Why ICOs need to be more like IPOs to succeed

How you structure your ICO White Paper should follow best practice from the ICO world. The case for this approach follows insights from Novum Insights’s data scientist  who outlines what he looks for in assessing an ICO:

For reference, please see two IPO prospectuses below. The crypto markets are repeating all the mistakes which the securities markets learned from long ago.
https://www.asx.com.au/asxpdf/20141124/pdf/42tychvw1293vm.pdf
http://www.goldmansachs.com/investor-relations/financials/archived/other-information/ipo-prospectus-gs-pdf-file.pdf

Notable features:

1) Full section containing specific, detailed information about the risks of the offering. Why shouldn’t I invest in your ICO? Answer my doubts.

2) Audited financial accounts.

3) Professional presentation. No typos, grammatical or mathematical errors. High quality figures.

4) Quantitative, detailed, realistic business plan.

5) As you are selling a technology product, you need a working prototype and benchmarks. You need to answer the question “how does this improve over what we have now” convincingly. I’m looking for numbers. Specifically, I am concerned with performance.

6) How the cash proceeds will be spent. Contingency must be in cash.

7) Details of previous funding arrangements.

  • The broad gist of this is the more concrete detail you provide about the ICO business plan, the better.
  • While the full effort of producing a full prospectus is not a feature of ICOs, incorporating major features will build credibility.
  • You are not just selling a product, you are also selling a business. Treat an ICO as a VC round … which it is, except your audience is a mix of retail and professional investors — like an IPO.
  • If tokens are regulated as securities, you will have to get used to it. Figuring out these details will also make your business plan more concrete and more likely to be successful.NB: Screenshot from the Goldman Sachs prospectus for their IPO attached. This goes on for seven pages.

It doesn’t have to be this detailed, but as an investor I need to know you are aware of the challenges your business faces and how you will overcome them.

To conclude this post on ICOs, please find below a neat infographic from BTXchange.io on the ICO funding mechanism in the past, present, and future.