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!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

SIX Group Executive Questions Launch of Crypto Trading, Expresses ICO Optimism Instead

Thomas Zeeb, CEO of securities services at Switzerland’s top stock exchange SIX, revealed that the firm is unlikely to launch crypto trading, Business Insider reported August 17.

According to Zeeb, cryptocurrencies are really “not a priority” at the moment, taking into account the fact that there are a number of other platforms that provide Bitcoin (BTC) trading services. Moreover, Zeeb noted that there are still some “reputational” issues surrounding Bitcoin, also suggesting that Bitcoin is all about “hope and hype.”

However, the head of securities services at top Switzerland’s stock exchange expressed optimism about the concept of digital assets. Zeeb stated that digitals coins such as Initial Coin Offering (ICO) tokens are “here to stay,” with its mass adoption coming in around “five years.”

In the interview with Business Insider, Zeeb compared digital currencies with derivatives trading, claiming that he is “absolutely convinced” that crypto is “where derivatives were in the early ’90s.” According to Zeeb, digital assets’ adoption will come “a lot faster than the 30 years it’s taken derivatives.”

Zeeb said that the upcoming digital assets exchange — currently being developed by SIX — aims to introduce a regulation-focused way of trading ICO tokens in order to enable participation by institutional investors.

He stressed that that the main task of the exchange would be filling the gap between crowdfunding and ICOs, which is now usually taken up by venture capital or private equity. Zeeb stated,

“There is demand from institutional clients to find a way to legitimize and bring asset safety into play.”

Speaking to Business Insider, Zeeb encouraged the digitization of existing securities or exchange-traded funds due to the ability to enable fractional ownership, citing the benefits of turning some exotic assets such as art galleries collections to tokens.

In early July, SIX Group first officially announced its plans to launch a “fully-regulated” cryptocurrency exchange next year using blockchain technology to create a “digital asset ecosystem.

Later in July, SIX also revealed it has started considering the possibility of launching crypto trading services on its trading platform, which is set to be launched by mid-2019.

Developing an ICO Project in Russia Can Cost as Little as $1,500

Developing an ICO Project in Russia Can Cost as Little as $1,500


The average cost to develop an ICO project in Russia is hovering around $18,000 USD but the price can go down to as little as $1,500, according to a study that explores the market for such services. The hourly rate for a blockchain developer is averaging a little over $44, the authors found after surveying 60 companies.  

Also read: Malta Tops Exchange-Based Crypto Trade, Russia Leads in OTC Volume

Elaborate Projects Can Reach $50,000 USD

Developing an ICO Project in Russia Can Cost as Little as $1,500If you’ve ever wondered how much it would cost to create a project to raise funds through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), a Russian rating agency focused on the web development sector has prepared an estimate that you may find interesting. True, it’s based on what’s currently offered in Russia but in the global village, and especially in the crypto space, outsourcing shouldn’t be a problem.

According to the study conducted by Ratingratingov.ru, the development of an ICO project in Russia costs between 100,000 rubles (~$1,500) and 3.3 million rubles (~$50,000 USD), Insider Pro reported. The agency has contacted 60 companies working in the field to collect and summarize pricing and other data and listed the top 15 firms offering this type of services in the local market.

The researchers found that the average price tag for these orders, the blockchain and web development part, is 1.2 million rubles (almost $18,000), not counting marketing and legal expenses. At the same time, a blockchain programmer makes over 2,990 rubles (~$44 USD) an hour, a wage that far exceeds the remuneration of most Russian employees. The median monthly salary in the country is about 42,000 rubles, or $660 dollars.

Developing an ICO Project in Russia Can Cost as Little as $1,500The companies in the survey have been ranked using a formula that assesses the size and quality of their portfolio and the experience of their teams. The number of successful projects, team members, and years of market presence are all taken into account.

Size Matters When It Comes to ICO Development in Russia

The compiled data shows that size does matter in this business in Russia. The first two firms in the chart, Smartym Pro and Ruformat, each have between 30 and 50 employees and are operating since 2008 and 2012 respectively. The next two, Zerion and Axioma Group, have hired between 10 and 30 professionals and are in the market since 2016 and 2009.

Companies failing to meet a set of criteria, like those that do not specialize precisely in blockchain development and ICOs, don’t have a portfolio with linked projects published on their website, are not included in the shortlist prepared by the agency.

Developing an ICO Project in Russia Can Cost as Little as $1,500

Ratingratingov’s, well, rating has been published after in July the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB) announced a whitelist of businesses offering crypto-related products and services. It is available on the association’s website.

RACIB considers crowdfunding through coin offerings a promising industry that can potentially bring substantial foreign capital to Russia. It has been pushing for the adoption of favorable regulations along its efforts to cleanse the sector of fraudulent enterprises. The Russian State Duma is expected to review the revamped draft crypto legislation during its fall session.

According to a recent study, the Russian Federation has hosted six of the top 100 ICO projects. Another report published earlier this year claims that startups with Russian participation have already raised $310 million USD.

What’s your opinion about the costs of developing an ICO project in Russia? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Ratingratingov.ru.

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