How to write white paper for the ICO

The most complete step-by-step guide (15 key blocks with examples)

1.0. Preface

ICO (Initial Coin Offering) is a rather complicated process where an actual technology co-exists with a huge number of additional commercial, marketing and technical factors. They must be taken into account in order to have an desirable amount of crypto currency to implement this technology. Even if you have a genius idea -realizing it without any investment would be extremely complicated.

Working on the DAICO (Decentralized Autonomous Initial Coin Offering suggested by Vitalik Buterin) over the past few months, I’ve noticed that during the whole process there is one extremely important but often overlooked element — “white paper”.

This article is actually dedicated to the notion of “white paper” and how to make it worthy. I have dissected more than 100 documents of successful ICO and created the most detailed step-by-step instruction.

1.1. Prehistory

The term “white paper” doesn’t mean a printer paper, however, actually it is close to the truth.

Churchill White Paper, 1922

The notion appeared in the British government in 1922 by Winston Churchill’s request and, as a result, the so-called “Churchill White Paper” was prepared. The goal of a white paper (WP) was to clarify the policy pursued by the British government.

A white paper was used as a marketing and sales tool in business from the early 90s, it was dedicated to promote products or services primarily in the B2B sector and for persuading potential customers, partners, journalists, analysts and investors.

Ultimately, in 2008 a white paper got a new shift in the development thanks to the blockchain. This favorable outcome for the document has happened because it’s format is quite suitable for promoting new and complex projects. That is why I’m going to dwell on composing a white paper for ICO.

1.2. What is white paper for the ICO?

· White paper — is a marketing tool aimed to promote a blockchain startups that require a logical description for presentation to investors.

· White paper — is an official document that helps to understand the essential problem describing the solution step-by-step.

· White paper — is an instruction that describes technological and commercial project features that make this project the special one.

Anyway, the ultimate goal of this project is to eliminate doubts of potential ICO participants.

1.3. What is the purpose of white paper in the ICO?

Competition. The time of “light” tokensales has passed and in nowadays hectic market, ICO investors that take investments seriously try to do their best analyzing a white paper and other data. It is obvious that most of successful investors will not consider a new project without a white paper. In addition, some of the listing sites pull the rating of projects that don’t have a white paper (WP) down, which in its turn reduces the project’s chances in the competition.

Trust. Despite the unconditional importance of WP, there are still participants that don’t take writing a white paper seriously or completely ignore it. They create superficial documents (for $ 100) which are written by copywriters that don’t have appropriate knowledge in this particular sphere.Logically, it is one of the gravest reasons for a failure of significant part of ICO. They simply do not gain the enough amount of money to launch the project. Projects with substandard or even without WPs are perceived as scams (fraud) and aren’t considered as trustful. On the contrary, projects with detailed WP, ​​which reveal the problem and its solution, look respectable and convincing that anyway will inspire confidence.

Marketing. As It’s been written before, WP is a powerful marketing tool that allows you to present the project in a favorable manner and to interest potential investors eliminating any doubts. That is why, do not use this tool in a market with a high competition, in my view, is not reasonable.

2.0. Components of white paper for the ICO

White paper is aimed to eliminate any doubts of potential ICO participants. That is why, WP consists of following features:

  • Title page
  • Content
  • Introduction
  • Market review
  • Problem
  • Solution
  • Token and economic model
  • Technical realization
  • Roadmap
  • Team
  • Advisors
  • Risk factors
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Disclaimer

There is no standard structure of white paper. Each team creates a WP in accordance with their own needs and the preferred approach. However, the description that is given below is collected from the analysis of more than 100 WP of successful ICO projects.

2.1. Title page

White paper cover:

Bancor–collected 140MM for less than 3 hours.
  • Title — the name of the project and the document (white paper) for identification;
  • Subtitle (short slogan, 1 sentence explaining the essence of the project);
  • Version and date of the document (or making the latest edits);
  • Website and e-mail — links;
  • The author of the document (the person or a company responsible the project)

Personally I prefer the title pages of a white color, it looks like a great tradition of a white paper. However, tastes differ.

