The most successful projects don’t have pre-ICOs, here’s why

Let’s admit it. We’re all greedy specially if you are running an ICO. You want to get paid for your effort and risk which is understandable. However there’s a major problem with that…

It’s the fact that you are abusing the trust of the people that care about you. Don’t even think about doing a pre-ICO. Let me explain.

You’ve worked hard for your ICO, you spent months or even years finding the right people, creating the right product with the market demand that you need. Even your whitepaper is 50 pages long. What could go wrong?

A lot, in fact.

You could create the best product ever using blockchain technology to only sell 5% of your total tokens in the ICO. Even so if you are pushing your funding luck too hard with pre-ICOs and private fundings. That’s a major issue that you must fix before it’s too late.

You see, when you are raising money with and ICO, STO or IPO you are exchanging trust for money. Trust = money. If people can trust you because you’ve done your work and the product that you are developing is something that will be 99% successful in the near future, they will invest in it.

Because they are smart.

It’s not hard, in fact you already know this but the sheer amount of work that you had to go through clouded your judgement skills. You need to be reminded.

If you do things right, your investors will get returns-on-investment since the price will increase thanks to a well-executed project.

However even the smartest investors on earth have a hidden limit inside their brains. That’s what I call the <<trust bottle>>. Every time you ask them to do something for you, you are exchanging a bit of water from that trust bottle for whatever action you want them to take.

When you take too much water, the bottle gets empty and you lose the patience of that individual. He turns his valuable attention to another project that respects his time.

That’s why you have to remind people who you are when sending emails after a long time.

Don’t waste people’s trust water.

To get more trust water, you have to give them reasons to trust you. For instance: any famous youtuber. She is constantly producing content that gives people entertainment. She is helping them do something with tutorials.

Would you trust the message of someone that has given you 10 hours of entertainment compared to mister nobody that hasn’t even given you a clear whitepaper?

It’s evident.

That’s why doing pre-ICOs is a bad idea. You are exchanging a lot of trust water for that initial investment which usually ends up bad because people understand that you are raising money to invest in a more profitable ICO. Why not do the ICO instead?

As an ICO developer and advisor I can give you the following suggestions from my experience to improve your product (take notes of this because it will really kickstart your chances of success):

- Research the market to see if your proposed solution is needed somewhere or if it’s just a waste of time because nobody really needs what you are developing. The more information you have about your future clients the better.

- Expose your ideas clearly on the whitepaper. Make it short and easy to digest by putting the main ideas foward while removing the clutter.

- Create a working prototype with a small user base that is already solving the problem that you are supposed to fix. For me this is the biggest trust variable. If someone is showing me that their product is already helping people, I can mostly trust them.

- Handle all of their objections with a clear message. Create a simply FAQ section.

- Show them how it works, how to invest in your project, how to get what they want. A video is 10 times better than text.

- Invest a lot of time on a beautiful, easy to use website. Lots of whitespace with just the right amount of text.

That’s another thing. People underestimate the importance of a beautifully designed website. They ignore the little things because they focus too much on the technical aspects.

Personally, when I see a poorly-designed website I immediately run away from that project because if they can’t put some efford on the basic presentation of their startup they are telling me that they are not committed to a long-term vision.

A great product, a great website, an excellent whitepaper. All of that takes months of work from lots of different individuals. That’s why doing an ICO is hard. It’s a lot of work with a ton of risk for some possible funding.

In fact, a great web design is not hard. Just look at medium, they are made of a block of text that is centered in the middle of the page with nothing more on it. Learn from them by removing all of the distractions.

A clear path to follow is the best design.

My main point is this: You have a limited threshold of trust that you can use from people to get your desired fundings don’t waste it on pre-ICOs. In other words: “Don’t abuse my trust in your project and I’ll give you what you need to make it successful”

And the best way to achieve that is to create the best product you can come up with by working hard and smart.

Pre-ICOs are not an option because most of the investors will see through your intentions to realize that you don’t need it to raise funds for promoting your ICO. Just go to the ICO right away.

When you waste the trust bottle on pre-ICOs, your main ICO will usually be way worse than it could have been in the first place.

If your product is something truly valuable because it is using the blockchain technology in some kind of innovative way then it will probably receive a good funding.

Nevertheless if you are one of the many that have good intentions but are pushing the “trust buttons” of your investors too hard, you’ll find that they will start to avoid you like the plague.

Remember. Unless you can justify the need of a pre-ICO 100%, don’t do it. You’ll regret it later when your initial die-hard investors run away for the real ICO.

That’s it! If you liked this article be sure to clap it, follow me here on medium and check out my “Ethereum Developer: Learn Solidity From Scratch” Ebook. If you want the hardcover printed version (which is truly beautiful I must admit) send me an email to

Finally, follow me on linkedin for more information about me and for contacting me if you want me to work on your startup.




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Merunas Grincalaitis

Merunas Grincalaitis

Blockchain expert. Get my new Ethereum book on Amazon: and my previous one here: