ICO campaign: From Zero to Business

 
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Decide if an ICO is suitable for your business

IBM has published a complete set of resources to help business owners decide whether they should launch an ICO, and how to go about starting up. Even if you’re a seasoned veteran, I would highly recommend reading over the documentation, as there’s something in it for everyone.

Business structure and legislation

Now you’ve worked out that launching an ICO is right for you, it’s time to assess what business structure and relevant jurisdiction legislation applies to your idea. Whilst you may have discovered the best use of cryptocurrency to date, and can’t wait to get started, it will all be in vain if your CTO runs away with your intellectual property, or government officials freeze your companies accounts. Quite simply, do it right, and do it right from the start – it will help you no end in the long run. Here are some great resources on proper business structures, whether you’re a bootstrapping startup or established corporate player.

Write a Whitepaper

Or hire someone qualified and professional to do it. Check out Upwork or Freelancer for the best in the business. Check their credentials, and ask for previously written work. As with anything on the internet, don’t take everything at face value (!)  Check out this great ICO whitepaper resource too. An accompanying website, even if it’s just a landing page, will help your legitimacy too. As with the whitepaper, try and stick to content overlooks.

Within your whitepaper, you should outline the technical aspects of your product, what pain points or problems you intend to solve within your industry (or new industry!), how you’ll do that, your team and qualifications/ experience, token platform, fundraising structure, marketing plan, roadmap. You also want to decide the number of tokens your company will retain for the development team and any future investment projects. The Stellar Development Foundation has a good example of a non-profit structure here.

ICO Platform

You’re in luck when picking a platform to create and launch your token. Since Ethereum’s launch in 2016, a multitude of different ways to create, fund, and list your token have evolved. From creating an ERC20 token – Ethereum – to taking advantage of Stellar’s tokenization and inbuilt decentralized exchange, Waves decentralized exchange or EOS unique exchange and smart contract features. Choosing which platform to develop on will very much depend on your available resources (Ethereum uses Solidity to code for example, whereas Stellar uses JavaScript), business use cases, and what funding model you want to take.

ICO Funding

Decide how much money you want to raise in each round, and set it as a ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ cap – (definition). You can spell out to investors how much each token is worth in subsequent seed rounds, what percentage discount they are receiving, and how much they might be worth at market value. KYC (know your customer) regulations are also kicking in, dependent on where you are setting up.

ICO Marketing

What is ICO marketing?  Simply – marketing for your ICO! It was big in 2017. It’s bigger in 2018. There are a HUGE amount of marketing channels and resources at your disposal. Depending on your business use case, you can identify what approach(es) will work best, and develop your ICO marketing strategy appropriately. This can be best thought of as your ‘Direct ICO marketing checklist’ – organic driven public interest paid PR and Agency firms, or a combination of the two. Check out this great list of 30 ICO marketing and PR firms.

Airdrops

Airdrop rewards: A common method of spreading awareness and liquidity among existing cryptocurrency users. Generally distributed to ‘main coin’ holders who own Ethereum and Bitcoin. Great at getting the attention of a particular community. Can be a double-edged sword, as it potentially dilutes value to fiat investors, and therefore weakens brand authority.

Conclusion

So, launching an ICO, unsurprisingly, takes quite a lot of work. It is a business venture after all. There are a whole host of further free resources which can provide invaluable advice, from how to finesse your business idea to dealing with partnership re-shuffles and exit strategies.

Excitingly, these topics and many more will be covered during the New Economy Online Conference sponsored by Newconomy and (UBAI) the University of Blockchain and ICOs.