2.2. Content

Content of a white paper — indicates the headings of the white book. This greatly simplifies the way to find chapters and sections of the document. Take care of the readers — giving the opportunity to get into the desired section in one click.

2.3. Introduction

The introduction of white paper is general, it does not contain detailed technical information and consists of 1–2 pages. The purpose of the introductory part is briefly informing the ICO participant about the essence of the project. To keep a reader interested, you can clarify what abilities your reader will acquire after reading this white paper, for example, professionally navigate the market situation.

It’s not enough just to attract the reader’s attention with introductory words, much more important- to keep it. When you write longreads, there is a risk that reader will lose his focus. To avoid this, you should alternate monotonous texts with diagrams, graphs and researches, for example, a market survey.

2.3. Market review

This section includes: analysis of the current situation in the market and its problems; audience; competitors and trends. It is quite enough to review a market situation for the 3–5 year period. Moreover, it is important to contact only trusted and reliable sources. For example, reports of the auditors of the ‘big four’ (Deloitte, PwC, EY, KPMG) or local analytical centers (for example in Russia: VCIOM Russian Public Opinion Research Center, LEVADA Analytical Center). Official government websites and major authoritative media are also worthy.

Do your own research and identify trends, but be objective. This method has undeniable advantages:

  • Uniqueness.You have the information that nobody has;
  • Expertise.Your own research will tell about your competence in this issue;
  • Awareness.You will learn more about your audience, competitors and the industry in general.
The overview of WePower, hard cap ($40 MM) is closed in a one day.

2.4. A problem

When the essence of the project and the situation on the market are clear for the reader (from the first chapters of the WP), it’s time for details. Here you are to write about a problem that brought you to creating a project. An important prerequisite for a successful solution is an adequate problem formulation. So try to avoid posing wrong problems or pseudo problems. They take you away from the solution of real one and, consequently, do not attract investors.

You can tell about the scale of the problem in order to boost the effect. For example, blockchain projects often don’t require participation of intermediaries and reduce costs. By the way, the indication of money that the potential user could save is working well. And noting what could have bought a client with this money is even better (for example, #Lamborghini :).

If the problem is correctly identified (for example, in the form of an idea or concept), it’s time to proceed to a solution

A problem of Celsius project, 50$ MM were earned in a week

2.5. Solution

I suppose the second most important section of the white paper is the solution to the problem or the description of the project itself. Present your project in the form of a description of the technology, write in a detail the financial part of the project. You should describe the decision convincingly to make it clear why the project is perspective and why is it attractive for investors. The list below will help you. Section ‘Decision’

  1. The objectives of the project;
  2. Tasks;
  3. Mission;
  4. Social role;
  5. Analog in a ‘Fiat World’;
  6. Uniqueness of the project.

Now — more info about the each point.

1–2. Objectives and tasks

Project objectives. Answering the question ‘what?’. What is the desirable result of the project.
Tasks. Answering the question ‘how?’. How are you going to reach your goals?
An example (simplistic):

The project objective — a safe exchange of fiat money for the cryptocurrency.
Tasks:

a) The seller’s cryptocurrency is blocked in a smart contract;
b) After the buyer transfers the fiat money to the seller’s account, the the payment system’s signal opens a smart contract;
c) the Cryptocurrency comes to the account of the buyer;
d) If the buyer does not transfer the fiat money to the seller’s account in a given period of time, the smart contract unblocks and the crypto currency returns to the seller’s account.

The tasks — are detailed steps to achieve the goal. In general, the description of goals and objectives is to show investors how you are going to solve the initial problem, which, by the way, is the solution.

