Plan your ICO Launch Comprehensively and here’s why you need to.
So you are through with the in-depth analysis that ICO is apt to turn your business vision into reality. After being convinced that ICO is the right way to score investment for your project, you need to devise a well-rounded plan to sail through the crypto world to get your token noticed and invested in from among the thousands already floating across the market.
Crucial to the success of any ICO is the product behind it. The foremost requirement is to strengthen the roots of your project. Dive deep into the details and evaluate the project critically. Even though there is no lack of investors, there sure is indeed a lack of thought-through investment opportunities. Now is the time to ensure that you have a robust, secure, and highly scalable (it is a global market out there, after all). Once your product idea is at a blueprint stage and you have the required investment and target market for your project, it is time to move on to planning, launching, selling, and harvesting benefits from your ICO.
Below is a suggestive guide to launching and running your ICO successfully.
Stages of an ICO Launch
Launching and running an ICO may consume a few months to a year. Based on what you are offering and how you are offering it, the process and duration would vary. In general, there are four stages:
The stage where you are getting on board with the ICO know-hows and teaming up with experts to walk along the arduous journey with you.
The time when you are rigorously working and making progress on the ICO Launch. This is the stage of extensive marketing and communicating in the community.
This stage decides the fate of the ICO and consequently your project.
By this time, the ICO sales have closed and stakeholders should pay back to investors who believed in them.
Above is a broad categorization of the various activities going around during the launch and running of an ICO. This blog intends to enable you to prepare a checklist of all the activities that may help you get through the tedious ICO launch process.
An ICO-based project will be going through the following key activities, each with its specific goals. Some of which do not belong to a particular phase but continue throughout the ICO life-cycle akin to blanket activities. Read along to get your insights strong.
The success or failure of any project relies on the team working on it. An ICO team needs experts who can mentor, guide, and build a secure and trustable ICO platform. The team should consist of two types of members, namely consultants and the core team.
These are the people who will be your torch-bearers. They are the members coming from previously successful ICOs, ICO analysts, experts in the domain of your project, marketing advisors, legal and tax advisors, and a security advisor for your ICO platform.
These are the people leading the various activities enlisted further in this blog. They work on the ground level to accomplish short and long-term goals. They may be individuals or teams performing dedicated tasks collaborating to get your project going.
The core team needs to have the following on board:
- Project Manager: Expert in the product or service your business intends to raise funds for. This person must be aware of targets and timelines. He needs to manage ICO launch, Ground level teams, and coordinate with the consultants.
- Blockchain Specialist Team: Experts in blockchain and token technicality that you intend to launch. These involve security, smart contract, tokenomics management, server handling, etc.
- Technical Editor: The one to effectively express the business intents and handle your communications over the website, your whitepaper, project updates, ICO updates, and ensure every bit going out is truthful and comprehensible.
- ICO Campaign Specialist: This is the team/person leading your ICO to its fate. Ensure that they remain informed about everything going on. They must stay abreast with all developments in the ICO realm as well as progress in the project. Involve them in ICO launch and planning discussions as well.
- PR and Media Specialist: These people get the word across in the market, create buzz, target the right audience and ensure that the word reaches the potential investors on schedule. They handle the promotion of ICO, drawing attention from the right people, and even reaching out to industry experts to talk about your ICO.
- Project Team: As the heart of your ICO lies in the project backing it, there needs to be a strong team working to deliver as per the timeline.
Furthermore, community managers are required to handle any queries coming your way and resolve any investor doubts. Some organizations even involve dedicated legality and taxation teams to deal with marketing and ICO bylaws and prevent litigation. Another one to include is the risk mitigation and crisis management team. The project is bound to face some unprecedented challenges as time passes, delayed timelines, the need to increase funds, underfunding, project incompletion, and even poor marketing. A good team behind an ICO is one with a complete hierarchy, transparent communication, and seamless collaboration with a common goal and devotion to make the ICO a success.
Once the team is in place you enter the preparation stage of your ICO development. A lot of thought and analysis goes into this task:
Type of Token
To begin with, you need to decide what value your token brings to the investor. It might be – utility, security, or a crypto token. These decisions involve understanding why ICO is under consideration in the first place and what kind of investor would be suitable. Most investors have their investment preferences, and exchanges too have their listing regulations.
Launch Process of Token
A token can be launched as:
- A new token that is developed exclusively for the ICO.
- A second-layer token utilizing an existing blockchain as the underlying architecture
- A token to sell on an existing ICO platform.
The above two require an understanding of the convenience and amount of control needed on the token. That is concluded based on the tokenomics and the business behind it.
As you will need effective marketing as well. It becomes inevitable to have a relevant and registered name and logo for your ICO. You need to create a GitHub link to share the source code and plan who the link will belong to and how and when the updates are to be pushed.
