What is a white paper

What is a white paper?

A white paper is an in-depth explanation for a product which will be developed. It is used in initial coin offerings, partially to determine the feasibility of a project by potential crowdfunding participants. It differs from a technical paper due to its product centric approach in its explanation of the project parameters, while a tech paper solely focuses on the build aspects of the underlying application or protocol.

Why are white papers important to initial coin offerings?

A white paper holds high significance in an ICO, as many projects are based on theory or have just an MVP or alpha stage product ready. The white paper allows the potential investor or crowdfunding participant to understand the research which has been placed into the underlying product as well as the core functions of the product but most importantly, what problems the product is addressing in its sector or sectors and how the projects intend to solve these problems.

How to structure a white paper for an ICO?

Whilst all white papers are different, most white papers hold to general structure. Here at RAMP, when advising on creating a white paper, we follow the following guidelines for WP outlay.

  • Abstract: A brief outline of how the project came into being and the market the product is approaching.
  • Contents Table: Usually clickable for easy access to specific areas of the white paper.
  • Project Mission: What are the aims of the project?
  • Current Market Environment: How is the sector or market you are entering now, an overview of drawbacks and ways in which it can be improved? Details on the research you have completed. You should list the problems in the marketplace and the solutions you and your team have worked out to alleviate those problems.
  • Why Your Team & Project: Explain to the reader why you, your team and your product are the answer to the above-mentioned problems and how you can be trusted to deliver the project in full.
  • Vision for the Future: How do you see the future with the product developed and traction gained.
  • Emission Model: The emission model is the core aspect for an ICO white paper, it deals with the number of tokens or coins you will be creating and issuing to the public. You will also detail the parameters of your reserves and reserve usage as well as mathematical computations of any models you have initiated such as depreciation models or pricing appreciation models. Other significant aspects of the emission model are hard caps, soft caps, coin destruction parameters and token utility.
  • Presale & General Sale: You will set out the parameters in a very clear way how many sale segments there are and what each of the caps will be. The weighting of the token distribution is of utmost importance. You should also list the key holders of the wallets which will be used to retain the participation funds which have been raised.
  • Post ICO: You should outline the timelines for token issuance to the participants and the decimal placings on the token. You should also go deeper into any governance procedures you have put in place as well as further information on reserve pool usage. IE; is it for partnership or even a secondary offering?
  • Development Process: This is very important, you should explain the timelines for deployment and development or further development of the product from start to finish. Diagrams showing current product functionality are of utmost importance.
  • Technical: A technical overview of the product complete with diagrams and schematics. This should detail your use of blockchain, security, databases etc.
  • Future: An outlay of future technical developments after initial development has been completed.
  • Governance: If you have been wise enough to implement post ICO governance, explain in detail how this works and how it protects participants.
  • Team: Detail core team members and governance participants, ensure to show a brief bio and that they are a superstar team. Make sure you have known crypto actors in your team. Without them, you will not get far.
  • Roadmap: This is essential, and a strong and detailed roadmap is important in showing that you have set milestones for development and traction for your product.
  • Product Features Overview: Tell users what they are getting and tell them in detail.
  • Use Case’s: Very important that you show use cases if you have more than one. It shows to the user that your product has multiple uses in real life.
  • Conclusion. This is where you wrap it up.