3. Mission. Ask yourself the following questions. What contribution will the project bring to the development of the blockchain industry? How does the startup solve the industry problem? Most of the investors are enthusiasts. In most cases, they don’t want just to earn a certain amount of money, their ultimate goal — is to develop a blockchain technologies. Therefore, infrastructure blockchain startups are usually more successful in conducting ICO. Enthusiasts appreciate projects that contribute to the development of the industry.

4. Social role. How will this project make the world better? Social projects receive a lot of publicity in the media. For example, you can declare that your project’s influence on a health, ecology, medicine, housing, security, transportation, children, climate, education, sports, nutrition, leisure, creativity, finance, personal development, spiritual enlightenment will be inconceivable. Probably you are creating a marketplace (like Uber) on a blockchain that will increase the number of vacant work positions and allow people to spend more time with their families.

5. Analog in the ‘Fiat World’. In this case, there is possibility to vastly simplify the perception of the project, referring to already existing projects that do not work on blockchain technology. For example, the decentralized file hosting Storj, in fact, is analogue of Google Drive. So, in a short way, the essence of a rather complex and unknown for this moment project becomes clear. Moreover, carrying out analogies gives a brief understanding of project’s perceptive , because a similar one is already working in the real world, so the idea is viable.

6. The project’s uniqueness. Due to the high competition in the market nowadays, when 754 ICOs pass simultaneously (ICObench data for July 2018, including PreICO), the uniqueness of the idea is quiet significant. Therefore, those projects that do not have a special idea are doomed to stay in the background, among other similar projects. And on the contrary, a competently formulated USP (Unique Selling Proposition) helps to be on the top of this competition and increase the efficiency of advertising campaigns by far.

Try to make the ‘Solution’ section as clear as possible. Explain each term, because the reader may not have a sought-for level of a specific knowledge. Complex schemes should be presented in the form of infographics and diagrams. Give more technical details. Explain your advantages over competitors.

ICO WAX had $45,5 MM on a presale

2.7. Tokenomics

Blockchain startups — are both technological and commercial projects. ICO is interesting for investors primarily from the financial side — what prons will bring investments. At the same time, the amount of white paper that does not belong to the financial model is striking. There is a feeling that the founders of such projects either deliberately hide financial information or did not understand it at all. Anyway, both options do not give the project more chances of investing.

Key information for investors :

Monetha — hard cap ($ 37 MM) in 18 minutes
  • Name of the token + ticker (short name, eg ETH for Ethereum);
  • Jurisdiction (the country of registration, the regulation of the cryptocurrency, tax deductions);
  • The total number of tokens*.
  • Distribution of tokens (how many tokens are distributed and on what) **;
  • The starting price for a 1 token;
  • Bonuses — discounts for the tokens in the early stages (Pre ICO, ICO, Post ICO, etc.);
  • The minimum and maximum limits of the funds (soft cap & hard cap);
  • Do you plan to return funds if you do not reach the minimum?
  • Is there an escrow account?
  • Is there a blocking of tokens in a smart contract? For what period?
  • Whether the output of the token is planned on the stock exchange ****;
  • Monetization, capitalization, liquidity (for example, burning not sold or buying back the sold tokens);
  • Date of beginning and the end of the tokensale

* You can also inform a reader whether only primary emission will be envisaged- whether the number of coins will be strictly limited, without regeneration. It is better to have just a primary emissions, because otherwise the release of new tokens can lead to a fluctuation of the price of previously released tokens. Deficit is very important for investors, it forms a value.

**It is better to arrange visually, in the form of a diagram, for better perception

*** The escrow agent or contract is highly desirable, because this guarantees fulfillment of obligations and as a result significantly increases trust.

**** Leading stock exchanges prohibit advertising the content of negotiations, but it is very desirable to indicate that you plan to enter the stock exchange, for example, no later than 2 months after the ICO is completed — it is a good sign for investors, because trading on the stock exchange can increase the value of the token and it can be sold more profitably.

Explain your reader the origin of each figure and tell about all the reasons that drive you to reaching this numbers. Explain what the funds will be spent on. Without a this procedures your white paper will not look convincing.

