The process for taking your idea to a successful ICO is a concern that most entrepreneurs, business owners, technology developers and investors face in their ventures. Questions like these always popup in many forums. Well, everyone is aware the ICO wave has been a big one especially in 2017. A point of pain for many investors’ entrepreneurs and everyone in the cryptocurrency and tech space is that they will miss a chance to launch their idea and strike while the iron is still hot. While many ICOs and tokens sales are still getting great results as the end of 2017 approaches, no one can really tell how long this opportunity will last.
In case you have an idea for a cryptocurrencies project and want to launch a token sale, there is still so much to think about. For instance, how will you handle the creation of your coin, promotional website, marketing among other issues?
What you need to know
There are basic things you need to consider before considering an Initial coin offering or “ICO”, and how you should prepare yourself for the long-term viability with a project. Below are some questions you should be prepared to ask and answer them yourself. I may not be able to answer them for you, but this post will give some insights for you to be able to assess your readiness to start the ICO process from a strong point.
- Is your project a platform?
- What value will your platform add or bring to the blockchain community that is not already being served by others?
- Does your technology really need its own token?
- How will offer your token? Direct token distribution, crowd sale or convertible note?
- How will issue and accept contributions: via Bitcoin, ethereum, LTC. Etc.
- How big is your network, dense, engaged, sparse or quiet? What is your budget?
The above questions are critical for you to evaluate your project and its viability for a successful ICO. Once you are able to assess yourself, venture or platform based on these questions, you can then start and engaging teams that will help you launch a successful ICO.
ICO Idea shaping and formulation
The first step in launching an ICO is the idea formulation and how you communicate that idea to the public and participants. An idea can be formulated by an individual or as a company project. After the formulation of the idea. This stage can be defined as the announcement of a future project in various cryptocurrencies communities such as Bitcointalk, Reddit and others. In this case, the founders and people behind the idea come up with an executive summary, a small presentation for investors where they explain the essence and purposes of the proposed ICO project. After this the founders receive their first feedbacks which help them understand whether the project has any interest to investors or not. This is where in most cases a lot of questions come up such as project business model, unaccounted risks appear. The idea for the ICO project is therefore very important especially in the blockchain community where people are ready to invest in an idea that seems to be viable and useful. It is of great importance to note that non material motivation is sometimes an important motivation for an ICO.
Choosing a team
For an effective start to your ICO project, you will require the assistance of a team of 20-30 people, but this may depend on the scope of your project. These are content specialists, editors, PR specialists, community managers, programmers, designers, internet marketers, developers. Of importance to note is that this team should be of different languages in case there is need for translations and different versions of websites language and content.
The company involved in the ICO can use the following methods of payments to the diverse team:
- Your own or borrowed funds: in this case, you should calculate important aspects such as: Preparation for ICO, this could range from two to six months, the actual stage of the ICO, from two to 10 weeks. Then comes the pre ICO stage. Here you can have early investors to fund the initial stages of the ICO
- Small salary for employees: this could include factors such as non-material motivation (new markets, possibility of new knowledge, and an international project among others).
- The main language for most ICOs is English with a focus to major markets such as The USA, Asia, and Europe. To bring together your diverse team who will mostly be working remotely, you can involve online tools such as slack, Google hangouts, Trello, google drive and other messaging apps that may appeal to your style of working.
ICO Market Research and Analysis
This is a crucial step in your ICO journey. Conduct a market research and some analysis of ICO projects that have recently been launched successfully. All ICO projects compete for investor, which means that your potential rivals are any other ICO out there. All these ICOs are different, but you can surely learn something useful from each of them. You can join community platforms and channels of several ICOs that have recently been hugely successful such as Civic, Stratis, EOS, Polybius, and EOS among others. Read their whitepapers, FAQS and also sign up for their social media channels. This way you will be in a position to understand some of the strategies that made them so successful. You can then apply some the techniques in your ICO project.
It is important to register you ICO company in a blockchain friendly state. Most cryptocurrency and blockchain projects choose: Cyprus, Singapore, USA, Estonia, Belize, United Kingdom, and Switzerland.
