How To Launch An ICO, A Detailed Guide
last year, it seemed that everyone was either running ICOs or taking character in them, with the full measure of funds raised throughout the class nearing a $ 5 bln stigmatize. If you ’ re reading this, chances are you ’ re considering getting in on the action. While there are projects such as Useless Ethereum Token, which was very probably created by a one person in no time at all and still somehow managed to raise about $ 200,000 in contributions, your future stick out will need quite a significant amount of time a well as a dedicate team to attract significant funds. just a little disavowal before we proceed : hosting a successful ICO from strike is going to be quite expensive. It takes approximately $ 60,000 to launch such a crusade, but this number 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 anterior to the inaugural bad announcement, takes roughly six months to one year. The post-public engagement phase, which includes everything that happens between the first announcement and the actual sale of tokens, normally takes around three months. This timeframe is frequently considered long enough to gain the public ’ south attention and short enough for the public not to forget about the plan. When it comes to the team involved in the project, again, there is no rule of thumb regarding the amount of people you ’ ll necessitate on board. The key here would not be hiring as many people as you possibly can, but covering every single sphere of expertness necessary for the project to come to animation. That includes developers, Blockchain and cryptocurrency specialists, PR and market angstrom well as advisors, partners and early on investors. indeed, in the bring of ICOs, there are no set rules, the rival 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 rabies, 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 visualize 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 exhaustive understand of that market, know your target hearing and, most importantly, know what they will be volition to give you their money for. obviously, if your project is sourcing its financing through an ICO campaign, it will have its own nominal. According to the CoinMarketCap ‘s datum, there presently are over 1,500 cryptocurrencies in being. so, if your keepsake is to survive this rival, let alone gain any value, it will need to be in identical high demand. To achieve that, you need to think of a room to integrate a cryptocurrency into your project in a useful and meaningful way, so that it becomes an essential and integral separate of the product. Do you truly need tokenization if you ’ ra sell toothpaste ? If your project will be using tokens unnecessarily, it is extremely probably that the investors won ’ metric ton even consider putting their money into your project. A beneficial way to test-run your estimate 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 early project offering exchangeable services to yours. well, you ’ re actually competing for the investors ’ money, so the answer here is very bare : you ’ re up against everyone else. Yes, literally every single ICO being held roughly at the same time 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 determine view of cryptocurrencies there is. This is ascribable to the high volume of ICOs shutting down and running aside with the collected funds or just being exposed as scams. silent, in most countries, Initial Coin Offerings are either legal, regulated or subjugate to future regulations. so far, lone 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 abroad to the Internal Revenue Service ( IRS ). furthermore, the US Security and Exchange Commission ( SEC ) is prosecuting ICOs that are not compliant with their stern Know-Your-Customer policies. Because of that, a quickly growing number 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 topographic point and pay close attention to any future changes to them. This probably goes without saying, but hush, don ’ thyroxine break the jurisprudence. Hiring a lawyer with know in cryptocurrency and ICO regulations wouldn ’ thyroxine go amiss. Keep in mind though, even if you ’ re not breaking any laws, any shady natural process on your separate, particularly in relation to handling the investments, may result in your plan being labeled as a victimize by the cryptocurrency residential district. If that happens, your ICO is doomed to fail. so, not merely do you need to obey all the relevant laws and regulations, you need to be completely crystalline 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 last detail.
4. Create an ICO token
Think of your project as a homo being. The technical architecture is its skeleton that supports its stallion body. The blockchain engineering and the nominal itself serve as lineage vessels, enabling the whole body to in full function. Firstly, you need to have a solid distribution plan. It heavily depends on a especial ICO ’ second requirements and plans. For exemplify, there can be many unlike stages of the nominal sale, including but not circumscribed to a individual sale, pre-sale, the actual ICO and a general sale. different structures work for different ICOs. Back in 2013, NXT managed to raise $ 16,800 worth of Bitcoin merely collecting donations to an anonymous wallet via the BitcoinTalk forum. Interestingly adequate, after all these years NXT ’ sulfur ICO inactive holds the numeral one descry in terms of Returns of Investment. On the other hand, we have Telegram which managed to raise $ 850 mln during a preferably close pre-sale, and apparently they are preparing a second base beat of pre-sale, aiming to double the sum 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 improvement 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 nominal sale. finally, decide in which particular scenario you will issue extra tokens. When it comes to blockchain platforms used to issue tokens for ICOs, the commercialize truly international relations and security network ’ t that competitive. According to the ICOWatchList data, 81.7 percentage projects use the Ethereum platform, while the early 9 % choose for developing their own custom blockchain platforms. There are, of course, other services such as Waves, Stratis or Hyperledger, but flush their combine share of the marketplace amounts to just 3.7 percentage. Creating the keepsake 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 crowd sale logic for your tokens might be a bit more unmanageable, so if you ’ ra not precisely tech-savvy, consider hiring a professional to do that for you. For more detail information, check out our guide on ICO platforms.
