At a time when innovative, breathtakingly unique and creative blockchain projects are revolutionising the world around us, it can be tempting to jump on the ICO bandwagon and market anything ICO-related that comes your way – but stop!
While the whole blockchain/crypto world is a relatively new concept, you need to be on the ball if you’re going to market innovation. In a space that’s largely unregulated across the globe, knowing how to spot the warning signs of an ICO that’s not as legit as it might make out is of paramount importance.
Contentworks, an agency with a reputation to uphold, has built up a reputation for only working with the most serious blockchain and ICO projects. So, marketers, let’s take a moment, slow down and decide which projects are worth investing time into. Investors alike may want to heed some of these warning signs prior to ploughing cash into a new ICO.
So, what are the red flags? Let’s take a closer look.
1. No Real Tokenomics
ICOs are like the new cool kid on the block when it comes to fundraising. They eliminate the need for venture capital and establish a direct relationship between start-ups and keen crypto investors. It’s a smart system, but for a project to come to light, a token must be created which can then be purchased in return for much-needed capital. It all makes sense so far – but there’s more.
The self-funding mechanism for a project within the crypto economy has to be justified in some way – and this all comes down to tokenomics; the workings behind an ICO or in other words, the numbers. Prominent players behind an ICO should have specific information at their fingertips to come across as authentic and genuine rather than short-lived and scammy.
An ICO must be able to clearly provide details such as: how much the tokens will be worth, how many will be in circulation, the value of the specific ecosystem connected with token in question, ROI for investors and such like. If there are no real tokenomics anywhere – it might be worth taking a big step (or indeed a huge leap) away from such projects.
TIP- Ask to see their written Tokenomics. If these are not available or poorly constructed walk away.
2. Only Talking About Short-Term Profits
If an ICO is only talking about how to maximise short-term profit gains, this is a serious warning sign. Reputable projects are often looking to bring about a considerable and positive change to their sector and are therefore interested in long-term investor gains and the greater good of society.
As ICOs often help to get start-ups off the ground, there is a significant element of trust from an investor’s perspective. Investors are essentially looking for projects that will give them the best returns and therefore ICOs that are only focused on short-term wins are unlikely to attract significant support. They may fizzle out or reveal themselves to be bad apples within the ICO space – so don’t waste your time trying to figure out a legitimate marketing strategy for such companies.
Don’t forget, there have been many examples of ICOs running off with investor cash. For this reason, it is becoming more and more important for ICOs to show real commitment to a long-term strategy with evidence of a strong concept backed up by a well-written white paper, a detailed website, blogs, PR material, updated LinkedIn profiles of all key players and more.
TIP- Ask to see a roadmap for future growth – this should be detailed within the ICO’s whitepaper.
3. The project doesn’t need to be on the blockchain
Blockchain technology is all about transparency which is why it’s proven popular in the world of trading and for other tasks such as affiliate marketing. It is also coming into its own in the banking sector with Santander teaming up with Ripple.
So it looks set to revolutionise many sectors including the online gaming industry which is geared up to become more inclusive thanks to the mining of inter-game tokens. It’s all very clever, but if a project really doesn’t need to be on the blockchain, is there really any point pursuing such a project – even if the ICO team seems keen?
Blockchain is essentially disruptive technology designed to change and improve traditional methods. It’s great for the finance sector and can help brokers expand their product offerings, but why would, say, a lollipop brand want to go down the high-tech route? Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.
TIP- It’s a bit like the story of the emperor’s new clothes but don’t be afraid to ask the obvious… “what are the reasons for your product being on the blockchain?”
4. The ICO does not want to spend money on marketing
So, you’ve been approached by an ICO. They need high-quality marketing from a respectable agency but wait for it – they don’t actually want to pay for anything. In between their techy jargon and determined speeches, you’ve pretty much worked out that they’re trying to sweet talk you with tokens which, by the sounds of it, they’re completely unsure are going to be successful. There may also be talks of a loan or free work in return for a future win you just can’t miss.
Think dodgy car sales approach, only with an ICO-spin.
Essentially, if an ICO can’t tell you the value and projections of their project which falls under basic ‘tokenomics’ then forget it. It’s better to wave goodbye sooner rather than later and let them get on with it.
TIP- Stand by the value you offer and don’t be afraid to turn down payment via unknown tokens.
5. The Directors are Questionable
Yes, I said it. There are plenty of well respected ICO directors out there but there are also plenty of scam artists. Whilst it is not our responsibility to vet each one individually, run background checks and have them verified, a little research goes a long way. If you are approached by an ICO looking to launch a new blockchain project, why not check out their background.
And while you’re at it, check out the advisors too. Does the director come from a tech or financial services background? What did they study? Do they have any recommendations or endorsements? Run a quick Google search and see what they’ve been up to for the past few years. I did this once and discovered a recent criminal record.
TIP- A legitimate ICO director who wants to work with you will be forthcoming about his/her background and will be happy to share details with you.
Remember that each ICO you help to launch, reflects your work. Aim to launch projects that you know will make you feel proud and that you can then show to prospective clients. Choose projects with credible leaders and viable Tokenomics. A little due diligence at the beginning can really pay off in the end.
Contentworks is fast becoming a go-to content marketing agency for the finance, ICO and blockchain spaces. To learn more about our successes and how we can help your brand please visit www.contentworks.agency
Disclaimer: The content of this article is sponsored and does not represent the opinions of Finance Magnates.