For many crypto projects today, crypto whitepapers are considered by many to be the most important part of the release. Paper is the only real requirement even before a website is launched.
“Whitepaper” is a term that enterprising people will encounter at some point in their careers. Whether serious or meme-based, the whitepaper has become a milestone in the cryptocurrency industry.
Even retail investors have got used to reading whitepapers before investing in any cryptocurrency project.
But what is a whitepaper? This article answers that question before covering how to write a whitepaper.
What is a Whitepaper?
Whitepapers have been around for over 100 years and are a creation of the UK Government. These documents informed the public about important decisions made by certain government agencies.
Today the whitepaper is a marketing tool to convince and influence decision-makers. So why is it called a whitepaper? It’s a British government designation. The color “white” indicates that the document is publicly accessible.
Since then, this traditionally scholarly article has ventured out into the open. Once the paper made the push into commercial use, its purpose was to be read by every potential customer.
These papers are not flashy presentations, nor are they very marketable. Instead, the whitepaper is presented as a “serious” document similar to a scientific paper.
So what is the purpose of a whitepaper? The original purpose of the newspaper was education. Today, these newspapers inform people about the products and services of the project.
Because whitepapers are often published on websites, they are considered a form of inbound marketing. In business-to-business (B2B) marketing, whitepapers are used for a variety of purposes.
Organizations use whitepapers to achieve various goals such as nurturing thought leaders and growing an email list. Whitepapers are also used to establish brand legitimacy and convert potential customers.
These documents are still created by government agencies. Nevertheless, the whitepaper has a variety of use cases in both the public and private sectors.
What to take note of before you write the Whitepaper
Many people are looking for a whitepaper template, but templates are not needed. Templates are generally more guidelines.
As long as an author understands the structure of a whitepaper and how all the sections work together, the paper should sell the project in question to the target audience.
The article doesn’t have to be very long, but it shouldn’t be written as a blog post. Blog posts are usually shorter.
But even longer ones can have different goals than a whitepaper. For example, whitepaper goals include nurturing an audience or encouraging active registrations for a webinar.
These actions do not cost the public any money, so the purpose of writing, and therefore the way of writing, differs significantly. On the other hand, a cryptocurrency audience reading a newspaper needs to be persuaded to buy one of the many digital currencies to support the project.
Before writing a word or even doing any research, the copywriter needs to identify the target audience.
In this way, the author can quickly determine the language he should use in the article, as well as the psyche of his audience. This approach should also help in the direction of research.
Research is the cornerstone of a great whitepaper. The research includes delving into the project team, the technical aspects of the product or service being offered, and why it’s the best solution to an age-old problem.
And since readers’ focus is on cryptographic whitepapers, there’s no room for error when it comes to writing about the technical details.
Key Contents Of A Whitepaper
- Project Outline
- Overview of the team
- Information regarding token release and marketplace considerations
- Project roadmap
What should a Whitepaper contain?
According to Writing Whitepapers author Michael Stelzner, the whitepaper should begin with a problem or challenge the reader is facing. It’s the easiest way to grab your audience’s attention and solve the challenge they are facing.
Once they continue reading, the goal is to present statistics, charts, and facts to help clarify the main points of the article. Finally, the work presents the solution, which is the service or product offered by the project team. If the author did quality work, then the solution fits the problem perfectly.
Once the solution is convincingly presented, the next step is to show it to the team. This section is designed to convince the reader—without resorting to sales jargon—that the team is capable of delivering on the promises of the project (ie, the solution).
The team area can contain real photos, short bios, and links to LinkedIn and Twitter profiles. The team sometimes includes NFTs as profile pictures, although that may not be the best approach to gaining trust. These confidence signals invite the reader to investigate further while showing that the team has nothing to hide.
In addition, the document may contain information on token launches and market considerations. This should include details about crypto tokens such as their value, the number of tokens in circulation, and the platform on which they are issued.
