How to Launch an ICO/Crypto in 2018: An Extensive Step by Step Guide — Pressfarm

An Extensive Guide to Launching an ICO

As we are still in the early age of blockchain technology, ICOs are not prominent as a common funding technique which means that as entrepreneurs, we need to be careful how we proceed with these projects. Every business leader must act responsibly and professionally with the proceeds of their ICO. Transparency is crucial as well as the ability to deliver on promises. Not only does this help solidify ICOs as a legitimate funding mechanism, it also creates traction with your investors.

So What Exactly is an ICO?

In case you might be asking yourself, an ICO is an unregulated method of raising funds for a new cryptocurrency venture. An Initial Coin Offering, better known as an ICO, is used by entrepreneurs to circumvent the heavily regulated capital-raising process. The ICO process takes the power out of the hands of venture capitalists or banks and puts it into the hands of entrepreneurs.

An Example — Ethereum

A good example of a successful ICO that shared a huge profit with its investors was the smart contracts platform Ethereum, which uses Ethers as its coin tokens. In 2014, Ethereum launched its ICO and raised $18 million in Bitcoins, which equates to $0.40 per Ether. The project went live a year later and a year after that, the tokens had a value as high as $14 each.

Funding and Regulations

ICOs are essentially a type of crowd-funding. Like IPOs or other methods of crowd-funding, a share or stake of the startup is sold to amass funds that will help the company in those tenuous first years of trading. The main difference between an IPO and an ICO, is whilst an IPO deals with investors, an ICO sells shares to supporters who desire to see the business develop, much like crowd-funding, though supporters of an ICO often want to see a sizable return in their investment. Because ICOs generally fall between crowd-funding and selling shares, they are known as crowd-sales.

A Step by Step Guide to Setting up your ICO

Part 1: Setting Up Your ICO

Part 1: Setting up your ICO

Here we’ll be focusing on the nitty gritty of launching your ICO. How to create a coin, which platforms to use, any legalities you should be aware of. Creating an ICO campaign is a lot of work. You’re creating your own cryptocurrency, essentially a balanced economy or digital framework for trade. Consider Bitcoin or Ethereum, imagine creating those tokens, well, you are about to do the same. So get a good team together, boot up your laptop and have a notebook ready. This is where your ICO starts…

Step 1: Do You Need an ICO?

Remember, almost half of all ICOs sold in 2017 eventually failed by the start of 2018. There are a number of reasons, especially mistrust between the investors and project managers. But even more important to an ICOs success than reputation or transparency, is the fact that many of these projects weren’t suitable for an ICO in the first place.

Step 2: Familiarize Yourself with Global Legal Challenges

This essential research should be undertaken as soon as possible. In fact, if you’re reading this article, it might be worth looking into it now. In the wake of China’s ICO ban in September 2017, more and more countries are looking to start either regulating the fund-raising strategy, or ban it all together. The essential ones that you need to know are those that have already implemented regulations. In China, ICOs are banned and successful projects are being forced to refund any tokens bought. In Russia, coins must be registered and taxed, and in the United States, it varies depending on state. South Korea have also banned ICOs entirely and Australia has issued regulations.

Step 3: Write your Whitepaper

The first and potentially most crucial step because at this point, you’ll be concreting your idea and sharing it with your prospective supporters. In these initial plans, your project won’t be as solid and tangible as it needs to be, and so you’ll likely need significant research into areas related to your business. Once you identify the niche that your ICO will target and hopefully fulfill a need within, you must try to portray exactly what your ICO will deliver, and provide evidence to back up your claims.

Step 4: Choose Your Token Type

This is where you can start getting creative. You need to begin considering the purpose of your token (hopefully it will represent something tangible and could be considered a “security”) and what kind of digital token it will be. Make a decision on a symbol to represent your token. It should be easy to remember and quickly identifiable, don’t go for anything too fancy. For example, Ethereum’s tokens Ether have a symbol of “ETH”. It’s pronounceable, it’s short, it’s clear and you even find these combinations of letters in a lot of words. To be succinct, it’s quick and easy to remember. Don’t go for something like “RYJSSJ” because honestly, no one will remember that after seeing it on an exchange.

Step 5: State Your Terms and Conditions

In this step you have to research the legalities surrounding the ICO world. You should put into writing certain legalities and formalities. Firstly, you should lay out the name of your project and outlay any terms likely to reappear throughout the T&Cs. You then want to define the token and describe the rights associated with the token. Include prices and timing of the ICO (this should also be on your website, but it never hurts to write it twice). State whether or not all the coins will be available at once, or whether the release will be staggered. Finally, make sure you outlay how you will use the proceeds of the ICO. You may want to outsource writing the terms and conditions to a lawyer.

Step 6: Scout for Your ICO Team

This is extremely important for any Initial Coin Offering. A decent team will help you spread news of your ICO further than you previously thought and ensure that it is carried out efficiently. You need to bring together a team made up of people with significant experience and expertise.

