How to Successfully Launch an ICO
It’s all over the news. Everybody talks about it. Everybody wants to do it. Raise some money through an ICO – YES.
But there’s a catch because not everybody succeeds. And that’s a fact. In the last year, thousands of ICOs rolled out and hardly any of them succeeded. Yet, in 2017 investors poured their money into these ICOs. This has changed. While we are still seeing hundreds of new ICOs start each quarter, the field has become ultra competitive. So, what’s happening? Was the ICO phenomenon just ONE PERFECT WAVE? I don’t think so. I think in order for ICOs to succeed, they have to be smarter. Let’s find out how they are doing it. How does one launch a successful ICO?
Dissect the Idea
What makes an ICO successful? Honestly, it’s hard to tell. The experience shows that there is no such thing as a recipe or magic formula that can open the door to success. But successful ICOs do have certain things in common. Before you decide learn how to create an ico, it would be good to review these commonalities.
The data that we acquired here at TruDex through our rigorous testing system showed that ICOs with a total score over 70% had a good chance of survival. Our testing was very strict all with the goal of offering objective, unbiased information to the investor. And we succeeded. Basically, all the ICOs that had a good score had a good public sale and the projects are still on.
The IDEAL ICO
To set an upper limit, let’s explore the concept of an ideal ICO. That would be an ICO that:
- Raises 80% of the Hard Cap.
- Has an idea with use cases developed.
- Tokens that are exchangeable after the ICO.
- Team tokens are vested.
- Project continues after the public sale with the same vigor.
Note that this is not an ideal ICO from the Investor’s point of view only. Instead, this is a mix from both sides. What would be good for a startup and what would send a positive signal to all participants? Raising more than 80% of the hard cap would certainly give the team enough money to make the project happen, while team tokens that are vested would give credibility to the ICO and put investors at ease.
No Magic Recipe to Launch a Successful ICO. For Now.
This is simply true.
And this is something I often say to my clients, colleagues and friends. I’ve seen ICOs with great ideas that failed, and “bad” ICOs with good marketing succeed. However, there are certain factors that make some ICOs stand out. Different things that when combined, give a certain startup an edge in comparison to another.
Based on our experience, a good ICO would have strong scores in these areas:
- ICO basic IDEA (Problem/Solution)
- Other relevant info
ICO BASIC IDEA (Problem/Solution)
This is the core element of your startup. This is your idea that is going to change the world and you want to raise money because you truly believe so, and you are certain you can do it. But look closer, it’s not just enough to have a noble idea and pure heart. You also need a good problem-solution relation. If you have a great idea (problem spotted, market gap identified), be sure that you have a solution that is also good enough. This is where the ICO fails and has a bad day on their public sale opening.
The core document of any ICO is the Whitepaper. Be sure to present the solution to the problem clearly in that document. A good formulation of the problem/solution may mean the difference between fail/success on the big day. I personally think that this part is heavily underestimated. If you want a successful ICO, be sure to express clearly your intentions.
Realistically, this should come at place number 1. The power of marketing is clear to all and speaks for itself in all areas across all industries. It is no difference with ICOs. What do you think gives more credibility, an ICO’s Twitter account with 123 followers or the one with 11k or 23k? These things are really simple and self-explanatory. You need a good marketing strategy that would go on for months before the ICO. Now it’s harder to do that because of the restrictions on Facebook, Google, etc. But ICOs still manage to find a way to market themselves via:
- Twitter account
- Telegram room
- LinkedIn page
- Steemit page
- Medium page
- Bitcoin talk
- Facebook (?)
- Instagram (?)
Although Facebook and Instagram are not really the best places for an ICO advert, I mentioned them all just to explain the full package. And it’s not just enough to have the accounts, you need a few people systematically interacting with the public over all of these channels. Yes – You need a full public relations team. On Reddit and Quora, you need influencers debating the benefits of your ICO.
When it comes to technology, you will need to consider different things that are important, starting with your website. As ICOs have developed, so have the websites. The category of ICO Website doesn’t really exist, yet all the ICO websites have some things in common that make them recognizable. Here is some good advice: check the websites of 20-30 ICOs that had success in the past and integrate the hallmarks of an “ICO Website” on your own ICO Website.
Other important parts regarding technology are:
- Is Prototype published and working (USE CASE !!! )
- Published smart contract
- Other code published
- Code Audited
This is just to name a few. I will comment just on the USE CASE. I think it is paramount to have a working use case of your idea and to show it transparently to the world. There is a lot more wisdom in the former sentence than you might think. A use case can be a defining factor for your ICO.
A nice team with good LinkedIn profiles and preferably one publicly available social media account gives a lot of credibility to the whole project. It shows transparency and gives confidence as anyone can see the faces behind the names, their work experience, etc. ICOs with Team members without LinkedIn profiles don’t give much confidence. Please note that this is not just limited to LinkedIn profiles, but as we all know, LinkedIn is somewhat of a de facto standard when it comes to professional connections. A good team should consist of:
- Marketing Expert
- Blockchain Developer
- Content Creator/Social Media
- Lawyer/Legal experience
- Other experts relevant in the filed of the specific ICO
Other Relevant Info
This is the part where I say: “I don’t know.” and not feel guilty about that at all. Under this category, should fall everything that’s not part of the previous categories but it’s relevant to your specific ICO, all that makes it unique. Things I did not mention here but you think should be on your ICO Website or Whitepaper.
Is the only bolded term in this article and it’s crucial for your ICO. Investors love ICO transparency. Scammers dislike it and prefer to work under the shades. More transparency = more bonus points for your ICO and a better overall score.
Bonus Content / Outro
You know that the essential document of the ICO project is the Whitepaper, but it’s not the only one. Serious ICOs present additional documents like:
- Litepaper – a shortened version of the Whitepaper
- Technical paper – the technicalities of their project
- Tokenomics/Economy paper – explanation of their Token Economy, distribution, usability and other
As more companies that already have established a business are launching ICOs, they tend to be more sophisticated and appealing to the investor while trying to present themselves in the best possible way. Doing so, they make all of these papers with the intention to clearly address each part of their ICO in the specific paper. This is good practice but sometimes redundant because not all ICOs have enough complexity to develop their own “monetary policy” in the Economy paper. Nonetheless, it is nice to see that everyone is taking ICOs more seriously, which adds additional value to the ICO industry.
Bonus text: What happens after the ICO? What I did not mention is that most ICOs don’t talk about what they are going to do with the money – clearly and concisely. Step by step.