Now, many are writing about conducting an ICO and one and all assert that this requires some fantastic resources, a huge team and inconceivable advertising budgets. And this is partly the case if you decide to give everything to an outsourcing, and you yourself just sit and wait for the results.
I decided to go my own way: to hold an ICO and raise $ 500,000 without money and a big team. There are only two of us in SmartProgress
: I (Maxim Malikov) is a programmer and my business partner is Sergey Zakharov. In this article I will try to tell you all the way to prepare for the ICO, which took us 4 months.
I learned about ICO at the end of May when I came across an article about how a Russian farmer released his cryptocurrency
(colions) and raised $ 500,000 in funding. This news just shook me, I realized that the world has changed. Quite recently, the only way to attract financing was to find a large venture capital investor, who would also take a share from you and direct his own orders.
I realized that this is our chance to attract a sufficient amount for the development of SmartProgress. But I didn’t know at all what to do, so I created a new goal “Conduct ICO for SmartProgress”
and I began to collect information bit by bit. It is in this goal blog you will see the whole chain of events.
What steps are needed for an ICO?
Stage 1: Legal Issue
In my opinion - it is a waste of money. If you want to collect only cryptocurrency, then feel free to postpone the opening of the company and bank account at the time of the successful completion of your ICO. It will save you several thousand dollars and a pair of gray hair. Perhaps you will not collect Satoshi at all (0.00000001 BTC). And even if you collect, legal justification is required only for the withdrawal of your cryptocurrency in Fiat (ordinary money).
Stage 2: Register for BitcoinTalk and upgrade account
This stage must be completed as early as possible. The whole ICO movement takes place on this forum and the higher the rank of your account, the higher the investor’s trust.
It will be a big mistake to post your ICO announcement from a newbie account. At the forum there are restrictions for leveling, so the rise to Jr. Member will take you 1.5 months, to Member - 2.5 months. Therefore, register an account and begin to write comments on it, raising your rank as soon as possible. And further. You should know that, according to the rules of the forum, newcomers do not have the ability to publish pictures, this means you can not make presentable posts about ICO
like we or Polybius
.Here you have all the information about ranks
and periods of changing ranks, you must catch a certain number of posts by the date of the change of periods to go to the next period.
We do this stage in parallel with the rest of the preparatory work and devote 30 minutes a day to commenting on other people's posts.
Stage 3: Choose a token release platform
There are 3 options:1. Creating your own blockchain.
The most difficult and expensive. Only needed if you are creating a blockchain project. If the goal of your ICO is simply to raise funds, then this option is not for you.2. Tokens in Ethereum.
The option is much simpler, because It works on the existing Ethereum blockchain, but you will be required to write a smart contract. You can of course be confused, but why such difficulties, if there is an option even easier?3. Waves Tokens.Waves
is a blockchain platform for issuing cryptographic tokens and conducting crowdfunding campaigns. Its main purpose is just the release of its tokens and it solves this problem in a couple of clicks. The easiest and fastest option. We chose it. It will take you a couple of hours to try, test and understand in practice how it all works.
Stage 4: Writing White Paper
White Paper is the main document of your project, it should contain: a description of the idea, history of development (if any), competitive advantages, project team, road map of development, how much money you need, what they will be spent for, terms and details of your ICO . This is more creative work than legal, you should write it yourself and it should be perfect.
As an example, see White Paper SmartProgress
White Paper should be written in English, other languages as desired. White Paper's quality work can take from two to four weeks.
Step 5: Choose a way to sell tokens
There are several options depending on the platform on which you decide to release your tokens.1. Ethereum Smart Contract.
You are writing a smart contract that serves as a kind of merchant. At the expense of the contract buyers send air, and the contract in exchange sends your tokens automatically. On the one hand it is convenient, because the buyer immediately receives the tokens to his wallet air account, and on the other - we limit the funds to be received only by the ether. In addition, again, the difficulty of writing a smart contract.2. Waves DEX.
On the Waves platform, you can create public requests to sell your tokens in various currencies: USD, EUR, BTC, ETH, WAVES. Buyers will buy your tokens directly on the Waves exchange, and you will be credited with money to the account.
This is the easiest and cheapest option. In fact, without writing a single line of code, you created a way to sell your tokens and you don’t even need a website. Enough White Paper, which will be written the name of your token, its address and the start of sales. At the appointed time, you create offers and wait for purchases.3. Creating your own website for the sale of tokens.
This option, though labor-intensive, but we chose it.
First, in our White Paper, we declare that we are a team of experienced web developers with many years of experience. Therefore, it would be strange that we were too lazy to create a special website for ICO.
Secondly, the site gives us additional features, such as collecting email-addresses, an affiliate program, the accrual of various bonuses, etc.
On the development of the site we have left 1 month of work.
Stage 6: Writing a Bounty CampaignA bounty program
is a reward for people who help promote your ICO. Payment is made by your future tokens, that is, it is free marketing, especially the most effective, and you should focus on it.
