How to Launch an ICO? A Detailed Guide 2023
A Detailed Guide to Launching your ICO
Table of Contents
With the advent and release of an ICO in the market, there has been a lot of competition in the market. With the total amount of funds exceeding 27 billion dollars, everyone wanted to try it out.
You are most likely considering launching an ICO in the market. While there are projects like Useless Ethereum Token, which was most likely created by an individual in the blink of an eye and still managed to raise about $ 95,499 and 310,445 Ethers in contributions, for your future investment project, you will need a fairly significant amount of time. Along With this, you will need a reliable team to fetch funds to run a successful campaign.
Launching an ICO campaign can be expensive and may require some additional funds, approximately $60,000 or more depending upon the nature of the project. The number of funds can vary depending upon the objectives and goals of the project.
For clarity: ICO vs. Venture Capital: What is best for your company?
Setting up an ICO campaign can take a fairly long time and in most cases, public participation, project launch, and all other announcements can take approximately 6 months to a year.
The period of time after announcing the opening of public participation, which includes everything that happens between the first announcement and the actual sale of the ICO token can usually last about three months. This timeframe is often considered long enough to attract public attention and short enough that the public does not forget about the project.
When it comes to the team involved in the project, there is no general rule of thumb regarding the number of people you will need to support you. You need to ensure to hire as many people on your team to cover all areas of expertise to bring life to your project. This can comprise developers, Blockchain and cryptocurrency specialists, press releases, publicity and marketing, as well as advisors, partners, and initial investors.
Similarly, in the country of ICOs, there are no fixed rules the competition is fierce, and your time can run out. The future value of tokens is supported with nothing but an illusion.
To help you understand this better, here is a comprehensive guide designed to help you launch your own ICO successfully.
1. Come up with an Idea, Think about it, and make sure your Project really needs an ICO.
If you want your project to succeed in the market, you need to offer a solution that the market is currently in need of. This resolution should be much better than what your opponents offer in the market. You will need to have a deep understanding of how the market works, the target audience who will invest, and, most importantly, know what the market will be willing to give you their funds for in order to achieve this goal.
If your project is financed through an ICO campaign, you will have your token. According to data from CoinMarketCap there are currently more than 14000 cryptocurrencies. So, if your token survives this competition, let alone gain value and appreciation in the future, it will have to be in very high demand. To achieve this, you need to presume a way to integrate the cryptocurrency you are developing into your project in a useful and meaningful way to become an essential and critical part of the product.
Think wisely before investing your money in the project too. Do you require tokenization if you are selling soap? If your project makes use of tokens unnecessarily, potential investors will likely not even consider placing their money into your project.
A good way to test your idea and get feedback would be to create a thread on the BitcoinTalk forum and tag it for the preannouncement.
2. Know your Competition
It is very important to study the market and know its competitors. It will not be a regular project but rather a run for the investors’ money. You need to enter the market early and place your product superior to others. Make sure you highlight the features, the services, and the striking selling proposition your product offers. Ensure it stands out from the rest and grab the attention of potential investors.
3. Research the Legal side of Things and Find out if ICOs are really Legal in your Country.
Initial coin offerings are presently the most regulated aspect of cryptocurrencies out there. This is due to the large volume of ICOs that go out of business and escape with the funds raised by investors or expose themselves as hoaxes.
In several countries, Initial Coin Offerings are permitted by the government and legal, regulated, or subject to future regulations. Developed countries like China, South Korea have explicitly banned ICOs in their respective legal jurisdictions. From the governments of Russia and India, they have launched serious threats to the ICO market and its collection methods to prevent the movement in the market.
To learn more about the legal issue: Is Bitcoin legal?
In the US, people are required to disclose the availability of an ICO to the Internal revenue service (IRS) and let them know of any income they have generated from abroad. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been prosecuting ICOs that do not comply with its strict “Know Your Customer” policies. Paragon and AirFox were the first Initial coin offerings that the SEC had sanctioned for the sale of unregistered securities. The sanction was imposed much after the conclusion of the respective ICO campaigns. Several projects have clearly exempted US citizens from purchasing their tokens because of such restrictions.
