The initial token launch or token generation event is a hard but absolutely brilliant way to raise funds and create a community around your product, so get ready to absorb information. In this article, we will explain different aspects that one needs to take into account when planning a token generation event, namely: design and development, legal, compliance, financing, PR and marketing, and HR. We’ll cover each area and suggest a possible - but not the only - order in which you could tackle the looooong to-do list you’ll soon have in your hands.
You can expect that a lot of it will have to happen concurrently and you’ll find yourself outsourcing big chunks of work. So buckle up and keep reading - and please keep in mind that we’ll elaborate on each of the aspects below in separate dedicated articles.
Let’s cut to the chase and check out a semi-high-level to-do list.
Write a solid whitepaper
The whitepaper is by far one of the most important aspects of your project. Consider that based on how good, solid, and well-thought-through your whitepaper is, you will attract not only investment (let’s face it…that’s what you are looking for!) but also team members, advisors and partners. The times when you could sketch an idea on a napkin and get money for that are over (did they ever existed?)… sorry bro. Also, keep in mind that you’ll be iterating a lot on your whitepaper, so this is not a one-time job.We suggest you start writing the whitepaper only after you have done the following:
- Study the market and discover a real problem
- Figure out the product and the business model
- Outline tokenomics (token economy)
Put together your team, including advisors
A strong core team is absolutely essential. You want whoever joins this journey with you to be committed, determined, and fully living the vision of the project. It’d be a plus if the core team covered different areas of expertise, ideally, a tech co-founder (pretty obvious, yes?) combined with a partner experienced in the field the project is about - e.g. an insurance expert would be good to have as a co-founder if you want to move insurance policies onto the blockchain…for whatever reason.
Start developing your prototype
There are two aspects you need to take care about:
We know we’re repeating ourselves here but… THIS IS SO IMPORTANT!!! The days on napkins died, something else died too: idea-only based projects are soooooo 2017! Going out there with something you can show, even a puny version of it, makes a world of difference. With a prototype, you’ll be taken much more seriously as that shows that you have done work, invested time (and money), and thought through things such as UX and use cases. Of course, a fully working and already live product (centralized and non-distributed, I mean) would be the best possible scenario.
Develop your project’s landing page
This page (or pages) needs to include, sooner or later:
- Whitelisting (your KYC provider will become your best friend here)
- Prototype demo
- Team and advisors
This is the first thing everyone is going to ask you for when you start telling that you are doing an initial coin offering. So you need one. And please…make it look decent! No need to start with fancy animations and special effects from the beginning. But at the very least get a designer to put together something slick from a branding and design perspective. People smell scams already from the landing page… so let’s make sure you don’t look like one!
Get legal documents and opinions
Your legal documents should include:
- SAFT agreement
- Terms and conditions
- Legal opinion about the token (in English please!) and best jurisdiction for legal entity incorporation
- Advisory agreements
- Other agreements (partnerships, employment, etc.)
The whole legal aspect of running your coin offering can be compared easily with taking your car to the mechanic: you can be sure that he’ll fix things you don’t think are necessary and that it’ll be expensive. But guess what? That might just keep you from possibly crashing… hard.
Incorporate legal entity and get a bank account
In a world that can’t figure out whether TGEs are good or bad and how to manage cryptocurrencies, choosing the right jurisdiction for your legal entity and bank account is pretty vital. It all comes down to how much paperwork and rules you are willing to abide by in order -again - to look legit and avoid problems in the future.
Layout community management and marketing strategy
Most effective and important marketing activities include:
- Community development in social media platforms
- Airdrop and Bounties
- Listings on token sale review and rating websites
- Collaboration with Influencers (key opinion leaders)
- Content creation and distribution (articles writing)
- Community management (everywhere necessary)
- QA and forum services
We might need a separate book for this topic only. Today, in the world of TGEs, you are not going anywhere without marketing and especially a solid community… that is unless your private network is so solid that you can manage marketing with a minimum effort.
Start talking to exchanges
What are you going to do with a token that is not listed?! Not much. So while this is not the first thing you should think about when you start planning your token launch, make sure you don’t wait too long to start investigating exchange listing options and establishing relationships with the best possible exchanges.
Sort private, pre-sale, and public-sale technical aspects
Think these aspect through well:
- Token minting and distribution smart contracts
- Escrow, vesting, and lock-up contracts
- Security audit
- Token holders dashboard on your website
All of your planning and execution efforts to build and promote your project, eventually come down to this: get the funds safely, distribute your tokens properly, put your and your investors’ interests first - always. If you don’t have in-house competencies to take care of the sale and token distribution, find a reliable and efficient system that fits your needs to do the job.
Dos and don'ts
Based on our experience in token sales, we have learned about the most important DOS AND DON’TS.
Remember these words when you get started. Plans will change for sure, but as long as you continually keep on planning, unforeseen challenges will take you less by surprise and your mindset will be flexible. So consider all the aspects above and start with a healthy dose of planning!
Think of your project as if it was a start-up.
Well, we can argue that it is a start-up after all. The only difference is that you are raising funds by selling your token. So in everything you do remember to think the start-up basics through problem-solution, business model, use of raised funds, team, tokenomics, roadmap.
Do due diligence.
Team members, advisors, partners… get to know as much as possible about who you’ll be working with and sign agreements with them - verbal contracts are good, but written ones are better.
Save up for marketing and structuring.
It’s not a matter of if. These activities will be expensive. So make sure you have room for these in your budget.
Do not try to do it on your own.
Get ready to embrace close collaboration, outsourcing, partnerships, and teamwork.
Do not rush.
Unless you have a specific reason to do a token generation event within 2 months, don’t try that. Allocate at least 4 to 6 months, depending on the nature of the project and prototype development efforts - remember how important it is to have one?
Do not underestimate legal, compliance, and security:
As boring, uneventful, and expensive these matters can be, they are so important. And you might just pay a much higher price later on if you don’t address them early and well enough.
Wrapping it up…That’s it for today, folks. We hope you got a better idea of what’s waiting ahead in your TGE journey. Like we said before: hard work, fun, challenges, successes, failures, and great opportunities. Stay tuned for our next article: Your TGE bible: the whitepaper.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this guide on how to prepare for your initial token launch. To dive deeper into the topic, feel free to subscribe to our newsletter.
- Write a solid whitepaper
- Put together your team, including advisors
- Start developing your prototype
- Develop your project’s landing page
- Get legal documents and opinions
- Incorporate legal entity and get a bank account
- Layout community management and marketing strategy
- Start talking to exchanges
- Sort private, pre-sale, and public-sale technical aspects
- Dos and don'ts
- Plan ahead.
- Think of your project as if it was a start-up.
- Do due diligence.
- Save up for marketing and structuring.
- Do not try to do it on your own.
- Do not rush.
- Do not underestimate legal, compliance, and security:
- What’s next?