5. Write a white paper
A white paper is a largely technical document that describes your stallion project in every possible detail. ideally, it should cover literally everything : market analysis, your vision of the project, its development scheme, architecture and goals, information on the token and its distribution, legal issues, your available resources, a description of your team, early investors and advisors and so on, and on, and on. Everything. Read our guide on how to write a white newspaper here. Of course, not every possible investor will carefully read through a detailed technical description of your plan. possibly ten people will read the integral thing. But it ’ s those ten people that you need to satisfy with the white paper because they are capable of bringing some serious problems on your ICO. The Blockchain enthusiasts have a bang-up understand of technical aspects and a hearty sum of expertness, they are extremely big and measure people within the residential district. They are opinion leaders with audiences of tens of thousands of people. If you ’ re running a boastful PR crusade, but your project has some obvious flaws, those people won ’ triiodothyronine miss their find to expose them.
6. Launch a website
Content. People are merely actually matter to in three things : the team, the stick out ’ randomness aims and the measures in place to ensure the protective covering of the investors ’ interests. One of the first things you ’ ll see on Nuvus ’ s web site is the detailed breakdown of the token sale structure. not only does this blockage present the information is clear 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, abbreviated biographies, ( focus specifically on team members ’ skills relevant to this particular stick out ) and links to social networks. Personify the project. ‘ Team ’ section of the lapp ICO should ’ ve been more enlightening, we don ’ metric ton even get to know those people ’ s roles in the visualize. Shpring does it a act better. ClearCoin actually includes bios, which is highly helpful. Although, those could be shorter. Another enormously authoritative section of your web site is the roadmap. It should contain clear and realistically accomplishable goals and set timeframes. A roadmap with some important milestones already being ticked off will undoubtedly give the investors a distribute more confidence in your project. ideally, your timeline should include set dates of an alpha release, beta free, public release and all the future milestones you deem necessity to mention. The dates shouldn ’ thymine be dim, you need to be adenine specific as possible. A dislocation of costs associated with every undertaking outlined in the roadmap would besides be a rather good idea.
Roadmaps can be presented in diverse forms. The examples above from Nuvus, Sapien and PikcioChain contain both history and future plans, are preferably informative and set concrete dates in terms of quarters. last, make sure that all the information concerning token distribution is well accessible to your future investors. Let them know what dowry of your project ’ s currentness will be distributed among the exploitation 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 naturally, there are always other options, as demonstrated by the apt placement of this section on clear of the page on the ClearCoin ’ s web site : Layout. once you have all the contentedness quick to be published, take some time to think about the web site ’ sulfur layout. The absolute majority of projects these days are opting for a single-page structure. Without a doubt, it ’ s a very commodious and easily-accessible way of presenting all the necessity information in the claim order it ’ s intended to be in. even, you and lone you will know the most desirable structure for your project ’ s web site. Security. now, one matter you decidedly don ’ metric ton want your web site to do is to be down at any point 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 clock time. The last thing you ’ five hundred want in this position is your web site crash, indeed form surely to invest in a effective and authentic host service. furthermore, hacking and DDoS-attacks are besides a very coarse 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 consequence, investors unwittingly sent their money to scammers. besides, if you ’ ra running a bad PR 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 channel with a message saying something like ‘ our web site is temporarily down, use this connect rather. ’ Design. The web site ’ second design should ideally reflect the nature of your visualize, it has to be dependable, look glib and master, however friendly. flush a bantam error in, say, text format will repeal a fortune of investors. decidedly, consider hiring professionals to both build 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 truly ball-shaped plan, you might want to consider translating your web site into the mother tongues of your target audiences. When it comes to ICOs, the most utilitarian languages to translate all the relevant information to are chinese, japanese, korean, russian, german, french and spanish. Considering that it costs around $ 60.000 to create a successful ICO from start, you will only need to allocate a relatively modest measure of money for translations. Depending on a terminology match, a translation of a 25-page white newspaper 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 commodity at their job. even the bantam of mistakes will result in your visualize looking unprofessional and losing potential investors.