The bottom line is that you ought to learn to navigate the crypto regulations that are currently in place and pay close attention to any future changes to them. In this market, ensure you do not break the law. Hiring a lawyer with experience in bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and ICO regulations wouldn’t hurt.
Ensure that if you are not breaking any laws, any suspicious activity on your part, especially in relation to investment management, may lead to your project being labeled a scam by the crypto community. Your ICO can fail if that happens.
It is crucial to follow all relevant laws and government regulations, but it is vital to be completely transparent in how you are going to handle people’s money. Expenses, taxes, funds, withdrawals, and any other financial aspect of the project are factors that need to be thought about and disclosed to the last detail. Being clear and transparent adds an extra layer of honesty to your investors.
4. Create a Token for the ICO
Having a technical framework is the key to your ICO body, just like a human being. Blockchain technology ensures that everything flows efficiently In the market.
You will be required to have a solid distribution plan. For instance, there can be many additional stages of the token sale, including, but not limited to, a private sale, the pre-sale, the ICO, and the general sale to the investors.
You know well about the subject in What is an ICO token and how does it work?
Different frameworks and governing structures work for different ICOs. NXT had managed to raise $ 16,800 in Bitcoin in the year 2013 by solely collecting donations in an anonymous wallet through the BitcoinTalk forum. Interestingly, after all these years, the NXT ICO is still considered the best in terms of return on investments.
We also know about Telegram that efficiently raised 1.7 billion dollars in a private pre-sale that was reserved for large investment funds.
Following this, you must clearly indicate and demonstrate how precisely the tokens will be distributed among the investors. Think in advance how many tokens will be issued in total, how many will be distributed among your back-end team members, and how many will be sold during each stage of the token sale. Finally, decide which particular scenario you will issue additional tokens to the investors.
The market is not highly competitive when it comes to using blockchain platforms to issue ICO tokens. As per the data from ICOWatchList, 82.46 percent of projects use the Ethereum platform, while the rest look to develop their own custom blockchain platforms to trade, Services like Waves, Stratis, or Hyperledger do exist but even their combined market share is really small compared to what an Ethereum can do.
It is an easy process to create a token precisely when it comes to Ethereum ERC20 tokens. The Ethereum website even lists the code that you can use. However, customizing aspects to sell those tokens to the public can be a bit more stressful, so if you are not exactly tech-savvy, consider hiring a professional to do it for you.
5. Write a White Paper
A white paper refers to a document that an enterprise, the company usually issues, or a non-profit organization to promote and effectively highlight the features of a product or service that it offers.
Ideally, it should cover literally everything: market analysis, your project vision, development strategy that you wish to use, architecture and objectives, information about the token and its distribution, legal issues, your available resources, a description of your team, the first investors, advisors, and much more.
In reality, all potential investors will not carefully read a detailed technical description of your project. Very few might go through with the complete documentation. But it is those people that you need to satisfy with the White Paper because they are capable of posing some serious questions to your ICO.
Those interested in blockchain have the great technical knowledge and added years of experience, they are extremely prominent and valued personalities in the community. They are opinion leaders with audiences of tens of thousands of people. If you decide on running a big press release campaign, but your project has some obvious flaws, those people will not miss a chance to disclose them.
Check out our guide to making a White Paper here: What is a White Paper and how to write it?
6. Launching a website for the campaign
When you launch a website, these will be the striking points
People take an interest in three things: the team behind the project, the objectives of the project, and the measures taken to ensure that the interests of the investors are protected.
On a successful ICO website, you will see detailed information about the token sale structure. This block should not only present the information precisely, but it also has to contribute greatly to creating Fear of losing the opportunity to invest in the project beforehand.
This section of the website should contain names, high-quality photos, short biographies that are specifically guided on the skills of each member, and links to social media.
A roadmap is yet another crucial section of your website. It should contain clear and realistic goals that can be accomplished in the right time and set deadlines. A roadmap with some important milestones already marked will surely give investors an added confidence in your project.
