Many people are writing now about ICO and they uniformly affirm it requires some fantastic resources, a huge team and unthinkable advertising budgets.I decided to go my own way: to launch an ICO without any self-financing and a big team.
Many people are writing now about ICO and they uniformly affirm it requires some fantastic resources, a huge team and unthinkable advertising budgets.
I decided to go my own way: to launch an ICO and collect $500,000 without any self-financing and a big team. It’s just two of us in SmartProgress: me, Maxim Malikov, a programmer, and my business partner, Sergey Zakharov. In this article, I’ll try to share with you the entire path of preparing for an ICO, which took us 4 months.
I learned about ICO at the end of May, when one article caught my eye telling how a Russian farmer had issued his own crypto-currency (Kolions) and raised $500,000 for expanding his farming business. This revelation blew my mind, and I realized the world has changed. Just a while ago, the only way to attract funding was to find a Marquee venture Investor, who will sure seize a share from you and lay down his rules.
I came to understanding that this is our chance to raise an amount sufficient for the development of SmartProgress. But I knew absolutely nothing how I ought to do this, so I set a new goal «Conduct ICO for SmartProgress» and started gathering information bit by bit. You can see the entire chain of events right there, in this goal blog.
So, what steps are needed to conduct an ICO?
Step 1: The legal bearings of the case
In my opinion, it’s a senseless waste of money. If you want to collect only crypto-currency, feel free to postpone the opening of the company and the bank account until your ICO has been successfully completed. This will save you several thousand dollars and a couple gray hairs. You might not collect a single Satoshi (0.00000001 BTC). And even if you do collect some, the legal basis will be required only for the translation of your crypto-currency into fiat (customary) money.
By this you save about $5,000 and a month of your time.
Step 2: Signing-in on BitcoinTalk and boosting your account
This step should be completed ASAP. All the helter-skelter about ICO occurs precisely on this forum, and the higher rank your account achieves, the better credibility with investors you will gain.
You will make a big mistake publishing your ICO announcement on a newbie account. On the forum there are some restrictions for boosting the rank, so the rise to a Jr. Member will take you 1.5 months, to a Member — 2.5 months. So, register an account and start writing comments on it, raising your rank as soon as possible. And one more thing. You should know that according to the rules of the forum, newcomers have no opportunity to publish pictures, which means you will not be able to make presentable posts about ICO like us or Polybius.
Here you can find all the information on ranks and periods of graduation; you have to produce a certain number of posts before the date of change of periods to go to the next level.
Do this step alongside with the rest of the preparatory work and spend about 30 minutes a day to comment on other people’s posts.
Step 3: Choosing a platform for the issue of tokens
There are 3 options here:
1. Creating your own blockchain
The most complicated and expensive way. You will need it only if you develop a blockchain project. If you aim your ICO at merely raising funds, then this option is not for you.
2. Tokens on Ethereum
The option is much simpler, because it works on the existing Ethereum blockchain, but you will have to write a Smart contract. You can certainly take the trouble to do it, but why have such complexities if you can make it even easier?
3. Waves tokens
Waves is a blockchain platform for issuing cryptographic tokens and conducting crowdfunding campaigns.
Its intended purpose is just issuing its own tokens, and it solves this problem by a couple of clicks. The easiest and fastest option. We chose right that. To try, to test and to get a practical understanding of how it all works, it will take you just a few hours.
Step 4: Writing the White Paper
White Paper is the fundamental document of your project, it should contain: the description of the idea, the history of development (if any), your competitive advantages, the project team data, the road map of development, the amount of money you will need, what you’re gonna spend it on, the terms and details of your ICO. This is rather a creative work than legal, you should write it yourself, and it should be perfect.
As an example, you can see White Paper SmartProgress.
The White Paper should be written in English, other languages — as you wish. Quality elaboration of the White Paper may take between 2 and 4 weeks.
Step 5: Choosing a way of token sales
There’s a number of options, depending on the platform you’ve chosen to issue your tokens.
1. Ethereum Smart Contract
You write a Smart contract that acts as a sort of merchant. Buyers send Ethereums to the contract account, and the contract automatically sends your tokens in exchange. On the one hand, it is convenient, as the buyer immediately receives tokens to his Ethereum wallet account, but on the other, we put a cap on the reception of Ethereums only. Besides, once again, the difficulties of writing a Smart contract…
2. Waves DEX
On Waves platform, you can place public orders for your token sales in various currencies: USD, EUR, BTC, ETH, WAVES. Buyers will purchase your tokens on the Waves exchange directly, and they will enter into your account.
This is the simplest and cheapest variant. In fact, without writing a single code line, you’ll have made the way of selling your tokens, and you don’t even need a website. The White Paper is enough, it will contain the name of your token, its address and the date of the sales start. At the appointed time, you make offers and await purchases.
3. Developing a website for your token sales
That’s a cost plus method, but we chose it.
Firstly, in our White Paper, we declare ourselves as a team of experienced web developers with an extensive proven record. Therefore, it would have been odd for us to be too lazy and not to create a special site for the ICO.
Secondly, the site gives us some advanced features, such as collecting email addresses, affiliate program, various bonus accruals, and so on. It took us one month to develop the site.