When writing a Bounty campaign, a budget is set as a percentage of the funds raised. Its size varies in the region from 2 to 20 percent, depending on the planned volume of funds raised. The less you are going to raise funds, the greater the percentage you have to allocate to the bounty. A budget of less than $ 40,000 is already perceived as small.
For the various actions of the participant should be charged "share" of the total budget. For example, if a user with the Member rank installs your advertising signature on the forum (an inscription that is automatically added under each user post), then he receives 3 shares, and if the same action is done by a user with Hero rank, then he receives 6 shares. After the completion of the ICO, the budget is divided by the total number of shares and paid to the participants of the Bounty in the form of your tokens, depending on how many shares they earned.For what actions can participants be rewarded?
- Translation of your announcement on the forum, site, white paper into other languages.
- Setting your advertising signature on the forum
- Publications in social networks
- Writing articles
- Release of videos
These are only main Bounty campaigns, there are no restrictions, you can create your own. But the more campaigns you come up with, the stronger the overall budget will be smeared out and if the overall budget of the entire bounty campaign is not so big, then an additional spreading it will make it even less attractive on the part of the participants.
After analyzing a large number of participants in various Bounty campaigns, I came to the conclusion that the most effective channels are translation and signatures.
Campaigners in social networks for the most part create fake accounts with spun on subscribers. Therefore, the effectiveness of this channel is almost zero. And those who have a real socially promoted social account with a target audience are not ready to participate on a par with such fakes and receive the same pay with them. For them, the option of an affiliate program with a percentage of the funds raised will be preferable.
As an example, you can see our Bounty campaign
Stage 7: Assign start date for sales of tokens and duration
At this point, you already have a pumped up account on the BitcoinTalk forum, written by White Paper, and a tool for selling tokens has been created. It's time to set a sales date. This is usually + 1 month from the date of your full preparation. This month you are given a marketing campaign. Less time may not be enough, more - cool interest of investors.
The classic ICO duration is 30 days. Successful ICOs can collect the maximum amount in a matter of hours, but, and if you do not collect the minimum amount in 30 days, then you will not collect it in a longer period.
Stage 8: Publish an announcement on the forum
You will need to publish the announcement of your ICO on the forum in the "Forks" section in the main section in English and local in Russian.
Your topic should start with the prefix "[ANN]", meaning the announcement of ICO. When ICO starts, you will need to replace the prefix with “[ICO]”.
There are 2 options for designing your topic: text and pictures. As practice shows, the post decorated with pictures looks more presentable and investors treat it with greater loyalty.
In your topic, you need to take out all the basic information from White Paper, but do not overplay it with unnecessary details.
Be prepared for the fact that in the English version of the forum the confidence in you will be lower than zero. For various reasons, the attitude towards the teams from Russia and Ukraine in the English segment is biased and it is believed that we are all scammers, we want to raise money and topple. Therefore, you must work out the objections to this score and have a good rationale for why you can be trusted.
Stage 9: Advertising
This is where the fun begins. All the articles about ICO state that you will need almost $ 500,000 for the ICO advertising campaign. On the one hand, they are right, because As for advertising, ICO campaigns cost fantastic money, and even air is sold in this area. But you do not need to pay for advertising, if you do not buy it.
All promotion outside the BitcoinTalk forum has a very low efficiency. Since Investing in the ICO is still not a mass affair, and only people dedicated to this industry are engaged in it. And on the forum the promotion works through Bounty where you do not need financial investments.
How to increase the audience reach on the forum?1. Translations into other languages.
As part of Bounty, you need to make as many translations of your [ANN] topic as possible into other languages.2. Subscription campaign.
As part of the subscription campaign, participants set your advertising signature and start writing posts on the forum, other participants see this signature and if she is interested in them, they click on it and get on your website or [ANN] topic.
The more participants in your campaign, the more reach they will make.3. Raise your topic in the list.
Forum activity is crazy and your topic will go down very quickly, so you have to constantly think about how to raise it up again.
- Have you published a bunty campaign? Write about it in the comments on the [ANN] topic.
- launched pages in social networks? Write about it.
- Did you translate into Chinese? More comments.
But do not overdo it. Your comments should not look like spam, otherwise your topic will be deleted, and you will be banned and then months of preparation will go to the cat's tail.4. Chat with your subscribers.
If you have a website where you collect email addresses, be sure to keep a weekly newsletter with the latest news about your campaign. Tell them about your successes. What languages did you translate to, how many subscribers did you collect, where did publications of announcements about the upcoming ICO made. Constantly stir the interest of potential investors.
A little bit on our ICO:
The start of sales of tokens is scheduled for October 22 at 14:00 UTC. In the first 24 hours, tokens will be sold with a 20% bonus. ICO will last 30 days until November 22.Leave an email on our website
to receive news and do not miss the start of sales.
If you have any questions about ICO SmartProgress, you can write to us in the group of telegrams