4 Founders Reveal Secrets Behind Wildly Successful ICOs

ICOs can be daunting to execute, so it’s best to learn from founders that have been there, done that. 

[Note: This is a guest article submitted by Eugene Cheng]


Launching an ICO is a Daunting Process

We spoke to 4 founders that have run successful ICOs about what they deem to be important when launching ICOs, how to best go about approaching such a gargantuan task and some of the issues they encountered when doing so.

(From left to right, top to bottom: Jack Yeu, Co-Founder and CCO of Switcheo Network; Christel Quek, Co-Founder and CCO of BOLT; Val Yap, Founder and CEO of PolicyPal Network; Stephen Hyduchak, Founder and CEO of Bridge Protocol)

Private sales and making sure you have the right investors onboard

Having raised US$8.7 million in their March ICO, Switcheo Network chose to hold a private sale as they had “a small following from the start”. Feeding off of the buzz surrounding competing product DEXs on NEO like Neon Exchange (NEX) and Aphelion, they consulted with one of the founding partners of NEO Global Capital, Roger Lim, to accelerate their fundraising process. Jack Yeu also highlights the importance of networking within the crypto world, stating:

The advice and connections [Roger] brought to us proved to be invaluable.

Christel Quek of BOLT shares that of the US$12 million raised in a combination of Ether and NEO, approximately US$9 million was raised through a private contribution round that was completed in 2 months. She also shares that BOLT were very strict in ensuring that they had strategic investors on board.

We would assess their contribution to our project, including introductions to key partnerships, that they would trade our BOLT Tokens diligently (vs a pump and dump situation).

Community, engagement and transparency

How a project’s team presents itself and interacts with the community is key in ensuring interest, a point that Stephen Hyduchak of Bridge Protocol raises. Through AMAs (Ask Me Anything threads on Reddit) and community influencers, Bridge Protocol aimed to be fully transparent in their project’s progress. As a testament to his team’s commitment to transparency, he tells us of a time in which “the team stayed up throughout the night to make sure users received their NEO back within 48 hours” while their token sale was ongoing.

Val Yap of PolicyPal Network adds that Community Managers were key in maintaining interest in their project during the ICO period.

They share all our projects on Telegram and Twitter, and also frequently engage the community to address any concerns they might have.

For her, Telegram engagement is especially important as it provides a means of instant and direct communication with the community. She boasts that at one point in time, the PolicyPal Network Telegram channel had over 23,000 members actively participating in the discussion.

Use the whitepaper to showcase your project and any working products

The whitepaper is often seen as an integral piece of the ICO pitch, allowing the project team to showcase their vision and the technology behind it. Val Yap tells us that the whitepaper is “important in getting interest from investors during [the] public crowdsale”.

Christel Quek goes a step further by telling us that while the whitepaper is a good reflection of what a project has to offer, what it really boils down to is the “delivery of results”. Amid a bearish market, investors have rightly become more cautious when approaching ICOs. What matters most is having a working product and to inform potential investors of your mission.

What matters is to start from the mission and to articulate it in a narrative that anyone in the market can understand, before going to work on deal-making […] to make the project a wildly successful one.

There’s no need to run a 6-figure ICO

Most ICOs run into high 6-figure sums and in some cases 7-figures. Knowing how much you need to spend, and how to avoid the 6-figure pitfall can go a long way when planning your ICO. For BOLT, the entire ICO (including legal, accounting, operational and technology fees) ran them just under US$500,000, all of which was borne out of the founders’ pockets. Having these funds in place as an investment is key to making sure the ICO is successful. As Christel puts it,

Good things take time and money, especially if you want the process to be rigorous and done to a high standard.

Mint what you need and keep your Token Economics simple

Token economics refers to the model and implementation of cryptocurrency systems based on blockchain technology. As such, they’re an important part of attracting investors, providing a way to show both speculative and utility value. Stephen Hyduchak shares that Bridge Protocol based their token economics on the needs of their platform, ensuring “Bridge Protocol users wouldn’t need to buy more tokens than needed”. Of the total 1 billion tokens available, 500 million was offered to the public, while the other 500 million was retained by the company to provide incentives to potential partners.

For founders like Jack Yeu, ensuring their token economics were as simple as possible was a means to make sure “[the] project and token was easily understood by the masses”. Having distributed 1 billion Switcheo Tokens (SWTH) during their token sale, SWTH provides a discount on trading fees – operating similarly to the Binance token. It also serves as a trading pair to “potentially facilitate the transfer of value across different blockchains in the future”.

About the author

Eugene is Partner and Creative Lead at HighSpark – a strategic training and presentation design company that works with Fortune 500 companies and blockchain startups to communicate more powerfully. Eugene writes about blockchain trends, business and marketing for leading publications like Lifehack, Techinasia, e27 and more.