Quite realistically, your timeline should outline the fixed dates for releases. These can include alpha, beta, public release and upcoming future plans. The dates should not be ambiguous, you need to be specific. A crash in the costs associated with each of the tasks outlined in the Roadmap would also be a good idea.
Ultimately, make sure that all the information regarding token distribution is easily accessible to your future investors. Let them know how much of your project’s currency will be distributed to the development team and how many will actually be available to buy.
You can list the links of the project at the bottom of the website and ensure that they are visible and that the redirecting links are correct.
Once you have all of your content ready to publish, devote some time to think about the design of your website. Several current projects opt for a single-page structure as it is a very relaxed and easily accessible way of presenting all the necessary information in the exact order in which it is intended to be. Nevertheless, you and only you will know the most suitable structure for your project website.
The last thing you want in this situation is for your website to crash, so make sure you invest in a good and reliable hosting service. It might not be a favorable idea to let your website go offline at some point. Once your ICO process starts and you have garnered interest from the community, you will see several people rush to your site. Due to this, your website may crash so you need to ensure you invest in a reliable hosting platform.
Furthermore, common attacks like hacking and DDoS are threats to your project and several cases have been reported hacking and wallet address substitution. Consequently, investors unknowingly sent their money to scammers.
Additionally, if you are running a large press release campaign, be sure to take all necessary precautions to protect your project from phishing attacks. It is very common for scammers to accompany a DDoS attack on your server with a spam attack on all possible social channels with a message that says something like “ our website is temporarily down, use this link instead ”.
The true nature of your project should be highlighted in your website design. it has to be reliable, professional, but at the same time friendly. Even a small formatting error can create a bad image for potential investors. You can consider hiring professionals to build and design your project website.
If you look to bring your project to a global level, you should consider translating it to the native languages of your target audience. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, German, French, and Spanish are some of the most prevalent languages you can use.
It can cost you around $ 60,000 to create a successful ICO from scratch, and yet you will only have to allocate a relatively small amount of money for translations. Depending on the language pair, a professional or agency translation of a 25-page white paper should cost between $ 150 and $ 200.
If you wish to launch a multilingual website, ensure to hire professional translators who are definitely good at their job. Even the slightest mistake will result in your project looking unprofessional and losing potential investors.
This is roughly what the perfect website should comprise:
- Subscription form
- Presentation video
- Roadmap: what, when, and how you will do it
- Description of your ICO
- The backend team: high-quality photos, short biographies, links to social networks
- Press coverage: photos with Vitalik Buterin and other prominent members of the crypto community, links to articles and publications, videos of presentations and talks.
- Description of your product
- Real use cases and scenarios
- Documents: terms and conditions, legal, White Paper, etc.
- Partners, advisers, first investors
- Contact information and links to the project’s social media account
7. Press and Marketing Notes
So after you have developed an idea, assembled a dedicated team, wrote a White Paper, created your token, and ensured that your ICO campaign complied with all applicable laws and regulations. It is now the time to actively promote it to earn money.
Ensure that you reserve some funds for marketing. The prices of the sites where paid information is published can vary in huge amounts from around $ 400 to $ 15,000 and to a virtually infinite number. A good social media manager who will be in charge of your project’s social media presence will cost you approximately $ 2,000 per month.
Paid advertisements through GoogleAds, Forum Ads, etc are another useful feature you can incorporate to get the most out of your campaign. You need to actively consider the amount of money or tokens you need to allocate to the rewards program post your press release campaigns.
Similar to website design, planning a press release campaign is from the point of view of a potential investor. Consider how and where your audience will find out about the project and, most importantly, how exactly it will be presented to them.
You need to clearly outline where your project is positioned within the current market and share your first line of communication: a FAQ and your Terms and Conditions beforehand.
Fear of missing out is what the cryptocurrency market is driven by. People will invest in your company if the hype around them is so exciting that it leads them to believe that they will miss out on an incredible opportunity if they don’t invest.
