A whitepaper is defined as a pitch or persuasive, authoritative, and often in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem along with a respective solution.
Marketers rely on whitepapers for a variety of reasons, most simply to educate an audience about a particular issue or to promote a particular methodology.
In the cryptocurrency world, a whitepaper is a document that should contain all of the information about the technology that was used to build a cryptocurrency network, and how the network will be used, and for what purpose.
Some whitepapers may also contain information about the business plan behind the cryptocurrencies and the organization that created it.
Whitepapers as a Component of ICOs
Today associated almost exclusively with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), these documents actually seek to provide a roadmap for a business plan for the company.
This can include information for potential investors about specific product, structure, mission, benefits, team, roadmap, future plans, etc.
These documents proved essential to the rise of ICOs.
Whitepapers today receive a generally negative connotation for this reason, given the amount of speculative and ultimately unsuccessful ICOs promoted via whitepapers.
A troubling number of whitepapers severely lacked vital or in many cases accurate information.
This proved one of the foundational elements of the ICO craze which consequently reached its apex in 2017.
Most whitepapers delved into specific details for investors in ways that normal marketing channels could not readily transmit.
In this sense, whitepapers were very effective in providing detailed information on products, security protocols, methodology, target users, and team members.
Despite the propensity for scams or high failure rate, there have been several successful ICOs. This includes Ethereum, NEO, Spectrecoin, and others.