Another important element is how you plan to allow investors to redeem their tokens and information on what will happen if your fundraising method (e.g. Initial Coin Offering or ICO) falls short of your financial goals (Investor). The terms and conditions, or a link to your website where they can find them, should also be included in this part.
Finally, the article can be concluded with a roadmap. The roadmap is usually broken down into quarterly goals. These goals help readers relate what they read earlier in this article to the solutions that the project will provide, particularly the issues that will be addressed.
By breaking the script in this way, the article helps the target audience to conceive the project in a more tangible way. Once the project has started, readers and investors can use the roadmap to track whether the team is achieving its stated goals.
On the other hand, the roadmap helps to keep the team accountable. Do they meet their stated goals? Because the team knows the audience is watching, missing a goal can damage the project’s reputation.
Whitepaper formatting and design
When the whitepaper is finished, formatting should be a priority. Many of these articles neglect legibility, making them unreadable.
As mainstream adoption of crypto takes place, it’s also important to consider newcomers in the audience. People who are new to cryptography will not be familiar with many of the terms that are ubiquitous in the cryptographic lexicon. It’s always best not to assume that your audience understands cryptographic terms and concepts when you’re writing for them.
Another aspect of formatting is spaces. Some whitepapers are difficult to read because the lack of white space overwhelms the reader. (Read more about white spaces in this article.)
Authors should ensure that there is sufficient padding on all sides. It is important to pay special attention to the spacing between paragraphs and other elements. Other elements may include graphics, illustrations, and other visual aids to help highlight important points.
By giving the reader enough white space, the paper helps them “breathe” as they pause and pause before moving on to the next section. It may seem counterintuitive, but these pauses allow readers to digest the information and read to the end.
Design decisions should also not be left to the whims of the team. An exceptional, well-written article can independently sell a project as long as the tokenomics are solid. Nevertheless, this role would also be well fulfilled if its owners would not neglect its design.
Graphic designers can help with the formatting issues described above. However, designers leave their mark by ensuring that all visual design elements align with the brand’s message and identity. This ensures a smooth customer experience for your target audience.
On the other hand, choosing to ignore the design can result in a shocking experience. Readers may even have trouble remembering which company or brand published the article.
A smooth customer experience is why design decisions should be left to an experienced designer. Such a designer understands the identity of the project, its target audience and the main goals. Additionally, the designer can work with the copywriter to verify that all elements are coherent and make sense.
When content and image complement each other, they increase their qualities and thus ensure a holistic experience.
Some famous whitepaper examples for inspiration
This section looks at two of the most cited cryptographic whitepaper examples: the Bitcoin whitepaper and the Ethereum whitepaper.
The Bitcoin whitepaper is not a “whitepaper” in the traditional sense, and that is a misnomer. What anonymous author Satoshi Nakamoto wrote is an academic article. You can read the original article here.
In contrast, the Ethereum whitepaper is more of a whitepaper. Ethereum Paper deviates from the traditional study format. It is treated more like a living document that is edited and improved over time with additions.
Because of this, the Ethereum document has moved from a whitepaper to a reference guide or technical documentation for users. Ethereum’s whitepaper (spelled as “whitepaper” in this case) is available in full here.
How to get a whitepaper without writing one
If a business owner doesn’t have the time or skills to write a whitepaper, they can always hire a writer. Many business journalists specialize in writing on a whitepaper. There is no shortage of excellent whitepaper writers available for hire.
It is also an additional consideration for anyone working in the cryptocurrency industry. Some engineers and programmers find it difficult to write in a way that their audience can understand.
Whitepaper writers can cost a lot more than freelancers found on platforms like Fiverr and Upwork. Nevertheless, the investment is necessary and prudent. A great article will make the work of a project team much easier.
In particular – and above all – a compelling whitepaper makes it easy to generate buzz. Generating buzz makes fundraising easier regardless of the launch model chosen by the cryptocurrency project.
A project may opt for an initial public offering (ISO) or even a more traditional, more finances-friendly approach such as an initial public offering (IPO) or venture capital funding. It does not matter. A whitepaper will serve all serious projects well.