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What is a white paper, and how to write it?

What is a White Paper?

Each Initial Coin Offering (ICO) that trades in the market needs to have a white paper to run a successful drive.

In simple terms, a White paper can be termed as a document that comprises a detailed summary of the problem the project is looking to solve, it provides a solution to that problem and a description of the product with its framework and user interaction.

In case you need more information: How to launch an ICO, a detailed guide?

The content of any technical or logical report should include the following discussion points but should not be limited to these:

  1. Introduction
  2. Legal warning or disclosure
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Description of the market issues and the problems that arise
  5. Description of the product
  6. How are you looking to provide a solution
  7. Details related to a token
  8. How the funds raised will be utilized
  9. The team behind it
  10. The roadmap to achieve it


How to write a whitepaper?

1. Keep things moving

A legal notice or a disclaimer to the project must be placed at the beginning of a White paper as it would be a good section. This may also include information that will exempt residents of certain countries from purchasing the project tokens because of local regulations, or simply letting future investors know that their investments will not guarantee them a feasible return.

A captivating introduction is by far one of the most important aspects of writing any document. You could present the introduction in the form of a letter that is from a CEO, that addresses the future token holders.

This section is where you need to describe the issue your project is looking to resolve. You can provide an explanation of why this problem is important, and perhaps even briefly explain the consequences of not solving it.

This is the perfect moment to capture the attention of your reader so you can explain the benefits of reading your project details, and provide an overview of what the investors can expect from it. Use any available tool to do so: charts, graphs, etc.

A white paper is essentially a document that can be around 25 pages. Therefore, it is extremely important to make your White Paper accessible and easy to navigate. An informative and well-structured table of contents can surely get a lot of work done.

If your project outline comes with important terminologies that can be outlined, you can create a glossary in the same section. Remember that investors may arrive who do not know so many terms of the crypto market and may feel a bit lost.

It may interest you: How to develop technical documents for an ICO: What to do and what not to do.

2. Talk about the project:

You can occupy as much space as you need to talk in detail about your project and explain to potential investors where exactly your product fits in today’s market. Also, ensure to explain what the project is and highlight the crucial parts.

It is also useful if you could back up your data by providing numbers, doing a fact check, or doing extra analysis to render additional information on the technical side.

1. Project status

This section in the project should highlight a detailed description of the project’s current state and prototype data, first users, develop future payment strategy, and general objectives to be achieved.

Most serious investors will only endorse projects that already have something acceptable. If you have any of those available items, clearly highlight them to your readers about them.

2. Finances

Ensure a large section of your White Paper discloses finances. Your white paper should explain why your project needs its tokens, how and when they will be utilized and distributed online, if the number of tokens for the ICO will be limited, when the market sales start, etc. This term is popularly referred to as “Tokenomics” as it indicates the economics that is applicable to tokens.

3. Funds use plan

Investors need to know exactly where their money will go and how much money their project will need to invest in order to complete certain important tasks.

The White Paper should not disclose spending items such as “networking events”, “industry development”, “miscellaneous”, and more. Your White Paper should communicate that all raised money and funds will be spent on development issues only and will not be used for anything else.

4. Road Map

The White Paper should include a precise technical description of the project and a development roadmap. Ideally, a detailed work plan for the next year should be submitted and include at least one initial beta release with its respective tentative release date.

If some of the goals in the roadmap have already been completed, you need to ensure to state this in the white paper as investors will find this appealing.

3. Talk about the team

The team designing the project must be presented as an integral and crucial part of your project. Very rarely will an ICO succeed with an anonymous developer. Several people also consider that when a project does not disclose who its developers are, their project is a scam.

The White Paper should entail a technical description, but this particular section is where the human touch is needed. Investors will highly regard your project if you include photographs, links to the social networks of your team, and short biographies of each member.

Ensure that you not only describe who the team behind your project are, but also explain why they are so important to the project, and how they can make it a success.

You can also specify how your previous experience will be useful for this project. If any of the team members have had experience with projects related to blockchain or cryptocurrencies, be add this clearly as it can be a striking point.

If needed, you could add a few details about the project advisors. Nonetheless, be sure to avoid mentioning irrational names, as the consultants mentioned should be more or fewer experts in what the projects set out to accomplish. It can be a bad impression on the public if at times there is a situation when the expert of your project discloses he has no contribution to the project, so make sure you willingly have their permission to use their name.