Step 6: Writing a Bounty-campaign
Bounty program is an award motivating the people who help promote your ICO. The payment is supposed to be made by your future tokens, i.e., it’s free marketing, and a very effective one, so you need to focus on it.
When writing a Bounty campaign, you assign a budget in the form of a certain percentage from the funds raised. Its amount ranges between 2 and 20%, depending on the collected funds planned. The less funding you are gonna raise, the bigger percentage you should allocate to Bounty. A budget of less than $40,000 is already perceived as small.
For various actions of the participant, he should be awarded with “shares” from the total budget. For instance, if a user with a rank of a Member installs your advertising signature on the forum (an inscription that is automatically added under each user’s post), then he is credited with 3 shares, and if the same action is performed by a user with a Hero rank, the one gets 6 shares. After the completion of the ICO, the budget is divided by the total number of shares and paid to the Bounty members in the form of your tokens, according to the shares they have earned.
What actions of the participants can be rewarded?
- Translating your website, White Paper or announcements on the forum into other languages.
- Installing your advertising signature on the forum.
- Publications in social networks.
- Writing articles
- Producing videos
These are only the basics of the Bounty campaign, there are no restrictions, you can come up with your own ideas. But the more campaigns you make, the more spread your total budget will be. And if the budget of the entire bounty campaign initially is not that big, then such additional smearing will make it even less attractive to the participants.
I have analyzed a large number of participants in various Bounty campaigns and came to the conclusion that the most effective channels are translation and signatures.
Most of campaign members create in social networks fake accounts with driven up subscribers. Thus, the efficiency of this channel is next to zero. And those who have a real blown social account with the target audience, are not ready to participate with such fakes on equal terms and receive the same payment. It will be more preferable for them to have an affiliate program with a percentage from the funds raised.
As an example, see our Bounty Campaign.
Step 7: Setting a start date of token sales and its duration
By this point, you have already got an account on the BitcoinTalk forum boosted, the White Paper written, and a tool for selling tokens produced. It’s time to set a sales date. As a rule, it’s 1 month plus to the date of your deliberate preparation. This month is given for a marketing campaign. Less time may not be enough, more, however, may cool off the interest of investors.
The classical duration of an ICO is 30 days. Successful ICOs can collect the maximum amount within a matter of hours, and if you are not able to collect the minimum for 30 days, then you will not collect it for a longer period either.
Step 8: Publishing an announcement on the forum
You will have to publish the announcement of your ICO on the forum in the “Forks” section, in English in the main part and in Russian — in the local part.
Your topic should begin with the prefix “[ANN]”, meaning the announcement of ICO. When the ICO starts, you will have to replace this prefix with “[ICO]”.
There are 2 variants of design for your topic: by text and by pictures. As practice shows, the post decorated with pictures looks more presentable, and investors treat such with a better loyalty.
You should take out all the basic information from the White Paper into your topic, but try not to oversaturate it with extra details.
We drew-up our topic like this.
Be prepared, that in the English version of the forum, your credibility will be below zero. For a number of reasons, the English-speaking segment is biased against teams from Russia and Ukraine, and it is believed that we are all fraudsters, as if we wanna raise money and bail out. So, you should work out proper objections to this subject and have a good reason why on earth you can be trusted.
Step 9: Advertising
And this is where all the fun begins. All articles on ICO assure that you will need no less than $500,000 for an ICO advertising campaign. On the one hand, they are right, since everything regarding the ICO campaigns advertising costs a pretty penny, and even air is sold in this sphere. But you needn’t pay for advertising if you don’t buy it.
Any promotion outside the BitcoinTalk forum has a very low efficiency, because investing in ICO is still far from being a mass activity and only those, dedicated to this field, are involved in it. And on the forum, your promotion will work through Bounty, where none of your financial investment is required.
How can you increase the audience coverage on the forum?
1. Translate into other languages
Within a framework of Bounty, you should make as much translation of your [ANN] topic into other languages as possible.
2. Run a Subscription campaign
As part of the subscription campaign, participants install your advertising signature and start posting on the forum, other users see this signature and, if they are interested, they click on it and get to your site or [ANN] topic.
The more participants are in your campaign, the more audience they will reach.
3. Keep your topic up the list
The activity on the forum is frenetic, and your topic will get down very quickly, so you should constantly think about how to keep it up the list.
- Published a Bounty campaign? Write about it in the comment to the [ANN] topic.
- Launched pages in social networks? Write about it.
- Translated into Chinese? Add another comment.
But don’t overdo. Your comments should not look like spam, otherwise your topic will be deleted, you will be banned, and the months of preparation will go down the drain.
4. Communicate with your subscribers
If you have a website where you collect email addresses, make sure to be sending a weekly newsletter with the updates about your campaign. Keep your subscribers informed about your progress: into which languages you’ve translated, how many new participants you’ve added, where your announcements about the forthcoming ICO are published. Constantly warm up the interest of your potential investors.
How to buy SmartProgress tokens?
The start of token sale is scheduled for October 22 at 14:00 UTC and will last 30 days until November 22. In the first 24 hours, tokens will be sold with a 20% bonus.
Subscribe to our website: https://ico.smartprogress.do/, to receive news and not to miss the start of sales.
Also, you can subscribe to our group in Telegram to ask any question you are interested in and get a prompt reply.