7.1 Communication is the key
You need to ensure that the team is communicating with investors constantly during the entire process of the ICO campaign. The more communication channels you use, the more likely your project will be a success. Think of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, and forums like BitcoinTalk and Reddit.
7.2 Be a part of the cryptocurrency community
Here are some of the ways to get involved with the cryptocurrency community:
- Forums: A forum is one of the most essential parts of your release campaign. Several ICOs were held on Bitcoin-related online forums. BitcoinTalk is something you can choose online as it is currently one of the most prevalent platforms. You should not leave forums like Bitcoin.com, AltcoinTalks, BitcoinGarden, and many others when it comes to online platforms.
- ICO Calendars: It’s a clever idea to let people stumble by your campaign by accident. There are various ICO calendars that permit potential investors to keep track of upcoming ICOs, and you should take full advantage of these services. Other noteworthy examples are ICO Listing Online, CoinTelegraph, TokenMarket, ICOBench, ICOAlert, and many, many others.
- Reddit: On Reddit, you can find more than 40 subreddits that are related solely to Bitcoin and is perhaps the most active social network platforms when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Many subreddits are dedicated to altcoins, as well as ICOs, such as r / icocrypto, r / ico and r / ICOanalysis. You need to constantly monitor the platform and use the search bar to find and keep track of your project and ICO threads. Looking for commonly asked questions by people and answering them should be the priority of your campaign.
- Discussions on Quora: Quora is an online forum-like community that is built around online users asking questions and getting their answers from experts. It is an excellent platform that is used widely by several people across the world to get answers to commonly asked questions.
- Slack & Telegram: They are messengers that are adopted by the cryptocurrency community. Both services will permit you to set up channels, which is a very useful way to keep your target audience up to date about your campaign and promote your ICO. In addition to this, you can even set up a chat for your potential investors to communicate and discuss the project.
- LinkedIn: Your project can provide links to the profiles on LinkedIn accounts of your project team members and you will notice how the service becomes another extremely useful tool both for promotion and to instill confidence in your potential investors. . This is where your audience can see how influential your project is in your crypto community. Also, there are professional groups like ICO Launch group, ICO group, and many others where you can discuss and promote the campaign.
- Facebook Groups: When you create an ICO, you will also need a new FB page as you can attract many people. Keep in mind, however, that this platform can no longer be utilized as a paid promotional tool, as Facebook is now on the lookout to ban all ICO- related ads. Nevertheless, there are still many dedicated groups, where you can promote your campaign. Remember that Facebook is prevalent and you may find many specific language groups there that will also be suitable for promoting your ICO.
- Email Marketing: You need to keep people informed with a weekly email that can also be like a reminder. You could also remind them of your ICO start date a month, a week, a day, or even five minutes before it commences. Do not spam your customers with lots of email in their accounts as it might not be preferred.
7.3 Rewards Program
Several ICO’s across the world offer bounty and rewards to their users. These programs are inclusive of monetary rewards for activities that users can perform. Basically, this means paying people to promote your ICO in forums, holding discussion threads on various online services and messengers, translating and localizing documents, social media posts, and much more.
Although there are several added advantages to this approach, you should try not to overdo it. Several experienced users can easily catch paid posts and if word spreads that your project is abusing rewards programs for money, the community will inevitably be suspicious. At the end of the day, nobody likes false advertising and your product should be able to sell without you having to resort to paid promotion within the community.
7.4 Important Announcement
To run a successful campaign, you will have to advertise it through any means available, ensuring that you have reached as many people as possible in the community. But it is of the utmost importance that you and your marketing team are very careful with every post, or response.
Even if only infrequent users on any forum, subreddit, or social network have any reason to suspect that your ICO is a scam, it will strongly affect the outcome of your campaign. Other potential investors will carry out extensive checks on your project and find bad opinions about it. None of the ICOs can afford to take that risk, so always ensure to choose your words carefully.
Remember, there is nothing more damaging to an ICO campaign than the crypto community labeling it is a fraud scheme.
