By now, most blockchain enthusiasts are familiar with the term “whitepaper.” After Satoshi Nakamoto’s seminal work on peer-to-peer electronic cash — the Bitcoin whitepaper — it has become almost synonymous with a business proposal in the space. It’s the first thing any individual or institutional investor will ask for since It contains the details of what, how, and why something is being developed.
However, this doesn’t mean that whitepapers are the only necessary documentation a project should provide to ICO participants. Any savvy investor will dig deeper than first appearances and not take what a team proposes at face value. After all, if we are to take them as business proposals, then a fair amount of due diligence is required.
Any serious blockchain startup should make this process much easier by providing supplementary documents that help investors get a better idea of what they’re getting into. More so, it should also find ways to communicate this information clearly, in simple terms. This is why there is a set of documentation that has become customary for these projects.
The main document of a blockchain startup is divided into three important components.
- Description of the token
- Description of the business model
- Profiles of the core team and advisors
A professional team will also strive to include translations of the document into different languages.
One-pagers are a short summary of the startup. As the name makes clear, they’re usually only one page long and work as an “elevator pitch” for the project. Their role is to provide any investor with cursory knowledge on the project without the need for an expert analysis of the white paper. Therefore, it should touch on similar points.
- Demonstration of the token economy in terms of supply and demand
- Model of how real demand will be created through its business model
- Profiles of the core team and advisors
Somewhere between a whitepaper and a one-pager, we have the presentation. This document is usually meant to inform investors, funds, and final token holders on the project’s goals and how its token is connected to it. In many ways, it is the thesis of the whole project and should be approached as such.
The link structure of the startup’s online presentation is called the landing page. Although simple, it is actually very important because it serves as an entrance door for new users and investors. The landing page should be intuitive, user-friendly, and allow easy access to all of the startup’s documentation.
Every startup should inform investors that the token is in full compliance with regulations. This can be done by the project’s legal team after they have reviewed the token structure.
It’s also key to determine where the issuer of the token is registered. This gives us important information on what jurisdiction a project will operate under. Blockchain investment experts such as Nick Evdokimov also recommend using this information to make sure that a project is not fraudulent.
This is usually the information a startup will feature most prominently. It gives us an idea of how well its marketing team is doing. Good promotional documentation usually contains links to many different sources that help drive user engagement.
- Optimistic feedback
- Official social media accounts
In this section, it is also important to pay attention to the fund arrangements a blockchain startup might have. These funds buy tokens in bulk and then help the startup sell them and increase their user base.
Finally, there is a technical description of how the startup will develop the project. This is sometimes referred to as the “yellow paper” and requires the assistance of experts to analyze thoroughly. Usually, this type of documentation will be published on GitHub as the code for the startup’s smart contract.
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