The Cost of Launching a Successful ICO
ICOs have become an extremely popular method for companies to raise capital for their business projects and to enter the booming cryptocurrency space. ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) offer the opportunity for businesses to launch their own cryptocurrency and fundraise a significant amount of capital for their venture. Bypassing many of the problems associated with traditional IPO listings, ICOs have raised over $4 billion in the first four months of 2018.
Therefore, there has been a huge level of interest from companies seeking to adopt this method of raising capital. Given the amount of money which is being raised and the potential rewards for launching a cryptocurrency, an increasing number of individuals are seeking assistance in launching their own ICO.
However, just as an ICO may reap generous amounts of capital for a venture, there must be a sufficient level of investment placed into launching the ICO itself. Many cryptocurrencies spend months fine-tuning their business plan and developing their ideas. Furthermore, a significant amount of investment is required to sufficiently market the launch of a coin. Here is a possible breakdown of what you might expect an ICO to cost your company.
A whitepaper is the foundation of the ICO in that it demonstrates what problem the coin is attempting to fix, how it will be of benefit to its users, and how it will grow in value. Every potential investor in your coin will meticulously study the details of your whitepaper and what it has to offer. It also should explain in simple terms the outline of your business plan, along with timelines and targets that you intend to achieve.
Many companies who are hoping to launch an ICO do not have in-house copywriters, editors and designers to ensure that they have a well written and properly presented whitepaper to show investors. The top-performing ICOs have all had very detailed and well-designed whitepapers that have successfully demonstrated the ideas behind their coin. As a result, it is important that businesses invest in creating a whitepaper reaches these criteria.
Some companies will attempt to use freelancer websites such as Fiverr and Upwork to find a cheap means of producing a whitepaper. However, cheap investment will often result in cheap work. ICOs are often very technical, requiring a significant level of research into the industry that the cryptocurrency will be offering services to. It is not simply writing 5,000 words of copy, but rather a succinct description of an extensive level of research and investigation into the appropriate field.
You can expect a whitepaper, including reviews, edits and consultation periods to take up to 200 hours to complete. Therefore, you should expect to pay for the appropriate number of hours that is required.
Approximate Cost: $10,000 – $20,000
If a business is aiming to launch their own cryptocurrency, they must quickly come to the realisation that they are performing in a wholly digital world. Cryptocurrencies are not printed, nor are they tied to a physical asset. Instead, digital currencies represent the culmination of years of development of digital financial technology.
It should go without saying that without a fully functioning, properly designed website, then the ICO will be a failure. Cryptocurrencies are the latest in a series of movements of business structures to a digital presence. Those who could be a potential investor in an ICO will most certainly carry out their research online to ensure the veracity of those launching the venture. This will also include visiting the website of the ICO and searching for all the necessary information that they require.
The website should act as an extension of the whitepaper, summarising the benefits of the coin, along illustrating the timeline of the launch date and other targets. It is also an opportunity to showcase the team of experts and advisors that the business has assembled to ensure that the ICO will be a success.
There are, of course, a multitude of free templates available online which allow companies to build their own website. For the vast majority of traditional companies, such websites suffice because they usually just offer information to the public. However, a company launching an ICO is not a traditional company in that sense. Rather, it is a business that is entering into the sphere of Fintech, which requires a much higher standard of digital security. A report by Reuters highlights that projects which seek to raise capital using ICOs have their websites attacked by hackers 100 times per month on average.
Therefore, a thoroughly secure, well-developed website is essential for any ICO. This will require the help of several developers, both frontend and backend. Due to the potential returns that an ICO can generate, this can be considered a worthwhile investment into the sustainability of the project.
Approximate Cost: $5,000 – $15,000
A smart contract is what allows the business to accept a currency, whether fiat or crypto in exchange for the coin that they are producing. If you want to raise money using an ICO, you will need a smart contract that is ERC20 compliant. This is a token which is easily tradable on an exchange due to common functionality across all ERC20 coins.
Prior to beginning the smart contract, a project must ensure that they are satisfied with details of their ICO. This is due to the fact that a smart contract cannot be later amended or adjusted to the whims of the market. A smart contract is a piece of code which will award a number of coins to the user during the pre-ICO and ICO period.
ICOs have created a huge wave of attention in recent times, and there is an ever-growing number of businesses who are seeking to launch their own coin on to exchanges. This has made Ethereum developers in high demand because their services are very valuable at the present time. They must have sufficient time to develop and test the code, making sure that it correctly matches the wishes of those launching the ICO. The price of the development of the smart contract will also be greatly impacted by the complexity of the project.
Approximate Cost: $10,000 – $50,000
Along with producing a whitepaper, it is important that ICO ventures consistently communicate with their potential investors and the public. This is not just to ensure that their ICO receives the maximum level of attention, but it is also to generate confidence in the project itself.
Content creation can take many forms including articles, blog posts, videos, email marketing and infographics. Due to fact that cryptocurrencies can be complex and technical, regular content creation allows the promoters of an ICO to explain the different reasons as to why they are issuing their own coin.
Establishing a successful content creation strategy requires a significant level of time and skill. Not only is there a need to create the content, but it is also necessary for a company to produce it on a regular, scheduled basis. Therefore, it will require companies wishing to launch an ICO to invest a significant portion of their budget for the duration of the launch period into content creation.
The amount that an ICO project wishes to spend on content creation can depend on various factors. At a minimum, it is expected that a company should produce at least two videos and one blog article a week over the period of an ICO launch. However, a greater investment is more likely to attract even more attention.
Approximate Cost: $10,000 – $40,000
Just as with all business ventures, marketing is an essential facet of launching an ICO. If a business does not invest in marketing, then they will not succeed. Marketing an ICO, while using different tactics, is not different than marketing any other type of business. It requires a sufficient use of all relevant platforms to promote the message of the ICO.
ICOs have adopted their own information channels online, and people visit these sources to discover relevant information about what ICOs are about to launch. Online discussion forums such as Reddit have become exceptionally popular as a space to promote and discuss ICOs. Subreddits such as /r/ethereum and /r/ethtrader are good places to start with ICO promotion.
Social media is an essential part of marketing for any company and is no different for ICOs. However, this is complicated by the fact that Facebook and Google have placed restrictions on ICO projects advertising on their platforms. As a result, an ICO project should seek out the use of third-party marketing firm to help them promote and generate attention on social media.
Marketing to investors is the essential facet of an ICO launch. Most ICOs will go through a pre-ICO period where they will launch a limited number of coins to early investors which can generate funds to launch a project. A pre-ICO sale can help a project acquire the funds it needs to launch a successful ICO. Attracting investors for a pre-ICO can be difficult if a project has not yet gathered funds for such an endeavour. Therefore, it is worthwhile finding a third party group who will help attain pre-ICO investment.
The marketing cost can vary on what an ICO project hopes to achieve, and the length of time that they will be running their coin launch. Advertising spends can be ramped up closer to the launch date while entailing the services of marketing specialists and community managers should be kept consistent over this period. While the initial costs can be quite high, the potential returns from a successful ICO can be extensive.
Approximate Cost: $25,000 – $60,000