How to Launch an Initial Coin Offering
Initial coin offerings, or ICOs as they are commonly abbreviated, are considered the first complete manifestation of the confluence of the traditional world of investing and new technology like the blockchain. Launching an ICO is seen as a relatively simple task.
There’s no question concerning the simplicity of the process. However, there are a few minute aspects that need to be taken into consideration when launching your ICO. It is to be remembered that it is not the process of the technology that counts but the project and the marketing of the tokens!
The Precursor to a Successful ICO
Launching an ICO sounds easy and simple on paper. It was seen as one of the quickest ways to raise funds. There have even been spoof ICOs that raised almost $200,000! However, the case is different for people who have a genuine idea and look forward to that ICO as a proper fundraising method that promises great returns for the investors.
A meticulously planned ICO can help both the company and the investors. Following a few steps will ensure that your ICO is successful.
Most Crucial Steps to Launch Your Own ICO
Pass the Idea Through Essential Filters
No! We are not talking about the validity of the idea [although it also deserves to be questioned]. We are talking about asking questions your project actually needs investments and if these investments need to be procured through an ICO. Spend a moment to think from the perspective of investors – you need to have clear-cut answers to the question: will they invest in your ICO?
Understand the Competitive Landscape
There are instances when you might launch a new product or a revolutionary idea. Sometimes, your product could be displacing another standard product in the market. What advantages do you offer? Is it easy to find success? Even if you do not have answers to these questions, it is important to find decisive answers at least for the sake of your investors. It is highly recommended that you perform a complete competitive analysis for your marketing landscape.
Ensure Legal Compliance
Relationships between legal systems and anything to do with blockchain technology has been shaky at best. ICOs have the notorious distinction of having been marred by scams and a lot of malpractices. In most countries, the laws governing ICOs might not be obvious but they do exist. Except for South Korea and China, no other country has explicitly banned ICOs in the jurisdictions.
It is not enough to just ensure the legality of your business but also think from an investor perspective. In the United States, the legal system mandates that citizens disclose all the income earned to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The SEC takes care to prosecute ICOs that do not comply with the requirements like the KYC/AML formalities. Needless to say, a legal team that stays constantly updated with the latest amendments and regulations is important to ensure the success of your ICO.
Create an ICO Token
- Perhaps the most explicit indicator of the launch of your ICO is your utility token. The first aspect that needs to be figured out with respect to the token when you launch your ICO is the distribution plan. Token sale can be carried out in different stages, the private sale, the pre-sale, the actual ICO, and a general sale.
- The way in which you raise funds depends on the token the same distribution plan that you decide. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this million-dollar question. There have been instances when some ICOs have managed to collect more than $16,000 by just collecting donations to an anonymous wallet, and there are also ICOs that managed to raise more than $850 million in a secretive pre-sale.
- The distribution plan should also detail the total number of tokens, the tokens that will be issued within the team, and the number of tokens that will be sold in each stage of your token sale. You should also discuss the instances that would lead to the issue of additional tokens.
- The blockchain that you will choose to launch your ICO is something that your ICO developer needs to address with the utmost importance. Most of the ICOs depend on Ethereum for their ICO development solutions. There are, however, instances of companies creating their own custom blockchain to function as their ICO launch platform. A small proportion of ICOs have used blockchains like Waves, Stratis, and Hyperledger.
- Using Ethereum for your ICO development makes the process extremely easy. The website lists the code that you will need to use. However, it is important for your ICO developer to customize certain aspects of the code, so it fits your business requirement.
- The white paper is considered the single most important document in the process of launching your ICO. Your white paper, although it’s meant to be a technical document, should cover a lot of details including but not limited to the market analysis, your vision for the project, the development strategy, the architecture, the business goals, and above everything, the tokenomics.
- Your white paper also serves as a passive marketing document. The white paper should also contain information about the legal compliance that you have established, the available resources, the credentials of your team, the founding members and directors, the early investors and your advisers.
- It is not common for an investor to go through every nook of an ICO white paper. However, we cannot completely deny the chances of it happening. The people who read your white paper fully are those who will make your ICO popular in the right circles. For all you know, these people could be the influencers and their word might mean a lot to an entire community of blockchains enthusiasts and investors.
- The website is the face of your ICO. Even if people do not have direct access to your white paper, they are quite likely to visit your website. The website should be built in a way that is intuitive and easy to navigate. The important links on your website should be made obvious and easily clickable.
- The website content should be crafted in such a way that it intrigues, informs, and then explains. It is important to include the details of your team, the goals of your project, and also the measures that you will take to protect the interest of your investors. You should also include details on the roadmap of your project, and the platforms of presence, especially on social media and communication channels.
- Including a FOMO factor website and edifying the credentials and achievements of your team ensure that your website becomes a marketing material by itself.
- One of the aspects on which your ICO launch services provider should be brutally uncompromising is the security. Once your ICO starts, it is quite possible that thousands of people will visit your website all at the same time. If your website crashes at such a rush hour, it could be quite detrimental to the image of your ICO. Your website should be protected from all hacking, DDoS attacks, and any other common form of threat.
- It is to be remembered that your website is the ultimate culmination point for all your marketing efforts. Therefore, your website should be built in such a way that it is search-optimization friendly.
Marketing your ICO
Marketing and PR form the garnish of your ICO creation exercise. Marketing your ICO is capital intensive, and it is strongly suggested that you set aside a substantial amount of money for marketing and PR purposes.
Marketing your ICO, just like any other marketing effort, involves both paid and organic marketing. In both these verticals, communication is the biggest key. It is strongly encouraged that you participate in cryptocurrency communities, forums like bitcoin talk, ICO calendars, Reddit, Slack, Telegram, LinkedIn, and Quora.
You can also engage in classic marketing activities like email marketing, and New age marketing activities like running a bounty program. It is to be remembered that certain advertising platforms impose restrictions when it comes to advertising ICOs and anything related to blockchain. It is recommended that you diligently ensure compliance before depending on a marketing platform.
Your ICO is all set, primed, and ready to make a big impact. It is quite possible that a lot of investors, irrespective of their initial research, want to have a few last-minute questions answered before they commit their dollars to your project. Therefore, it is important to be available for your investors round the clock at the time of your ICO lunch. Also, the launch is the most vulnerable time for a cyber attack. Keeping this in mind, you should also have your security specialists on standby all the time to attend to any unanticipated grievances.
Getting Your Token Listed
Getting you’re token listed on a reputed exchange can be considered the moksha or the Holy Grail for your ICO. This listing will ensure that your investors get formidable returns. It is essential to figure out trivial things like the name of the coin, the trading symbol, the coin logo, and the description of your project. There are different exchanges and their requirements are bound to vary. Almost all crypto exchanges demand that the ICO source code should be provided to them before they list the coin, and for this purpose, it is strongly suggested that you create a link on GitHub. Ensure that you do due research before approaching an exchange, and your ICO is all set to script and spin on the story of succes like many other ICOs!
Now that you are aware of the complete process of launching your ICO, and you have chosen your ICO launch platform, all you need to do is a partner with a perfect ICO launch service provider. There are companies that understand the market, your competitive landscape, the technology, and the legal dimensions of ICOs with respect to every country. It is suggested that you consider all the factors before choosing your ICO launch partner.