As I have mentioned earlier, there are many enthusiasts among investors, so it is quite important to tell what value token should bring to investors. For example:

  • Using the service as a matter of priority;
  • Various discounts, bonuses and additional opportunities

There is a quite noticeable difference between ‘value’ and ‘profit’. The forecast of profitability, the expectancy of price growth for a token are not the things that should be indicated. As well as any other unreliable information. First reason for that, no one knows what will happen to the exchange rate of the token due to a number of well-known factors. Even if everything is fine with the project, there is a risk of the greater variability of your token’s rate due to changes in the value of the largest crypto-currencies. Secondly, this is illegal in a particular countries. A great example- the USA. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) give orders to forbidden operations if it suspects that the ICO project misleads investors with fictitious statements about business perspectives. However, it is quite appropriate to show the growth of a price later, for example, after entering the stock exchange, to show the ROI (return-on-investment) reference of he current value of the tokens to their original value. In this case, you will have actual figures.

2.8. Technical realization

A prototype
If you have a prototype — write this in a white paper. Describe in detail the mechanics and the main functions of the project. Write about the implementation of the smart contract. Give examples of the service using and tell about the role of it’s users (Use Cases and Roles). Moreover, there is one more advantage of the prototype, it allows you to eliminate mistakes and work out an important nuances in the early stages, this doesn’t require making improvements at the following (more time-consuming) stages.

Put the link to the code on GitHub and tell about it’s most significant sections. By the way, you can get comments from developers of GitHub who have a deep experience working with blockchain technology. Thanks to the prototype investors could see how your project will look and understand that you have worked out a basic features.

A prototype of the Binance, on ICO were earned $15 MM (July 2017). The project was in a top-10 of stock exchanges and 6 months later became one of the most powerful crypto stock exchanges in the world. Now the profit is $300 MM (July 2018).

MVP
It is not a surprise that projects with a finished product cause much more confidence among investors than without it. A finished product can shorten a term from the moment of ICO termination before the project makes a profit for its investors. If your product is not ready yet, the terms are boosting, but the risks that the project will not be realized at all are increasing. However, despite this, a weighty number of projects are launching fundraising having only a white paper and a plan of the future product. That is the reason for high scale of unsuccessful projects . But what if the money is collected to create a product that does not exist yet? In this case, MVP will be your savior.

MVP is minimum viable product that helps you, on a real example, to get acquainted with the principle of work and get a feedback from the users, to understand whether the product is worthy and whether customers are ready to pay for it. MVP shows that you are able to make a team result-driven, understanding the technology of blockchain and, consequently, able to make a product. It should be mentioned that minimal time is spent on development and MVP contains only key functions. If You have MVP , a link to it should be attached in a white paper. This significantly increases the chances of achieving a hard cap.

2.9. Roadmap

Roadmap is a visualization of your strategy, the way you want your project to be developed.

Roadmap should conform to the following principles :
Sequence
. The roadmap of your project should include a full story about the development of your project. Each checkpoint should be based on the previous one and bring you to an ultimate goal.

Timing. In my opinion, the optimal plans are 12–24 months, divided into quarters and months. The shorter period does not look far-sighted, the larger — less realistic, it is difficult to predict. More trust gets the project that already has successfully completed stages of the plan. Therefore, you are to indicate the amount of work that has already been done by the team.

Realism. Estimate all the risks while making a roadmap, leave a time for unpredictable difficulties and delays. The time reserve will also allow you to be more flexible and will give you a possibility for innovations. If there are doubts that you will not able to do all the stuff at time( one quarter) — point two quarters, for example Q3-Q4 2019. Remember that the early implement of the task is perceived well or at least neutrally. And missing deadlines — always negative, it gives a reason for dissatisfied discussions in the community and charges in the scam.

Simplicity. Do not overload the roadmap, keep it simple, understandable and convincing. Write only the key points. Details, images, comments refer to other parts of white paper, not to your roadmap. If it’s necessary, point the explanations that will appear by clicking on the checkpoint.