Step 7: Choose Your Blockchain Platform for the ICO

After you have your team together, a whitepaper drafted up, your terms and conditions laid out and any big legal hurdles far behind you, it’s time to decide which blockchain platform you use to launch your tokens. There are a number of platforms you can use, including:

  • Waves
  • NXT
  • Neo
  • NEM

Step 8: Set up Your Website

If you don’t already have a website, then you should set up one before reading any further. Any cryptocurrency project relies on the internet so your online presence is of the utmost importance. As your digital footprint/calling-card, a badly designed website screams unprofessional and can start raising eyebrows among a community that has grown out of technology. Your website gives your supporters the chance to interact with the project and learn more about your ICO. Ensure your website is streamlined and delivers all the information that prospective supporters require. All navigation aspects of the website must be clear and concise.

Step 9: Create the Issue Calendar

Write up how and when your coin will be issued. It’s very common to have a presale available to a small, dedicated number of supporters. Subsequently you can host a private sale, the principal coin offering to the public and then a general sale. The number of sales you have can be determined by your project’s requirements. You should announce your calendar on multiple platforms, including your website, forums or through a press release.

Step 10: Smart Contracts

You’ll need to create the token sale contracts for the ICO. Essentially, supporters send the Ethereum or Bitcoin to specific wallets before the smart contracts execute themselves, which in turn sends you the funds. The supporters are given the token coins during the process. Throughout the exchange, you’ll have to perform rigorous testing to make sure that everything is totally secure. If your transactions are hacked, both you and your supporters can potentially lose everything and your reputation will be permanently damaged.

Step 11: Setting up the Hardware

Right, now it should all be coming together. Your team have hashed out most of the ICO and your plan is just about ready to go. The last piece of infrastructure you need before launching your ICO is the hardware itself. You need a dedicated computer, a digital wallet and a node.

Part 2: Marketing an ICO

Good marketing is everything. People need to know about your project if they are going to support it. Outsourcing a marketing strategy can be extremely profitable if you have the capability and initial funds to pay for it, but if not, you can promote yourself for nothing more than a little hard work. Ultimately, you want to use multiple channels to influence other people to spread word of your coin. Reach out to the media and create an online community to generate a buzz around your ICO. The tips below should get you started on drafting your own marketing strategy, but by no means are these steps exhaustive. Spend time on your marketing plan and promote your product comprehensively to ensure that you generate as much hype before the release of your coin as possible.

Step 1: Legal Loopholes

Firstly, be careful of marketing or advertising bans in your target countries. Advertising laws can be very forceful around the world and you might have to jump through a few legal loopholes. Consulting an advertising lawyer or legal expert can speed up this process, though admittedly at a price.

Step 2: Brand Identity

Develop your brand image and advertising campaign. You have to get the public hyped about your project, and the majority of your token sales will be driven by this starting momentum. If you successfully create an online community of enthusiastic supporters, driven and informed by an intricate marketing strategy, word of your ICO campaign will spread through the vast reaches of the internet to more investors than you can dream of encountering.

Step 3: Develop a Story for your Coin

Every marketing expert will agree that a strong story sells products. If you can develop a narrative for your project then you’ll rake in more interest and as a result, more investors. In the beginning, the narrative creates a need for the product, then the product is introduced and the story ends with the result. Pressfarm encourages entrepreneurs to create a strong story for marketing purposes. If you are planning on producing a press release and getting in touch with journalists, it will greatly aid them in publishing a meaningful news story or review. Essentially, creating a decent narrative will help you get journalists, prospective supporters and contributors interested in your ICO.

Step 4: Reach out to Journalists and Develop A Press Release

Once you’ve set up your website and created a strong brand identity you can take the narrative that we mentioned in the last step and approach a journalist. There’s a huge number of technology journalists hungry for stories regarding cryptocurrencies at the moment, and a lot of them are constantly looking for the next big ICO to write about. If you can convince a journalist with links to the cryptocurrency community that your project is going to be a major hit, then they’ll open the flood gates to all kinds of positive press. You can find a list of journalists at Pressfarm, or by looking on cryptocurrency forums. It’s always advisable to contact journalists directly with a succinct description of your ICO and your narrative.

Step 5: Spreading your Media Coverage

If you’ve done every step thoroughly up until this point, then hopefully this step won’t be necessary. Even so, you need all the help you can get when launching your ICO and this is no time to be lazy. You’re at the final stretch, and if you pull this off, then your ICO could even be oversubscribed and some potential supporters could be left out. Once you have a press release ready and you receive some positive press reports, you need to spread those articles as far as you can. Most potential supporters will already be comfortable in the cryptocurrency world and so it’s probably best to target people who have backed ICOs before. Target websites like Twitter, ICO news websites and Reddit.

  • Google
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • LinkedIn
  • Mailchimp

Part 3: Launch!

So you’ve got your team together, created your coin, published a whitepaper, drawn up a marketing strategy and started to generate a sizable buzz with the media and forums. Everything is live and ready to go, all you need to do, is say the word and your ICO is underway.

  • A trading symbol
  • A description of the project and token
  • The logo for the coin
  • A launch date
  • A Github link
  • Third-party reviewed source code
  • A compliance fee

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