Do you agree with the advice shared by the ICO founders? Share your thoughts below!


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Can The Slow Cryptocurrency Recovery be Sustained?

FOMO MomentsMarkets slowly recovering this weekend; XRP, EOS, Neo and Tron climbing back, VeChain falling slightly.The slow creep upwards has continued into the weekend as cryptocurrencies add more gains following their lowest levels of the year. Total market capitalization has crept up slightly and is currently holding above $215 billion, 14% up on Tuesday’s big dip.Bitcoin has not moved much over the past 24 hours, it is still trading at $6,500. BTC did reach and break $6,600 a few hours ago but resistance was too strong and it fell back again. Ethereum is still inching up with small gains every day now, today it is 2.2% higher to $308, though the ascent has slowed and prices have retreated a little.Altcoins are pretty much all in the green this morning. Leading the gains in the top ten at the moment is XRP with another 7.5% climb to $0.335. Ripple’s token was the best performing altcoin in the top ten yesterday also as partnership expansions and new developments boost momentum. EOS is also having a good morning this Saturday with a 7.5% rise to $5.26, likewise with Bitcoin Cash which is up 6.3% to $5.73. The rest are showing smaller gains of around 2-4%.Looking further down the chart at the top twenty Neo is out front with an 8% climb on the day to $19 and Tron is not far behind adding 7% to trade at $0.022. The only loser in the top twenty at the moment is VeChain, down 9% however this is only natural as the coin has spiked over 40% in the past day or so.In the top one hundred newcomer TaTaTu is showing an epic pump of 84% but as with most low cap altcoins a dump is likely to follow. Nebulas, Cortex and Aion are also all performing well at the moment with over 20% gains on the day. At the other end of the scale Dentacoin and Waltonchain are joining VeChain as the biggest losers on the day.Total crypto market capitalization has crept up almost 2% on the day as altcoins recover from their doldrums. It is currently at $217 billion which is still almost 27% lower than this time last month. Trade volume has remained unchanged at $15 billion on the day. These small rallies have been seen countless times before this year so things could turn south again very quickly if this one is not sustained for a longer period.FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 25 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing one, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.

Why is Zcash 2.0 Sapling Release Important for Private Crypto Transactions?

Privacy cryptocurrency Zcash (ZEC) announced the release of their 2.0.0 version on August 16th, introducing the first Sapling-compatible version of the Zcash node software.  The privacy currency also added several other notable features in the newest software update, including an important fix to the peer banning bug that came about following the previous Overwinter update.The update included other minor fixes and additions to the Zcash network, including backport upstream improvements, various bug fixes, and an update to the mainnet checkpoints to improve the speed of initial synchronization.What is Sapling and How Does it Improve Private Transactions?Sapling is the next major upgrade of the Zcash network and is scheduled to go live on October 28th of this year. The update comes after two years of the Zcash team conducting a plethora of tests and updates in an effort to improve the functionality and performance of encrypted transactions.The key feature of Sapling is that it takes Zcash closer to having fully shielded transactions, which will provide users a new layer of security and anonymity. Currently, Zcash transactions operate similarly to those of Bitcoin, in that the addresses are transparent. Shielding addresses requires a significant amount of computational power, which is incredibly expensive, but updates provided through Sapling will eventually lead to lower transactional costs, making shielded transactions much more cost efficient.Zcash explains Sapling on their blog, saying:“Sapling is a network upgrade that introduces significant efficiency improvements for shielded transactions that will pave the way for broad mobile, exchange and vendor adoption of Zcash shielded addresses…Payments involving the new Sapling z-addresses can be constructed in as little as a few seconds and with only 40 megabytes of memory. Exchanges, mobile wallet providers, vendors and other 3rd parties will now be able to support shielded addresses. The increased use of shielded addresses will improve the effective privacy for the entire network.”The Zcash team also emphasizes the importance of upgrading user’s Zcash software, explaining:“Keep your Zcash software updated, and you’ll be on the newly-upgraded main chain along with everyone else. You will not miss the network upgrade, unless you are running your own full node and have manually configured your client to continue running the old code.”According to the Zcash roadmap, the activation of Sapling will occur shortly after they introduce their version 2.0.1 and will precede the release of version 2.0.2 by less than a week.Sapling is the third major software update to the Zcash network since its launch in 2016 and comes after the original Sprout upgrade and the most recent Overwinter release.Zcash is currently sitting at $147, up 4% on the day but down from its monthly highs of approximately $200 on August 1st.  Like all other cryptocurrencies, Zcash has not been immune from the market downturn, and is currently about $750 off its all-time high of $900.  It is unlikely that the Sapling upgrade will lead to any immediate price increases, but it will provide greater utility and efficiency down the road.  The potential addition of Zcash to Coinbase could also lead to a potential price jump in the coming months.Featured image from Shutterstock