Key points. Mind the key points. For example, if you are creating a travel service based on a blockchain, you should show in the roadmap that you have time to start before a hot season — next summer. This allows you to do both things at the same time: to show that you are a farsighted, and also that the project is economically attractive for investors.

Indicators. When describing the key points, indicate measurable indicators. For example:

  1. “Q1 2019 Platform concept”
  2. “Q1 2019 Presentation of the prototype of a platform.”

The first variant isn’t clear enough, meanwhile the secong one gives you a deep understanding of what and when can be seen and tested.

Changes. Changing the dates in the roadmap after its publication is undesirable. But if you have already done this, notify your community about it, mark the reasons and specify new dates. Hiding this information can lead to the loss of credibility.

The Abyss ($15,3 ММ), The world’s first DAICO

2.10. Team

Despite the fact that the section “Team” is usually placed at the end of the white paper, it’s one of the most important points. Read the information below about a placing the “Team” section in a white paper.

Photo
Photography is an important tool in a trust building. All the Investors want to know the face of those whom they trust their money. Especially in the field where there are plenty of scam projects. So, I will pay attention to the photos circumstantially.

Recommendations:

  • The size — 200x200 pixels (+/-), the smaller size is not comfortable for the reading, because does not allow you to analyze a facial features;
  • Weight — 20 KB (+/-), but not more than 50KB, otherwise the weight of the whole white paper will be too big;
  • Head — entirely, including hair and a chin;
  • Face — close-up, a ‘full face’;
  • The eyes are open, looking directly into the camera;
  • A smiling or neutral facial expression;
  • Background is light and smooth (the same background for the whole team);
  • Lighting is good, facial features are visible (no shadows);
  • Glasses are acceptable (sunglasses should not be used);
  • A color photography — desirable;
  • One person in the photo (group photo — separately);
  • Clothes — free style (clean and ironed)*;
  • The format of the photo is either. It can be a square, circle, octagon. It depends on the style of the site. In my opinion — the square is the best option.

*Blockchain is the sphere in which people rarely wear ties, so dress as you like, as you feel comfortable. However, you should have a moderate style. Because, for example, an unknown project lawyer, wearing a bright top and a bare trunk, is less credible than a neatly dressed lawyer in a clean and ironed shirt.

What you shouldn’t do in the photo:

  • Photo in a full growth;
  • Distorted camera angles;
  • Selfie;
  • Old photos;
  • Low-quality photos;
  • Dark photos;
  • Photos ‘in profile’ (sideways);
  • Painted pictures instead of photos;
  • Objects and/or animals in the photo;
  • Too much retouching or other effects;
  • Cut/paste people in the photo.

These recommendations are not necessary but desirable. Make a high-quality photosession in a common style. You want to have a millions of dollars, so spent $ 100 for a qualitative photo. If there is no possibility to make a photosession, just make photos in a one style (black and white). In large and light colored photos, the face should be clearly visible. Everything that hides a person can be perceived as a scam.

Failed photo examples:

On the left DitCoin (unnecessary effects).

On the right KinesisPlatform (substandard photo) scam.

Why do I care so much about photos?

Firstly, when you are tired to read WP text devoid of emotions and colors — the eye will automatically catch the photos, especially photos of people’s faces. And it is important to work with this attention in a right way.

Secondly, the first opinion is formed at the subconscious level. And the subconscious, in it’s turn, is affected by the details. If you are so attentive to the photo creation, then in people’s mind there will be a feeling that you are really a high qualitative professional. So, you are trustful person.

Thirdly, most experts pay attention, first of all, to the team and it is important to provide all the information and photos in a best way.

In the ICO market, with a high competition atmosphere, where you have just a few minutes of attention of a potential investor — these details become very important. Even if you have a brilliant project, but it is not issued properly — you probably will not be able to raise the required amount.

