What is ICO?
Admist the crypto fever, Initial Coin Offering (ICO) has emerged to startups as an “unregulated means by which funds are raised for a new cryptocurrency venture” (Investopedia). Throughout the ICO sessions, tokens issued by the firms will be offered to enthusiasts and supporters in exchange for legal tenders, and/or other high cap cryptocurrencies like ETH or BTC, for later investment activities. As such, ICO is very similar to the mechanism of crowd-funding, mobilizing capitals from the public that encompasses a high level of trust from investors.
A successful ICO meets the targeted amount of money to undertake the venture, which means the core team should know how to boost the demand of investors as much as possible. Hence the utmost mission for a victorious ICO is to win the trust of investor at the get-go to prove that the firm is bona fide.
A professional whitepaper should kick-start the project to provide investors an official document providing persuasive, clear and comprehensive information of the project to enhance the firm’s credibility. Obviously, investors must aware that the team is holding their money without regulated contracts. It is crucial for buyers to also acknowledge the characteristics and functionality of the coin they are investing, the potential risks, and the benefits of the network.
Therefore, according to Principal 1 of the A Securities Law Framework for Blockchain Tokens (SLFBT), the whitepaper should be a detailed plan that
“1. Describe the protocol and the network.
2. Identify a clear and compelling reason for the token to exist.
3. Provide a detailed technical description of the proposed implementation.
4. Set clear expectations for total token supply and distribution (Roadmap).
And finally, have an independent expert review the white paper.”
Among these criteria, the 3rd one with product description is the deciding factors. In this aspect, the feature of the projects’ products should be shown, answering the question “What platform/ technology the team develops”, “What make it optimal from others” with detailed explanations. For example, Nexty platform right at the opening has state “Businesses & individuals have not found a really convenient payment method “; therefore, the feature of Nexty Platform would be “a much proper payment method” with slogan “Instant Transfer, Zero Transfer fees and Bright Stabilization”. Detail of technology to bring these words from paper to reality is crucial also. In Nexty case, it’s Dual Cryptocurrency Confirmation System (DCCS) to be the solution. (See Nexty Whitepaper: here) Of course, there is no identical product to contrast against in the whitepaper; However, the firm can demostrate the ecosystem and/or current users which would be favourable to the token’s long-term survival.
In addition, the information regarding the project team is also important. According to Andrew Chapin, blockchain expert and the founder of projects Benja.co and Ship Ninja, investors always have incredible trust on a strong team despite bad initial idea, because of the belief that the team can make a breakthrough later. For example, Nokia used to work in the field of woodworking and paper production before becoming the legend in mobile phone. Pinterest, before its hay day of being a social network, used to be a shopping app (now also includes this feature).
Therefore, it is crucial to be transparent of the project team with striking profiles. The board should include a diversity of multi-professional engineers, advisors with block-chain experience and businessmen. Moreover, it would be immensely relevant if there has been any previous success at blockchain. For example Kyber Network has gained much trust from the community to have Vitalik Buterin, the e Founder and Chief Scientist of Ethereum, as advisor. The reputation of well-known expert in Blockchain would be a sign of good faith for infant firms launching their ICOs.
“Honesty is the best policy.” Make sure that the experts in the team members all agree to work and actually do work in the projects they are endorsing. There have been many misunderstandings in the past involving advisors who found their faces on different web pages and had to publicly announce that they do not endorse these projects. This is the fastest way to lose the trust of investors, once they find any trace of fraud, the ICO will be instantly become a scam.
Last but not least is to be wary of the language used in the whitepaper. This is because the language is a tool to help the developer team deliver the visions of the projects. The patterns used in Whitepaper should be compatible to the target readers. If the firm aims to develop the ICO within blockchain professor community, technical languages with lots of complicated formulae and schemas will be effective; otherwise try to avoid it. Whitepaper for non-expert investors should be comprehensive enough with information but succinct and clear enough for them to keep reading and understand. Hence, presenting the whitepaper with blocks, columns and diagrams is highly recommended.
Whitepaper is one of the very first steps to deploy ICO. However a perfect document would not work if the team fails to implement the plan or the team is lacking in experience in Blockchain or even violate the regulation of the country. In the next series “What is needed for ICO”, Nexty will share our experience at avoiding these mistakes.