ICO 101: The Biggest Mistake Blockchain Projects Make When Launching an ICO

Nobody cares about your ICO. Here’s why your project’s focus needs to be elsewhere

Here’s the thing. Nobody cares about your ICO event. But that doesn’t mean your ICO is doomed. You can make people care, you just need to promote and explain the right aspects of your project.

Here at Intrepid, we have been operating in the blockchain and ICO space for several years now. We make sure to constantly scan the ICO market regularly to monitor what’s going on and we’ve noticed a number of common mistakes getting made by projects when launching their ICO.

This post will focus on one of the most commonly made mistakes of all. It’s a strategic mistake that can have dire long-term consequences. It’s an issue we tell all our clients about when we work with them to launch their ICO through our ICO coin offering solution,Token Deck.

So, what is it?

One of the biggest mistakes projects make when launching their ICO is that they focus on promoting the ICO itself, not their company and product they are offering. You may not think this is such a big mistake, but it is, and I will explain why.

A project’s long-term sustainability requires a strong brand and community

Branding is critical to the long-term success of all businesses, especially in today’s noisy and competitive marketplace. Contrary to popular belief, branding is not just an endeavor reserved for big companies in more traditional industries. It is equally essential for young projects and SMEs in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space.

“Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room”- Jeff Bezos.

Although branding does require an investment of time and money, it’s worth the effort because it can help a blockchain project stand out from the speculative mania where it can be difficult for people to see which companies are for real.

Branding also helps build credibility and establish trust, two things which are in short supply in the blockchain space. Finally, a strong brand increases the value of your products and services and loyalty as well.

A successful ICO requires the right supporters

Spending all your time promoting the ICO will not attract the type of supporters that will ultimately make your project a success. If you put minimal effort into the development and promotion of your product, expect the vast majority of contributors to be speculators who just want to make a quick buck.

Real supporters, as in those who analyze business fundamentals, believe in your project and are looking into long-term growth, require more than a white paper, a vague idea, and a scammy-looking ICO ad campaign. Spraying social media with weak content that focuses on raising money, not the value you can offer, will not help to spark any interest from experienced contributors.

What’s more, in 2018, more experienced investors and financial institutions are looking to move into the market. But these institutional investors will be more skeptical than ever before.

They will be looking to contribute to more mature projects that can provide a substantial return, not just hype and promises. They will demand that projects have valid business models, transparency, a great product and are led by serious entrepreneurs with vision and commitment.

To meet these demands and ultimately get the right contributors to your ICO, focus on what they want- a great company with a unique product that provides value to a particular market. By doing this, you will build a solid community filled with contributors who are committed to the long-term success of your project.

ICO ads are  banned

2017 will likely be remembered as a game-changer for the space. Amongst the many important things that took place, the Initial Coin Offering market went into overdrive. The mania was accompanied by scams, hacks, and the rise of many other negatives aspects surrounding ICOs

Due to the rise of scammy projects, social media sites like Facebook and internet search engines like Google are banning all ICO and cryptocurrency related ads.

So now, focusing on ICO promotion is not only a bad long-term strategy, it just won’t be allowed. That means you will need to start developing valuable content that focuses on other areas to attract contributors to your ICO.

Final thoughts

The popularity of the blockchain space has brought a lot of benefits to the industry, but it has also created a lot of noise, helping bad projects to emerge and creating general distrust. Projects need to build a community, develop a reputation and create trust to stand out.

This is where content that focuses on the attributes of your company and the value of your project’s product can deliver results. Becoming an authority on key topics and issues that are of interest to your target audience, and producing content about your company and product will pay off in the long run.

Key takeaways

  • Nobody cares about your ICO. You need to stand out from the pack by focusing on the value your product brings and developing content that aims to increase brand awareness and thought leadership.
  • Many blockchain projects have forgotten about business fundamentals like marketing and branding. Strong business fundamentals are essential for long-term success and stability, companies in the blockchain space are no exception.
  • Projects that focus on promoting the ICO event may still be able to attract contributors to their ICO, but most will be speculators who will ultimately bring down your project.
  • Projects need to add value in everything they do. If you are not committed to providing and sharing REAL value you are committing your project to failure. Period.


For more details on each of the steps and more in-depth explanations download our “How to Launch an Initial Coin Offering” comprehensive guide.

If you’re planning an ICO, Token Deck is our Initial Coin Offering solution that makes the ICO process safe, compliant and easy. Check it out!

If you have any questions or would like to connect you can find me on Twitter or email me at [email protected] I’m always interested in meeting people working, learning, or involved with the blockchain space.

Anthony is the head of content and research at Intrepid Ventures. He has spent the past several years researching and analyzing technologies and working with a diverse mix of blockchain companies to help them gain insight and develop authoritative content.

Also published on Medium.