Let’s get reality out of the way first. Creating a whitepaper seems like an arduous task, but it is the best way to present the expertise you have in your field and it will generate credibility with investors. Whitepapers are the blueprint of a project and having a well-written one is essential to any project, whether it is an initial coin offering (ICO) or security token offering (STO). These detailed documents contain all the essential information that investors and prospective customers would be interested in seeing, such as the current industry and market data, the project’s business plan and business model, product architecture, the details of the token, and its interaction with users in the project’s ecosystem. In order to achieve a successful ICO campaign or token sale, whitepapers should be written with the goal of engaging, informing, and persuading your audience to believe in the project.
How Should it be Written?
Since whitepapers contain multiple pages of detailed content, they are highly audience-specific documents. Whitepapers need to be tailored specifically towards your target audience to gain the most return on investment. Before you begin writing, make sure you have done your due diligence by researching and having a good grasp of the project’s industry. Once you begin writing, the composition should be positioned in a way that engages your audience. This is important because readers who are drawn into your message are willing to commit the time to explore the whitepaper in its entirety. Engaging your readers can be achieved by incorporating storytelling into the whitepaper. Narrate a story that shows readers that you understand their problem and connect with them on an emotional level.
Nothing disrupts the flow of reading more than dense language or overuse of technical jargon that isn’t understood by everyone. The information displayed in a whitepaper should be written in a concise, fact-driven, and easy-to-understand manner. Nothing should be ambiguous in an already complex document. Show that you have mastery over the subject by using objective and clear language.
The whitepaper must inform your readers and help them to become more knowledgeable on the subjects discussed in the document. The paper should objectively present a problem, the case for solving the problem, and why this project is the best for implementing the solution to the problem. The reader should gain knowledge from having invested the time to read the paper. Ultimately, the whitepaper needs to convince your audience to believe in the project.
What Should a Whitepaper Look Like?
Crafting a whitepaper is more of an art than a science, but building a process for yourself will aid you in creating a remarkable paper. The contents of a whitepaper can vary depending on the industry and whether the project is conducting an ICO or STO. At Inventum Digital, we order the contents of the whitepaper using the following structure, which we found to be adaptable to any industry regardless of whether the project is an ICO or STO.
Table of Contents
The table of contents consists of a list of all sections contained in the whitepaper and their associated page number. Having a visually neat and organized list helps your readers in navigating the contents of your whitepaper.
The legal disclaimer explains the limitations and appropriate use of the information contained in the whitepaper. Its purpose is to protect your company/entity and potential investors. It consists of descriptions on preventing the creation of a warranty or contract, claims whether tokens are for utility or security purposes, and states that the document is not financial advice. The descriptions in the disclaimer will depend on whether or not the token is considered a security. If the token is a security, discuss with your legal advisors regarding the information that needs to be stated.
The abstract expresses the contents of your whitepaper or project in a clear and concise manner. The purpose of the abstract is to summarize and describe the most important information from the whitepaper in a clear and concise manner for readers to quickly understand the project. This section is usually 200 – 400 words in length.
The background section provides readers with information on the project’s industry, market data, and the problems that exist within it, as well as an analysis of competitors. This content should be fact-driven and objectively present accurate research material. The background paves the way to positioning the project as the solution to the problems that were described.
This section should include the most storytelling. It is the visionary narrative of the team’s goals and values. The mission statement should inform readers on why the people who created this project are personally invested in the project and convince readers to join them on their mission. Describe the motivation behind why this project exists. Every team/company has their own unique story and this section serves to captivate the readers on an emotional level before diving into the technical details of the project.
This section describes the technical details of the project and its product. It includes information such as how the product works, how users interact with the product, and the rationale behind blockchain implementation. It is essential to emphasize on why blockchain is necessary for the success of this project. Make sure to include flow charts and figures to help readers visually understand your product and its ecosystem.
This section explains the technical details of the token, such as tokens’ nature and function within the ecosystem, smart contract details, token distribution plan, amount in circulation, etc. Flow charts and figures are helpful in this section.
The legal framework section is applicable to projects who have regulatory hurdles (e.g. legislations, HIPAA-compliance). The content in this section are industry-specific considerations and licenses that need to be obtained for the project to continue operations.
This section should include the breakdown of all financial information such as CAPEX & OPEX budgets, cash flow projections, and allocation of proceeds. The contents here usually include a variety of charts and tables with associated descriptions. Visual presentations will aid readers in quickly understanding the financials of your project.
The roadmap section contains the timeline of future events, such as project milestones. It is important to constantly update your timeline so potential investors know that the project is still active. Additionally, this section can include explanations about future improvements to product (e.g. additional products, optimizations, etc.). Make sure to emphasize that the content in thissection are “future developments” and disclaim that these plans may or may not change depending on how the development of the project proceeds
If the project has partners, the partnering companies should be listed in this section with their logo and a description of their contribution to the project.
Team & Advisors
This section should contain the list of individuals who are part of the project. It includes photos of the individuals, their role in the project, and a brief description of professional history. There should also be a description of why this is the perfect team for this project and its future success. This section is especially important because investors will scrutinize the team’s overall experience and ability to successfully execute the project. Even if the product is mediocre, investors may still give the project a chance because they believe in the team’s ability to create a valuable product.
References do not necessarily have to be in their own section, but can be in the form of footnotes. Information obtained from research should always be cited to give credit to the original source and also for readers who are interested in pursuing further discourse with the material. Properly presenting accurate data shows the integrity of the project and that the information provided is based off real world data and not baseless claims.
It may seem obvious, but make sure to proofread and edit the contents of the whitepaper multiple times. It is also helpful to have others read through the whitepaper for more perspective on how to improve it. The quality of your whitepaper depends on how well-written the material is, and ensuring that there are no mistakes and that all information is presented clearly are all crucial parts of the writing process.