Caption for a photo

Indicate the name and surname of the team member under a photo, as well as his position in this project. You can also point a brief description of the participant, his experience, participation in a successful blockchain projects.

Place the link at least on LinkedIn. It will not be superfluous to make the reference to other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Medium, GitHub (for developers), Dribbble and Behance (for designers), etc. This is especially important for the top-managers of the project.

2.11. Advisors

According to EY (formerly Ernst & Young), fewer ICOs achieve a success in a fundraising (in June 2017–93%, in November — 23%). Because there is a gap between the great idea and the implementation of the project. And sometimes a good team is not enough. It’s time to call the advisors if you are not 100% sure in your future success.

Advisor is an impartial consultant/auditor. In most cases advisers are well-known and reputable specialists in their professional environment. Very often, the advisors have successful ICO project . Rarely they are a famous people (celebrities).

Advisers can help you to compose a white paper and plan a roadmap, also they will help with juridical, marketing issues. And the key point is that they will attract large investors. And large investors, in their turn, will help to attract the community. Furthermore, when experts estimate a project on listings, a presence of advisers boost the rating of the project and as a consequence makes it more attractive for investors.

2.12. Risk factors

Risks in a young and not formed sphere are possible. What is more, in the field of cryptocurrency, they are inevitable. You shouldn’t hide them, otherwise it can lead to the big problems in the following years. However, there is nothing to afraid. Investors can be greedy, but they are not stupid, they perfectly understand that there are risks for any blockchain startups.

Be sincere, describe all the potential risks and their consequences. Point out that a team will immediately react on any changes. If you think that there are no risks in your project, start with the fundamental problems, such as “double spending” and security mechanisms against a breaking.

Follow the questions that are asked by potential investors in a telegram community when preparing for ICO and immediately put them into FAQ. This will help to work out objections and will add a confidence in the success of your project.

2.13. Conclusion

Conclusion summarizes the whole white paper. Inferences from team specialists and advisors (economic, marketing, juridical), positive feedback from the blockchain experts. It can be in the form of key quotations referring to the original text or file, in order not to overload the white paper. At the very end, it is desirable to add an unobtrusivecall to action and contact information (website, mail, blog, social networks, etc.).

2.14. References

References — are used in a white paper to make a link with other documents.

Links lead to researches, reports, forecasts, news, authoritative statements. Moreover, here are links to unknown terms, abbreviations. They are to confirm the arguments mentioned in the white paper and to decode new or unknown terms. The links should preferably be supported by an explanatory text with the resource, author and a date. This will help you to find necessary info quickly and avoid any misunderstandings.

Cryptocurrency El Petro gained $735 MM on the first day, and $3 billions in the first week.

2.15. Disclaimer

Disclaimer is a written renouncement of liability for possible consequences. A lot of people simply do not pay any attention to the this part of the project. To say the truth, disclaimer does not guarantee that the terms of refusal will be applied in a litigation. However, the disclaimer still has legal force in a number of countries. Therefore, I strongly recommend you to include a disclaimer in a white paper and other ICO documents. We all know that blockchain sphere is still unstable, not thoroughly studied and there is a risk of failure so that you must warn investors about it.

Don’t try to copy the disclaimer from other projects, it is better consult a professional lawyer who has an experience in ICO or an advisor with juridical competencies.

3.0. Formalization

3.1. Design. It should be mentioned that design of a white paper is a subjective conception. I don’t support a boring monotonous text, I suppose that it is difficult to read, so I prefer including to the text different diagrams, infographics and other images. There is no doubt, content is a crucial factor for decision making in tokens purchasing but clearly designed document facilitates the perception of huge texts and complex themes, allows to highlight a key idea and the reader doesn’t get bored. However, do not forget that white paper is primarily a business document, not an entertaining presentation. Do not overload it with the design.