4. Style, Language, and Design.

When drafting a white paper, be certain to use formal and academic writing. The document should be very descriptive and sound in a professional manner. Your focus should be narrow, as it is better to choose a topic and focus on relevant information only.

At times, some white papers tend to include a lot of irrelevant information, and they do not focus on writing what’s important.

Do not write about your intention to introduce personalization services in cooperation with another start-up by 2025, if you wish to sell part hats via Blockchain, And do not comment on the possibility of starting to accumulate hats and caps “in the near future. “. Focus on your goal, integrate party hats on Blockchain. You need to pay attention to how the offered tokens will be used to upgrade the party hats, how you might get a new rope or a new paint job for them.

Ensure to check your White Paper for grammar and spelling errors and check everything you can. The text throughout the document should be formatted properly not to look unprofessional.

It is better to go for a professional translator if you wish to present your document in different languages. This could cost you between $150 to $250 for a 25-30 page document. Avoid using online translators to save some money on a professional, as mistakes can happen and cause damage to investors.

5. Where to publish the white paper?

Quite some years back, successful ICO campaigns only published the White Paper in various online forums that were related to Bitcoin. ICOs have turned to a more technical side and are more formal these days which has led to most projects opting to publish their White Paper on their website.

GitHub and several other online forums are still useful but ensure that you provide a single point of access to your white paper. Avoid the practice of copying and pasting across multiple platforms and instead link an original website while promoting yours.

6. ICO White Paper Templates

There are several white paper templates available online just as any other semi-complicated business-related documentation.. In general, the use of such templates is frowned upon by both the crypto community and investors. If you are developing a quality product that is unique, you should devote some time to writing a white paper.

As ICOs gain popularity, the number of freelancers offering to create a White Paper for promising startups has been increasing exponentially, and it can apparently cost as little as $ 100. Yet, this should not even be considered an option for a project that hopes to be seriously used in the market.

Your White paper is the only selling point of your project. It is the unique vision of the product that your team has been looking for and should be treated as such. Saving money on hiring a freelancer to do this job can only lead to damaging the quality and consequently not obtaining the necessary funds.

Alternative Modalities to White Papers

You must have come across documentation of other projects while you conduct your research and seen a yellow paper or a One-pager. What do these mean? These are optional documents that are developed in ICO campaigns that correlate to the information that is in the White Paper.

1. One Pager

A one-pager is a document that presents the White Paper in a short and summarized manner. As the name suggests, it is a one-paged document. The main purpose of the document being so short is that many investors do not have time to read a white paper and they need a concrete document, hence they turn to a one-pager.

2. Yellow paper

While developing ICO’s, there are numerous other projects that display a complex issue at a technological level, and they need to explain very well the technical details of what they hope to develop. You will mainly see Algorithms and technical details highlighted in this type of documentation.

Do we really need to use Yellow Paper as an alternative? Plenty of ICOs have come up with very good ideas when they are in the campaign, but the unhappy thing is that they are only left with ideas. When they go to a legitimate shot, many are faced with the reality that they do not have the technical backing to carry out the project.

Amidst these failures, investors have started to demand all of these documents, especially those who are already familiar with the world of cryptocurrencies. They hope to determine if the team has enough technical knowledge.

If we want to see a successful Yellow Paper we can visualize Ethereum and evaluate how they have explained the more technical details of their project.

3. Beige Paper

A document that is rare in the ICO market but used by some projects. This is a slightly less technical and complex Yellow Paper so that it can be read by a wider and less tech-savvy market. As noted above, very rare projects write this document for their ICO campaign.

Examples of White Papers of Thriving Projects

Some of the instances of Well-Written White Papers behind Successful ICOs comprise of:

Ethereum – $ 15,500,000 raised
Dragon Coin – $ 320,000,000 raised
EOS – $ 4,190,000,000 raised

A noteworthy mention: Ethereum Useless – A witty ICO with perhaps the shortest White Paper in the world, consisting of several sentences written on its website, accompanied by the tagline “Seriously, don’t buy these tokens.” Interestingly, it raised $ 95,430 and some 310,445 Ethers through the “most honest ICO in the world.”

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