of money for translations. Depending on a speech pair, a translation of a 25-page white paper done by a professional or an agency should cost somewhere between $ 150 and $ 300. If you do decide to create a multilingual web site, make sure that you hire professional translators who are decidedly good at their job. even the bantam of mistakes will result in your project looking unprofessional and losing electric potential investors.
7. PR and marketing
indeed, you have everything taken care of. You developed an idea, gathered a dedicated team, wrote a white paper, created your token and made certain your ICO campaign complies with all the applicable laws and regulations. now, it ’ s time to promote it. otherwise, there is no probability of you making any money. so, make sure to allocate a substantial sum of money for market. Prices for paid information list can drastically vary from around $ 400 to $ 15.000 and up to a about infinite number. A good community coach who will be in charge of your visualize ’ s social networks ’ feeds will cost you at least $ 2,000 per month. besides, make certain to use pay ads to your fully advantage. That includes Google ads, forum ads and so on. Around $ 5,000 should give you a adequate userbase of capable investors. last, consider how much money ( or tokens ) you ’ re will to allocate to bounty programs, in keys they ’ re a part of your PR-campaign. similarly to designing the web site, planning a PR-campaign is where you need to have a front at your project from the point of opinion of a potential investor. Consider how and where will your audience find out about the plan, and, most importantly, precisely how will it be presented to them. You need to be able to clearly define where your visualize positions itself within the current commercialize and put together your first line of communication : an F.A.Q. and your Terms & Conditions. The integral cryptocurrency market is driven by one particular herculean force : FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. People will invest in your venture if the hype around it is so knock-down that it makes them believe they ’ ll miss out on an amazing opportunity if they won ’ t do so.
Сonstant communication is key
Make sure that your team is constantly communicating with the investors, both prior to the ICO campaign and during it. The more communication channels you use, the more likely your project will be a success. Think social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, and forums like BitcoinTalk and Reddit.
Be a part of the cryptocurrency community
here are some of the ways of engaging with the cryptocurrency community :
- Forums: The essential part of your PR-campaign. Back in the day, most ICOs were held on Bitcoin-related forums. BitcoinTalk is the one you really need to focus on, as it is the biggest and most popular of such platforms right now, especially when it comes to announcements of new cryptocurrencies. Of course, you shouldn’t forget such forums as Bitcoin.com, AltcoinTalks, BitcoinGarden and many others.
- ICO calendars: People need to be able to stumble upon your campaign by accident. There are a lot of ICO calendars which enable potential investors to track upcoming ICOs, and you should be taking full advantage of such services. Notable examples include calendars by CoinTelegraph, TokenMarket, ICOAlert and many, many others.
- Reddit: Pay very close attention to this one. Reddit has over 40 subreddits related solely to Bitcoin, and it is perhaps the most active social network when it comes to cryptocurrencies. There are also numerous subbreddits dedicated to altcoins, as well as those fully focused on ICOs, such as r/icocrypto (active and upcoming ICOs), r/ico and r/ICOanalysis. Moreover, make sure to constantly monitor the platform and make use of the search bar to find and track threads about your project and it’s ICO. Actually finding people’s questions and answering to them should be a big part of your marketing campaign.
- Quora discussions: Quora is a community built around users asking a question and getting comprehensive answers to them. While researching for this article in particular, as well as many other ones related to cryptocurrencies, I must’ve visited Quora at least a few hundred times. Your best strategy here would be to not just let other people discuss your project but to answer any questions directly. Much like with forums and Reddit, proactive communication will go a long way here.
- Slack & Telegram: Those are the two messengers most widely adopted by the cryptocurrency community. Most importantly, both services enable you to set up channels, which is an extremely useful way of keeping your audience updated on your campaign. Moreover, you can also set up a chat for your potential investors to communicate and discuss the project. The more open you are about it, the more funds you’re likely to attract. Moreover, you can use already existing channels and chats to promote your ICO.
- LinkedIn professional groups: Considering that your project’s website provides links to your team members’ LinkedIn accounts, the service becomes another extremely useful tool for both promotion and instilling confidence in your potential investors. This is where they’ll be able to see how deeply-rooted your project is in the cryptocurrency community. Moreover, there are professional groups such as ICO Launch group, ICO group and many others where you can discuss and promote your campaign.
- Facebook groups: Definitely create a Facebook page for your ICO, as for many people it might be the easiest way to reach out to a startup. Bear in mind, though, that this platform can’t be used as a tool of paid promotion anymore, as Facebook is banning all cryptocurrency and ICO-related ads. However, there are still many dedicated groups, such as this one, where you can promote your campaign. Moreover, keep in mind that Facebook is very international and you might be able to find a lot of language-specific groups on there which will be suitable for promoting your ICO as well.
You need to keep people updated with a weekly e-mail. You could besides remind them about the start date of your ICO a calendar month, a week, a day or even five minutes before it begins. Although, don ’ t force them on people and decidedly don ’ triiodothyronine send out excessively many emails : no-one likes plowing through piles of spam chain mail in their inbox.
These days, many ICOs are offering bounty programs. such programs entail fiscal rewards for users ’ PR-activities. basically, this means paying people for promoting your ICO on forums, maintaining language-specific threads on diverse services and messengers, translating and localizing documents, posts on social media, blogs and thus on. While there are a bunch of advantages to this approach, you should truly try to not go overboard with it. Experienced users will well spot paid-for posts and publications, and if the word gets out that your visualize abuses bounty programs, the community will inescapably get leery. At the end of the day, no one likes aggressive advertise and your merchandise should be able to sell itself without you having to resort to paid promotion within the community.
If your political campaign is to be successful, you will have to advertise it through any means possible, making sure you ’ ve reached as many people in the community as possible. But it is overriding that you and your commercialize team are very careful with every single publication, post or answer. even if fair a couple of users on any forum, subreddit or social network will have any reason to suspect that your ICO is a scam, it will heavily affect the consequence of your crusade. other likely investors will be conducting exhaustive checks on your project, and they will find those negative opinions about it. No ICO can afford to run that kind of risk, so always make certain to cautiously choose your words. Remember, there is nothing more damaging for an ICO campaign than the cryptocurrency community labeling it a scam.
8. Launch an ICO
Congratulations, your initial Coin Offering is live ! But how long should it last for ? Let ’ s take a count at some successful ICOs from the past :
- Mastercoin (now Omni Coin) — ICO lasted for one month, raising about $750,000 worth of Bitcoin
- Stratis — ICO went on for 36 days, raising almost $600,000
- Ethereum — Token sale went on for 42 days, raising $18 million
- NXT — ICO happened over 51 days, raising $14,000
- Waves — Token sale lasted 49 days, raising over $16 million
Taking the aforesaid statistics into consideration, childlike mathematical manipulations will lead us to the ideal duration of a successful ICO standing at 41 days. Of course, this is barely an average number based on five campaigns and by no means a fortunate ratio of some sorts. however, it does reflect the stream marketplace situation to some extent. The timeframe is farseeing adequate to generate FOMO and ballyhoo around the project, which attracts more people and more investments, while it isn ’ t excessively long for the investors to see some actual results and the project to proceed ahead. Communication is the most authoritative creature in disposal of any cryptocurrency-related project, and this is particularly true during the actual ICO. Ideally, you should have specialists in every aspect of your plan there is on around-the-clock duty. Remember, this is the decisive period in your project ’ south history, there will be people seeking answers to their contiguous questions before contributing, or merely asking for guidance on how to do so. Most importantly, you need to have security specialists on call at all times. At any given moment, your web site can be discipline to an attack, as it was the sheath with the Coindash ’ s ICO on July, 17th, 2017. Their web site was hacked on the very first day of their ICO campaign, which resulted in the loss of $ 7 million.
What happens after an ICO
If your ICO was a success, that means that the residential district has delivered. now, after the campaign ended, it is your project ’ s turn to deliver. now is the time to distribute the tokens, continue following your roadmap and try a hard as you can to deliver angstrom much value as possible for customers and token holders. basically, this is only the begin. Your ICO was the easily character. now that your project raised the fund required, the development of the end intersection should start or, preferably, continue on a much larger scale. At this steer, your project not entirely has the funds to do what it set out to do, but besides a moral adenine well as a fiscal debt instrument to not let the investors down.
Get your token out on exchanges
Of course, calibrate your merchandise, making your dream of being a successful entrepreneur come true and making the cryptocurrency community a better locate by developing and integrating your project is capital. But, in the interim, your team and your investors will be expecting the plan to do something else : make everyone rich. In order to do therefore, your keepsake needs to be in demand, it has to be valuable and, most importantly, it needs to get listed on at least one cryptocurrency exchange. Different exchanges will have different requirements for tokens to be listed, but if your project offers something unique and rightfully valuable to the cryptocurrency community, you shouldn ’ t have any problems getting it in. Poloniex is one of the biggest and most well-established exchanges out there, and here is a direct quote from their web site : “ We do n’t have a definitive located of criteria as each project is unique. We listen to the community and blue-ribbon projects that we believe are unique, advanced, and that our users would be matter to in trade. We besides look for products that have solid ( organic ) commercialize necessitate. ” Another major cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, has a team dedicated entirely to reviewing applications for new tokens waiting to be listed. Most other exchanges will require your token to prove its worth in a exchangeable way.
The basic attributes that any coin needs to have if it is to get listed on an exchange :
- Coin name- This should be self-explanatory, it is either the same name as you project has, or something very similar.
- Coin trading symbol- Usually a three-letter ticker that will represent your token forever. The amount of letter can sometimes go up to five, with no numbers allowed.
- Description of your project and its token- You need to provide every exchange you’re trying to get your token listed on with a clear mission and a pitch for your coin. Why would they want to list it? What makes your token different to hundreds of other coins floating around?
- Coin logo- You will need to design a slick and memorable logo for your token. Think Bitcoin’s instantly recognizable orange logo. Most exchanges accept logos in PNG format with a transparent background.
- Launch date- This should be the first day of your ICO campaign.
- GitHub link- Most exchanges will require the source code before they will even consider listing a coin.
- Source code reviewed by a trusted third party- Again, this should be self-explanatory.
- Compliance fee (in some cases)- Some exchanges, in case enough due diligence is necessary, may require you to pay a compliance fee before your token can get listed on them. Bittrex, for example, used to warn its users that a $5,000 fee might be charged, however, they seem to have scrapped that rule since then.
In case you ’ ra uncertain which exchange to apply to, here ’ s a tilt of some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of trade volume out there :