A 10-Step Guide to Writing a Compelling ICO White Paper

As interest in Initial Coin Offerings continues to grow, the market has established a set of ICO guidelines that insists every team needs a white paper.  Subsequently, the success of an ICO launch depends on the effectiveness of its white paper. The white paper is not just a marketing pitch to online investors but is the business plan that guides all the actions of the startup going forward.

The white paper is a document that determines the technology behind a blockchain project. It contains growth anticipations, a description of the system architecture, requirements for the issue/use of tokens, as well as information about team members and advisors. white papers have come a long way since the early manuscripts from Bitcoin, Siacoin, Augur, Storj and IOTA. In fact, today’s whitepaper features coloured front pages, images and captivating graphics.

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With more startups launching ICOs, the demand for white paper writers is increasing fast. If you want to branch out and up your value, you’ll want to learn how to write an ICO white paper.

Tips for Writing an ICO White Paper

Structure your white paper: Before you start writing, you’ll need a structure that your white paper should follow. A good white paper should answer all potential questions an investor might ask while telling a story at the same time.

Your white paper should contain an introduction; table of contents; description of the problem; introduction of your product and how it’s going to solve the problem; details on what is ready and what will be developed after the ICO; the goal of your token; details of token commercialisation; how the funds will be used; introduction to team members; and a roadmap.

Research problems or challenges within the existing market: It’s important to carry out extensive research when writing about cryptocurrency. Understand the lingua and common terms used in the cryptocurrency world. Familiarise yourself with white papers from the best ICO offerings. The ICO white paper you’re writing should solve a problem, so write from that angle. It could be a future problem you foresee or one that’s happening right now.

Give the readers a solution to the problem: This is where your product description comes in. Your white paper will contain a development strategy, prototype data and first users. Most ICO project teams start out with a few mock-ups and a well-designed PDF, but they have no real product to speak of. A project with an established base of users and a working ecosystem has a better chance of token survival on the market.

Talk about the Project: This is the meat. You’ll need to be thorough in this section. Explain to investors where your product fits into the market. Back up numbers with facts, research and analysis. Describe your product in detail and let your potential investors know what the current stage of the project is.  Most investors will only put their money with an ICO that has an ecosystem and user base.

Your source code is a second white paper: Remember the source code is like a second white paper that should reflect the transparency claimed and executed in the original white paper.  Developers know that the underlying technology upon which the blockchain project is built says a lot about the success or failure of the ICO. You can’t fake a source code, because programmers and developers will notice any discrepancies between the actual technical buildup and supposed characteristics. The project should embody the qualities naturally.

The Technical Solution: Following up on the point above, the technical part of your white paper should be fact-checked by a third party to ensure your principles are achievable and accurate. The terms of the audit and system used to conduct the audit should also be disclosed.  Don’t forget to publish your source code in a code repository, so that investors can carry out their own research.

Show potential investors the business benefits: How much money will users save when they endorse your product? What will the end user gain by using your product? Benefits are not the same as features. Benefits give the reader an incentive to invest. It’s not about your company or product, but what you can do to help your customer.

Secure your ICO: A good whitepaper is ineffective if investors believe that your ICO is not secure. Detail all the security measures you’re taking to protect your investor’s money. Experts advise that ICO organisers have to ensure their domain names are secure. Therefore, renew them regularly if you bought them from a third party and ensure the authoritative configured name is yours.

Assemble a multi-professional team: Chapin, an investor-angel, said he had invested in a strong team, even though they had a bad idea because he believed they could create a valuable product. Examples are given of Pinterest (that started out as an online shopping app) and Nokia (a paper production and woodworking company). A multi-professional team is necessary for success. An engineer who understands blockchain should be part of the team from the start. This convinces investors that you can deliver what you plan to offer.

How are you going to use the funds? Many organisations mention events related to industrial development and industrial consortia. This raises suspicions that your team is spending money on something else, such as a personal need and not the project itself. Therefore, explain to an extent how the capital will be spent. Investors want to know they are contributing to the project, not your wallet.

writing an ico whitepaper

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Make sure your ICO is future-proof: The development roadmap contains a technical description of the project and future development plans for the next one to two years. You’re trying to tell investors that it can be commercialised and adopted.

Other aspects to keep in mind

The white paper must be well written, so maintain a balance between communication and professionalism. Avoid jargon that confuses the reader and build credibility as an industry leader. Synapse SEO and other tools can help your design and graphics – which must also complement the text. Hire a graphic designer to create an attractive cover page, but ensure it highlights the essential elements of your white paper. Graphics are a great way to explain how features work. Most white papers include a visual representation of the token sale and roadmap, just like the image above.


One response

    That was a precisely ‘to the point’ kind of guide. Having read it you feel like ‘should have been somewhat more’.

    Thanks a lot. Definitely going to bookmark it.

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