7. PR and marketing
so, you have everything taken care of. You developed an idea, gathered a consecrated 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 fourth dimension to promote it. differently, there is no luck of you making any money. so, make certain to allocate a hearty come of money for commercialize. Prices for paid information list can drastically vary from around $ 400 to $ 15.000 and up to a about infinite act. A full community coach who will be in charge of your project ’ s social networks ’ feeds will cost you at least $ 2,000 per month. besides, make sure to use pay ads to your full moon advantage. That includes Google ads, forum ads and indeed on. Around $ 5,000 should give you a decent userbase of capable investors. finally, consider how a lot money ( or tokens ) you ’ re uncoerced to allocate to bounty programs, in keys they ’ re a separate of your PR-campaign. similarly to designing the web site, planning a PR-campaign is where you need to have a look at your project from the period of view of a electric potential investor. Consider how and where will your hearing find out about the visualize, and, most importantly, precisely how will it be presented to them. You need to be able to intelligibly define where your project positions itself within the current market and put together your first channel of communication : an F.A.Q. and your Terms & Conditions. The integral cryptocurrency market is driven by one particular mighty effect : FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out. People will invest in your venture if the ballyhoo around it is thus powerful that it makes them believe they ’ ll miss out on an perplex opportunity if they won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate do then.
Сonstant communication is key
Make certain that your team is constantly communicating with the investors, both prior to the ICO political 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 electronic mail. You could besides remind them about the depart date of your ICO a month, a week, a day or evening five minutes before it begins. Although, don ’ t force them on people and decidedly don ’ thymine send out excessively many emails : no-one likes plowing through piles of spam 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 versatile services and messengers, translating and localizing documents, posts on social media, blogs and so on. While there are a lot 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 bible gets out that your project abuses amplitude programs, the community will inescapably get fishy. At the end of the day, no one likes aggressive advertise and your intersection should be able to sell itself without you having to resort to paid promotion within the community.
If your 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 residential district as possible. But it is overriding that you and your commercialize team are very careful with every unmarried publication, post or answer. even if equitable a copulate of users on any forum, subreddit or social network will have any argue to suspect that your ICO is a scam, it will heavily affect the result of your campaign. other electric potential 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 gamble, so constantly make indisputable to cautiously choose your words. Remember, there is nothing more damage for an ICO campaign than the cryptocurrency community labeling it a victimize.
8. Launch an ICO
Congratulations, your initial Coin Offering is bouncy ! But how retentive should it last for ? Let ’ s take a look 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 circumstance, simple mathematical manipulations will lead us to the ideal duration of a successful ICO stand at 41 days. Of course, this is good an average number based on five campaigns and by no means a gold proportion of some sorts. however, it does reflect the current marketplace position to some extent. The timeframe is long enough 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 visualize to proceed forward. Communication is the most significant tool 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 project there is on around-the-clock duty. Remember, this is the decisive period in your project ’ randomness history, there will be people seeking answers to their immediate questions before contributing, or just 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 subject to an attack, as it was the case with the Coindash ’ s ICO on July, 17th, 2017. Their web site was hacked on the identical first day of their ICO crusade, which resulted in the loss of $ 7 million.
What happens after an ICO
If your ICO was a achiever, that means that the community 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 angstrom hard as you can to deliver equally much value as potential for customers and token holders. basically, this is lone the beginning. Your ICO was the easily region. now that your undertaking raised the fund required, the development of the end product should start or, preferably, continue on a much larger scale. At this orient, your project not entirely has the funds to do what it set out to do, but besides a moral american samoa well as a fiscal debt instrument to not let the investors down.
Get your token out on exchanges
Of course, calibrate your product, making your ambition of being a successful entrepreneur come true and making the cryptocurrency community a better rate by developing and integrating your project is great. But, in the interim, your team and your investors will be expecting the project to do something else : make everyone rich. In order to do so, your token 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 sincerely 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 bent of criteria as each project is unique. We listen to the community and blue-ribbon projects that we believe are singular, advanced, and that our users would be interested in trade. We besides look for products that have strong ( organic ) market demand. ” Another major cryptocurrency substitute, 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 deserving in a like room.
The basic attributes that any mint needs to have if it is to get listed on an change :
- 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 character you ’ ra diffident which exchange to apply to, hera ’ s a list of some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of trade volume out there :