The economics of the token is of prime importance to the investors as well as the stakeholders. This part includes making decisions. You need to get answers to the following questions:
- How many funds to raise?
- How many tokens to generate?
- What percentage of tokens are to be held back with the stakeholders?
- How many funding rounds does the token sale happen in and how many tokens go out in each round?
- How much discount goes for presale bookers, initial few buyers, etc?
- What would be the hard and soft or even hybrid caps or will it be an uncapped fundraiser?
- What will be the selling format?
Fixed price sell-off, rising tide, dutch auction, or a mix of these across different funding rounds?
- How are the generated funds going to be used?
- What happens in scenarios of under or over funding?
- What are the locking periods if any and what is the justification for the same?
- Will there be any compliance fee?
Also, to maintain the budget, accommodate lawyer fees, official charges, travel costs for board meetings, professional board members’ services, and auditing costs while planning the project and ICO launch.
Smart Contract Development
At this stage, you invest generously to add multi-layer security at the hardware and software levels. Most organizations have separate development and security analysis teams.
A smart contract is needed to govern the transactions of your token. The security and immutability of the smart contract are of prime importance. The smart contract should specify the applicable wallets. Generally, multi-sig wallets are preferred for their added layer of security. Your specialist can build the smart contract or take advantage of the ready-to-use smart contract templates and checklists that are available across the ICO space.
Once created, the smart contract needs to go through extensive auditing at peer, reviewer, seasoned auditor, and consultant levels. Investors and stakeholders have lost millions due to negligence in the smart contract alone.
A few companies even organize bug-finding challenges with rewards in terms of tokens or fiat currency to spot the vulnerabilities in the smart contract and its immutability.
Up to this part, you are ready to enter the pre-launch stage, you have gathered answers to all expected questions, and are at a stage to let people know that you are going to launch an ICO.
Writing the White Paper
The white paper is the face of your ICO. A well-written one is the only way to make investors do their part. Marketing can get your ICO known and talked about, but what brings in the funds is this document. It must be straightforward, truthful, and easy to understand. It must be free of any plagiarism.
The white paper accommodates all questions related to the product and the ICO. It must cover information about the team behind the ICO, the project, and its status(whether the project is under planning, designing, or has already begun). The roadmap of your project and market research of why it would work. ICO doesn’t result in ownership stakes in the company.
Investors need to develop confidence in your ICO. The paper covers all aspects of the token design, launch, tokenomics, sales model, fund security plan, fundraising targets, and fund allocation plan for the project. It must inform the reader of the token generation and distribution process and the long-term value of your token.
In short, the white paper covers all the preparatory stage information in convincing detail. The goal of the whitepaper is to leave an investor eager to invest or ask questions that add value to your whitepaper and ICO campaign.
Website and Transaction Development
Now you are going to invite scrutiny. In the light of large-scale ICO scams exposed recently, every new ICO is viewed as a possible scam until the community trust builds for it to qualify as an investment opportunity.
Your website should have a straightforward interface and top-of-the-mind visibility of everything a potential investor or a critic might need to know. Make easy access to the white paper, project status, project plan, the team members, and everything relevant to an investor a priority. It must accommodate funds transfer, coin performance monitoring facility, and project progress tracking as direct stats or links to get them. The website should categorically communicate the transaction mechanism (though included in the whitepaper) and compatible wallet details.
Apart from getting the website up and running, ensure that it can handle massive inbound traffic after the ICO launch. Be sure of the security set-up against hacking or dos attacks.
ICO Launch and Token Sale
You have reached the decisive phase, the launch phase. The sale of tokens begins here. The timing of the ICO launch, chronologically and concerning the project status, should be very carefully planned. Early investors might invest while the project is still under the planning stage as they are assuredly expecting bounty points for that and hoping for high returns. Others might prefer projects ahead of the design stage as they get something concrete to establish their trust on.
If the token sale is happening in multiple rounds, organize the private sales, pre-sale, and the actual sales at predesignated stages of the project. The initial sale period for the actual sale must be demarcated and strategized in the best interests of the ICO and the market atmosphere.
It is the period of constant observation and prompt action from allocated teams to handle any queries, faults, or breaches.
Over with the fund collection? Had a successful crowd sale? Your community performed its job well? Now, you deliver!
The project you wanted to raise funds for should start progressing as per the plan communicated in the white paper. Continue maintaining the community trust through regular updates and consistent communication through all channels established. Keep your communication about the project and the ICO clear and transparent. Nothing commands respect more than a well-communicating business in the market.
Ensure the investors’ funds are secure and allocated appropriately. Maintaining the legitimacy of the ICO is key to holding the fort strong at this stage.
