Transparency & Initial Coin Offerings
Lately, there is an increasing demand for transparency when it comes to Initial Coin Offerings. There have been various scams and launches of ICO projects where it is not clear what actually will happen with the raised funds.
As a result of speculation, those ICO’s were able to raise a lot of capital, but we believe that speculation should not be the only valuable thing of an ICO.
With investors from “outside of the blockchain world” (such as equity investors) entering in the ICO field, trust and transparency are more important than ever before. Conventional investors are not that comfortable with investing based just on speculation and want find trust in a project.
Next to that, the scams around ICO’s and the increasing amount of projects that are being launched will make it harder to attract your target and convert them into investors of your project. But through communicating transparency in your ICO marketing campaign, it will be a lot easier to gain the trust of potential investors.
Transparency and marketing
So, what should you have in order to successfully transmit transparency and gain the trust of potential investors?
Alpha or Beta version
Having a testnet or a beta version of your concept is a great way to market your ICO. It shows that you are actually working on the development of your concept and that you need the investment to further develop it. It also transmits that your idea is actually capable of being developed once you have raised the capital.
Marketing wise, having a beta version is a great advantage: you can link all your ads to a landing page in which you show your beta version. This will make your ICO a lot more credible and trustworthy. So if you have one, your proof of concept should be the main focus of your campaign.
Brand your team and don’t just rely on the image of your advisors
A great way to gain trust of investors (and to create speculation) is to show who your team is, what they have done before and what they are specialized in. Nevertheless, there are lots of ICO’s that count with multiple advisors who are advisors at lots of ICO’s. We recommend to focus on branding your own team and don’t overuse advisors.
Branding your team consists in creating lots of quality content of interest of your target published by your team, being very active on social media (especially on those platforms and forums where your target is present at) and interact with your community. Through branding your team, you will be able to gain a community that will trust in you.
The team presentation of Brave is an good example to follow. They are open about who is part of their team, they share their roles and the social media profiles of each team member. This transmits the quality and know-how of the team and creates trust towards them.
Share your progress
As mentioned before, the identity of the team should be as visible and as open as possible. But, the team should also interact, share ideas and above all, communicate the progress of your project. The most successful ICO’s have (pro)active interaction with their community on specific social channels.
The famous white paper
A white paper is a great way to transmit the expertise of your team and to gain the trust of the community. A white paper should describe your business proposal, the technical specifications, the problems it intends to solve and how your proposal will solve these problems and needs. Your white paper should be sustained on research and it should justify why your platform is necessary.
For example, IOTA created a well structured, clear and trustworthy white paper.
Set clear and achievable goals
It is very important to communicate the goals of your ICO to your target. If you have clear and achievable goals that are also time related, you will be able to generate a lot more trust. You can communicate these goals through having a well crafted white paper and by sharing a roadmap with your community. Within this roadmap you share a list of clearly defined and realistically achievable goals within a certain timing.
Within a roadmap, you split your goals in 3 different timeframes:
- Short term (those goals that you will meet within the next 6 months). For example, market research and technical feasibility.
- Middle term (aims that you will be able to achieve within after 6 to 12 months). For example, the release of an alpha version of your concept.
- Long term (objectives that will take over 12 months to bring out). For example, the official release of your platform.
Don’t hide the cap of your ICO
If you want to raise a certain amount of capital, why not be open about it? Hiding the cap of your ICO will lead to a less transparent image of you and your team. Being clear on what you need, and where you will be using it for are key ingredients to transmit transparency. It will show that you are raising money for a goal to achieve, not just out of greed.
A multisignature wallet allows users to secure their funds in a different way, and by using one, you can transmit transparency to potential investors. This because, the whole team needs to agree when funds are being spent from the wallet.
The authorization that is needed to spend the capital will make your project a lot more trustworthy and will also take away the risk of someone leaving with the raised funds.
Launch multiple ICO’s instead of one
You could decide to launch multiple – smaller – ICO’s instead of one big token sale. Like this, you and your team will be able to show what you are capable of and how your project is progressing. Your ICO will turn into smaller token sales that are being held for specific goals to achieve to further develop the project.
Coin Governance System
One of the ways to transmit transparency is to have multiple tokensales for your ICO as mentioned before. But, if you are not up for that for any kind of reason, showing you are using another way to “protect” the investments is a great solution. For example, Icofunding is developing a Coin Governance System for the ICO’s being launched on their platform. This means, through smart contracts and oracles, the raised capital will be managed in a safe and secure way for both parties (ICO launchers and investors).
Through using this governance system, funds will only be unlocked if milestones are achieved by the team that launched the ICO. If they do not achieve their proposed objectives, the locked funds can be withdrawn by the investors.
As Alejandro Gómez de la Cruz from Icofunding explains: “ICOs have proven how efficient it can be to raise a huge amount of funds for a project in just a few hours, minutes or even seconds. However, what needs to be proven is how to manage the capital raised in a fair way. That’s the big deal of ICOs”.
So, the most important ingredients that will allow you to transmit transparency are the ones listed above. From a marketing perspective, to gain trust you should mainly focus on the branding of your team (through community building and PR), communicate realistic and achievable goals and don’t forget about the investors’ terms.
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