8. Launch an ICO
Your Initial Coin Offering is now all set to be launched and is live. You might wonder how long will it last and how can it be successful? Let’s take a look at some successful ICO’s:
- Mastercoin now known as Omni Coin – raised around $ 750,000 in Bitcoin and lasted for almost 30 days.
- Stratis – The ICO lasted 36 days, raising almost $ 600,000
- Ethereum – Token sale lasted 42 days, raising $ 18 million
- NXT – The ICO ran for 51 days, raising $ 14,000
- Waves – The token sale lasted 49 days, raising over $ 16 million.
If you look at the above statistics, we will realize that an ideal campaign can last around 41 days. This is just an average and is subject to change.
However, this can reflect changes. The time frame is long enough to generate FOMO and promote the project, which attracts more people and more investment, while it is not too long for investors to see some real results and the project moves forward.
Communication is the most important tool when it comes to having any project related to cryptocurrencies, and this is especially true during the ICO itself. The ideal is to have an expert who knows all elements of your project who work 24 hours a day. Remember, this is the defining period in the history of your project, there will be people looking for answers to their immediate questions before contributing, or asking for guidance on how to do it.
You will also need to have security specialists on call at all times. Your online website could be targeted, as it happened with the Coindash ICO on July 17, 2017. The website was unfortunately hacked on the first day of its ICO campaign, and that resulted in a loss of about $ 7 million in Ether.
What Happens After an ICO?
Your ICO will be a success if your community has delivered its promise. Now, once the campaign is over, it’s up to your project to meet its goals. Now is the time to distribute the tokens to the investors, follow your specified roadmap and do your best to offer the highest possible value to customers and token holders.
This is basically just the beginning of the process. Launching your ICO was the easy part. Now that your project has raised the necessary funds, the development of the final product should begin and it can continue on a broad platform. At this point, your project not only has the funds to do what it set out to do but also a moral and financial obligation not to break the trust of its investors.
Put your Token on Exchanges
We can agree that you need to fine-tune your token and contribute to the crypto community by developing your projects. You will need to figure out a way how you can benefit everyone.
To make this goal attainable, your token needs to be in demand, provide some value and be listed on any one currency exchange. Each cryptocurrency exchange has different requirements for tokens to be listed, but if your project offers something unique and truly valuable to the crypto community, you will be able to fetch all benefits.
Poloniex is a well-established exchange and they boast highly of their products.
Binance is yet another major cryptocurrency exchange and has a team dedicated exclusively to reviewing requests for new tokens waiting to be listed. Most other exchanges will require your token to prove its value in a similar way.
The basic attributes that any currency must have in order to be listed on a stock exchange are as follows:
- Coin Name: This should be self-explanatory, it is the same name as your project, or something very similar.
- Currency Exchange Symbol: Usually a three-letter ticker that will represent your token forever. The number of letters can sometimes go up to five, with no numbers allowed.
- Description of your project and your token: You need to provide each exchange you are trying to enter that your token appears with a clear mission and a niche for your currency. Why would they want to include it on the list? What makes your token different from hundreds of other coins floating around?
- Coin Logo: You will need to design an elegant and memorable logo for your token. Think of the instantly recognizable orange Bitcoin logo. Most bags accept logos in PNG format with a transparent background.
- Launch Date: This should be the first day of the ICO campaign.
- Link to GitHub: Most exchanges require source code before considering listing a currency. The source code needs to be reviewed by a third party.
- Payment: Some exchanges, in case sufficient due diligence is required, may ask you to pay a compliance fee before your token appears on them. Bittrex, for example, used to warn its users that a fee of $ 5,000 could be charged; however, it appears that this rule has since been eliminated.
In case you’re not sure which type of exchange to apply to, here is a list of some of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in terms of trading volume:
We cannot recommend that you list your token on any exchange as there are large and solid exchanges that are widely available in the market. Several portals that are known for dishonest practices such as illegal movements and listing your token on these unreliable exchanges can cause problems for token holders, thus creating a bad point of view for the project and a negative impact on token prices in the future.
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