There are many things that go hand in hand. A car and and an owner’s manual, for example. A new piece of software and a quick start guide. A washing machine and a user manual, too.
But if there are two things that really should go together, these are an ICO and a whitepaper. These two items are an indivisible pair, two components of the crypto squad that will stand at the vanguard of your ICO’s offensive.
A whitepaper (a good one, that is) will bring credibility and gravitas to your project, allowing you to woo potential investors into parting with their cash.
A bad whitepaper will have a diametric effect. The idea behind your ICO may be sound and viable, but a poorly written document will lay waste to your plans. A bad whitepaper breaks the illusion. Think of a good ICO with a sub-standard paper as a sharp dressed man with a peg leg. You get the point.
Writing a whitepaper is not an easy task, nor is it a one-man affair. A good whitepaper is a team effort, and as such, it requires close collaboration between a number of individuals.
Many ICOs take the easy way out, however, and go at it themselves, with no professional assistance because of budgetary constraints or whatever other reason. This is a common weakness that usually leads to unremarkable, or downright poor results.
Five common mistakes that lead to whitepaper hell
A major disaster is seldom triggered by a single event. Rather, a combination of factors usually conspire to cause a major malfunction.
Similarly, bad whitepapers rarely suffer from one single problem. There are normally a multitude of issues permeating the document.
Here’s the top five whitepaper disasters.
Poor grammar and/or spelling
Someone once said that your grammar is a reflection of your image. Good or bad, you have made an impression, and like all impressions, you are in total control.
Bad grammar is by far the most common mistake in the whitepaper universe, and also the most frustrating, as it has a relatively easy solution.
Many ICOs originate in countries where English may not be the official language, yet the whitepaper must be written in that language if the ICO is to have international acceptance. This leads to the necessity of hiring either a professional whitepaper writer, or at the very least, a proofreader. Either scenario requires a financial outlay, which may be beyond the scope of start-up ICOs. Still, the investment is well worth it, as a poorly written whitepaper is almost worse than no whitepaper at all.
Too much technical jargon
A lot of ICOs are technology-related, so it is tempting for the team to boast about the software engine and inflate the whitepaper pages with reams of code, schematics, API documentation, or backend stuff that the potential investor will not understand, and care even less about. The likely effect is insta-boredom, and the investor looking elsewhere.
Technical stuff does have its place. A Technical Paper, separate and independent to the whitepaper, and acting as companion. Investors must be given the choice to download and view both documents if they so choose.
Unnecessary background information
A novel requires a certain amount of background information, for characterization, character motivation, etc. A whitepaper does not.
Don’t overstuff the paper with background information about blockchain history, why Bitcoin is so great, or what the latest Ethereum rates are. An investor can pull that information online at anytime. Stick to describing your project and its rationale in a few concise paragraphs.
A whitepaper is not a comic book. A few relevant images and schematics to illustrate the points will suffice. Too many graphics break the flow and turn the whitepaper into a picture book.
No whitepaper at all
This may seem like an axiom, but presenting your project with no whitepaper to back it up is akin to selling a bomb defusing kit with no manual.
Yet, many an ICO go public without a whitepaper, hoping to sway investors with a bunch of buzzwords and a whiteboard full of good intentions.