The blog further delineated the practices to establish trust and maintain credibility in the market.
These go on in a continuum with the forenamed tasks across the four stages of ICO launch. These team members are always active and keep tabs on everything going on through the ICO launch stages. Their objectives are to enhance outreach, security, protection, and litigation prevention.
A market-stirring campaign is the backbone of a successful ICO. It can make or break crowd sales. In addition, after tremendous efforts to deliver a great product or a service and build the ICO framework, no one would like setbacks attributed to poor marketing.
Marketing of ICO begins in the pre-launch stage itself. Once the whitepaper is ready, reviewed, and the smart contract is in place, the website displays the whitepaper. The marketing team that has been low-key under strategizing and planning becomes active.
Marketing begins by getting the ICO white-listed and utilizing the promotional facilities on the listing platforms. The stakeholders and project leaders come to the forefront and start holding targeted conferences and participating in open discussions to connect with potential investors. A thoughtful strategy is to get involved in forums and markets at the preparatory stage itself, this aids in gaining community trust even before listing the ICO.
The full-fledged campaign commences, for creating buzz across all channels, including but not limited to ICO forums, ICO calendars, discussion forums and discussion channels, social media, influencer marketing through platforms like Linkedin and Medium, and paid promotions. Keep in mind that seasoned investors can sniff any asymmetries across the campaign or the website. A marginally inconsistent piece of information can render all efforts futile.
A great marketing campaign would reach out to experts to offer public comments and promote the ICO. Ensure that security measures and fund allocations are insisted upon adequately. Having the QnA teams on alert to resolve any queries and an advisory to incorporate community suggestions reiterates the legitimacy of the ICO, which instills confidence in the community.
The marketing team must maintain impeccable public relations through the mass media and ensure that widely trusted ICO enthusiasts are vocal about their ICO and provide appropriate information to the target audience. Being a global platform, ICO investors range from short term, long term, gambling, etc. An effective campaign appeals to each category and attracts investors from all directions.
There should be enough buzz that the website is flocked, thus resulting in servers needing to be managed 24×7 for any overload-related failures. Aimed at being discovered by every potential investor and driving them in to invest, the marketing campaign is required to continue once the ICO launches. The marketing team should effectively convey the schedule of various stages of token sales. Theoretically, the period of three weeks before and after actual sales is critical to have full-fledged ‘ama’ sessions. The campaign communicators need to be prepared to maintain transparent communication across all the channels with full awareness of activities going on across the teams.
After the ICO ends and funds have accumulated. The marketing slows down but remains active across the channels. It keeps tabs on how the ICO is performing and regularly shares relevant updates through the appropriate mediums. It is of utmost importance to understand that there need to be different strategies and teams to handle pre, ongoing, and post-ICO sales proceedings.
The ICO launching process is a complex task and what is more daunting is maintaining the security of the constituents involved. This blockchain-based fundraising mechanism earns community trust for its unmatched security capabilities, hence the need for a dedicated security management team. This process is another one spanning the life cycle of the ICO.
Components at Stake
The smart contract and website are the static elements that remain at stake. Hence a thorough assessment of their vulnerabilities by in-house and external teams is inevitable. Other components are the wallets, the servers, and the concerned employees. The security of the project and the investors’ funds are of paramount importance.
A multilayer authentication protocol is a prerequisite for wallets and smart contracts alike. Secure wallets should be used to maintain the funds. The website operation should be carried out through physically secure servers with impenetrable software security.
Crisis and breach management protocols and drills need to be in place. Unprecedented situations and vulnerability handling teams need to remain on alert.
After ensuring the security, it is indispensable to have it well tested by in-house analysts, white hackers, and bounty hackers. Bounty programs to report bugs must be utilized before launching the website itself.
Legality and Taxation Guidance
All the regulatory measures taken should be overseen by the advisory and legal teams. The team must ensure that the whole campaign adheres to the regulations of the ICO exchange and ICO listing platforms. Taxation, financial, and individual property laws should be adhered to throughout the campaign across all platforms. The type of token whether utility or security should be unambiguously stated and reasoned out. It is also necessary to maintain the legal accord of the places where the ICO intends to run both geographically and on the web. All information going out through marketing, website, or ICO launch must be tested through the lens of regulatory agencies like SEC, and GDPR to ensure that compliance is maintained and litigation issues avoided.
The finance team must ensure that the taxation and overhead charges are accounted for carefully.
ICO is indeed a lucrative fundraising method. We will continue to share deeper insights and cover more subjects related to ICO in the future. Though daunting for some, PrimaFelicitas is an established organization that assists businesses in managing ICO from start to end. We provide services for consultation, development, security, marketing, and launch of ICO. We have proficient teams to help our clients manage logistics associated with the life-cycle of an ICO.
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