ICO offer preparation
The whitepapers is the main document to prepare before launching ICO. It wiill outline and explain your project in detail to all potential stakeholders in the project. It is usually the most difficult to develop and takes the longest time to be written. It is therefore advisable to makeuse of these ICO whitepaper experts for the development of the whitepaper. The whitepaper should be able to describe all the details and peculiarities of the project, funding goals, terms and conditions, FAQs and all related information regarding your ICO project. It is important to make sure that your ICO goals are clearly defined and also realistic. This is because unrealistic or unclear goals are a major deterrent to investing since they may make an impression that you and your team do not know what they are doing or worse still they have intention of scamming people. Because of this is crucial that your whitepaper clearly defines and outlines the technical aspects of your product, the problems that your project intends to solve and how exactly it is going to solve these problems. Also the whitepaper should have a clear road map that clearly defines realistic goals of timelines and project completion.
You can read this descriptive post about features of ICO whitepaper.
The most successful ICO to date are those that have been able to present a working tested product to the audience when preparing their ICO. I would advise that you make the prototype one of the major focus of the ICO campaign and then wait for investor confidence to off the charts. With a working prototype your ICO campaign will be a lot easier.
Development of the smart contract
This is where you will develop the actual platform before launching ICO, and also decide on where to launch your Token smart contract. You may decide whether your platform will run on an independent blockchain or you will run the token sale on an existing blockchain. Currently Ethereum and Bitcoin blockchain are the most preferred. The development of the blockchain smart contract will follow a series of stages namely: implementation, testing and deployment.
ICO marketing campaign
The ICO campaign includes a series of processes and strategies, but this will depend on your budget and goals, but some of the basics include the following:
Launching an ICO Website or landing page
The next major step is to launch a site where investors can be able to access information of your ICO project. It is important because when the sale starts thousands of users will visit your site at the same time which will need a fully hosted site in some cases so as to enhance security.
The site structure should include:
- Subscription form
- Explainer videos of your ICO
- Team: this should have high quality photos, biographies which should be short, and links to their social media networks.
- Press: photos, and videos of presentations and previous media appearances that you have been to.
- Product description
- Working cases.
- Documents: the whitepaper , terms and conditions etc.
- Contacts and social channels
The next step in the marketing campaign should be the creation of social channels. The list could vary depending on the country market the ICO is targeting. For western users this could include:
- Site blog
- E-mail support.
- In addition, if your project source code is open source you can also share it on GitHub
- Also consider making a channel on YouTube and Instagram.
- A bitcointalk Ann thread is also very essential so as to reach Bitcoin, and blockchain community.
Design an ICO bounty campaign
Bounty in the cryptocurrency community can be defined as the possibility of getting some quantity of coins or tokens during an ICO. After the successful launch of the ICO, these tokens can be converted into real money. Bounty campaign is based on the concept of distributing free tokens to active users and community members of your ICO. You can use this Bitcointalk guide to understand how to navigate bounty campaigns.
Adding your project to ICO tracking sites
It is important to present your ICO to such sites so that it can be rated. These are mostly authority sites in the blockchain space. There are a lot of services on the blockchain market which specialize in accumulating information on ICOs.
Such services will analyze investment risks of your project in the following dimensions
- Business model
- Market niche
- Technical aspects
- Analysis of feedbacks from the community and investors in general. After checking the information regarding your ICO project, these ICO trackers publish it online with ratings. Some ask for money while others do not.
Some of the main ICO tracking sites include:
PR campaign and advertising
A major and effective PR campaign is crucial for your ICO to be successful. It is advisable to look for specialized agencies for this purpose. Major Roadshows can be organized for instance a financial economy roadshow which is organizing a number of meetings with potential major investors. Other advertising initiatives include a massive internet campaign intended to drive traffic to your ICO website and social channels. Any source of traffic could be useful since your main goal is ensure the tokens are sold. Potential buyers of the tokens should visit your site and if they admire the package of information given they will prepare to participate in your ICO. Check out this post on how to write captivating ICO press releases.
NOTE: you can get in touch with us for publicizing your press release.
Listing of the tokens on cryptocurrency exchange
After the success of the ICO, the tokens should be listed on exchanges. There are many exchanges with different requirements before you list with them. Find the exchanges that will accept your token or coin. It is crucial to select an exchange that is popular with proper licensing, security and also liquidity. This will increase the popularity and acceptability of your coin/token with time.
Disclaimer: this post does not constitute legal advice. Legal aspects of launching an ICO vary from one country to another. Therefore before conducting an ICO, conduct your own due diligence to comply with the relevant regulations.