3.2. Text and layout

The best way is to hire a designer — layout maker. However, if it’s not possible, I listed the main mistakes and recommendations that you can do when creating a white paper below:

  • Do not mix a lot of different fonts;
  • Do not abuse using the various formatting and font size;
  • Do not use too small font, the optimal is a size of at least 12 points;
  • Use standard serif font, it is most convenient for reading;
  • Do not write the whole text in a CAPITAL letters, it is inconvenient to read;
  • Use contrasting colors (ideally black text on a white background);
  • Avoid large columns of text, divide it into paragraphs;
  • Use bullets when want to enumerate;
  • Do not forget to highlight key thoughts;
  • Facilitate interaction with the document (specify the headings, content, page numbers, etc.);
  • Decrypt complex terms and abbreviations;
  • Complex terms and concepts better to put in infographics, diagrams, schematic images, screenshots, photos. But do not overload it;
  • Do not include mainstream photos from cliparts;
  • Do not use too complex diagrams;
  • Do not insert images of poor quality, do not distort the proportions

The document better to save in PDF, it is universal, free and relatively safe.

3.3. Proofreading and text editing

It’s desirable to invite an editor for a text examination.

Editing:

  • Stylistic mistakes in the text;
  • Reliability of information (review numbers, facts, statistics, sources);
  • Terms usage (their relevance and understandability);
  • Logical mistakes in the content;
  • Informativeness of a text;
  • A clear language and verbal constructions

Proofreading:

  • Grammatical and punctuation errors;
  • Wrong abbreviations, notations;
  • Presence of fundamental components of the text (entries, tables, diagrams, images, etc.);
  • Links (no broken links);
  • Final proofreading of the text before it’s publication.

Editorial correction goes before a proofreading. The editor’s work is deeper, he delves into the content and style of the text. While the corrector makes grammatical, punctuation checking. However, in most cases, this is a one person. You can check the text yourself, but your eyes are really tired after a long work and can easily miss the error. These measures significantly improve readability and the result looks much more professional, this , as I wrote earlier, affects the subconscious and decision making of investors. Just imagine that you are an investor. Would you like a white paper full of mistakes?

3.4. White paper’s size

In 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto introduced a White Paper Bitcoin. It was only 9 pages long. The web site bitcoin.com calls this WP “a masterpiece of strict academic writing.” Since then the average length of white paper has boosted to 40 pages. The increased competition and a large number of fraudulent ICO projects (scam) are the main reasons for that. ‘Overheated’ market dictates its rules, and 9 pages can not convince a demanding crypto-investor anymore. However, in my opinion, there is no need for too large WPs, because most ideas for new startups correspond to the following description: “Project A” is created on “Blockchain — protocol B”, and in that case there is no need for a white paper for 70 pages. Moreover, most investors know what smart contracts are, know how the blockchain works in general. Therefore, there is no need to speculate on it, you can just indicate links to the description of technologies, thereby reducing the size of white paper.

There is no doubt that there are projects that are extra complicated or focused on new areas of application of blockchain technologies. These projects are less clear, therefore the large size of WP in such projects is absolutely logical

3.5. Translation

ICO gives you an opportunity to raise funds from all over the world. That is why white paper and all other documents need to be translated into other languages. It expands your business market and, as a result, gives you much more money and reduces the speed of reaching the hard cap. When you translate a white paper into other languages, choose professional translators or native speakers, people who are extremely good in the field of blockchain. Try to avoid the metaphors, they are hardly understood by foreigners. First of all, it is worth to translate white paper to the most popular languages among the crypto-investors:

  • English;
  • Chinese (Mandarin incl. standart Chinese);
  • Korean;
  • Japanese;
  • Russian.

More information about the languages: TOP-20 languages for ICO.

3.6. Conclusion

No doubts, that white paper is an important document that shouldn’t be missed. However, don’t think that an ideal white paper can save a failed project. That’s why you should pay your attention to the initial project problem, it’s solving and to your business team.


Thank you for attention. Contacts: LinkedIn, Telegram

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