After the runaway success of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, many new companies are taking advantage of ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings) as a way to quickly raise funding from investors. This course of action is  not without its challenges however, since the choice of ICO platform is absolutely critical. The market is still seen as extremely volatile and not all actors are trustworthy, or able to deliver on their promises. Some are not in it for the long haul, but seems to mostly want to earn money while delivering the bare minimum for their clients. Others are more serious and will streamline the entire ICO process for their clients, meaning they are free to put all their focus on core activities. Let’s examine more closely how to pick an ICO platform.

The importance of full stack service

Many platforms do not provide the full stack of ICO services. This means a company wanting to launch an ICO would need to also use different third parties to cover areas such as marketing, banking solutions, tax and legal services. The more parties you involve, the more expensive and complex it becomes to coordinate all the moving parts. Optimally you want ICO Hosting that covers all services needed. A truly great platform can provide the following things:

Marketing

ICO Marketing comprises of listings on ICO trackers and rating sites, managing your Bitcoin Talk and Reddit threads via coordinated actions by highly respected community members to ensure a positive sentiment about the project, PPC and paid social media activities, as well a the creation of infographic videos and ads. ICOMalta also offers its clients the possibility of being featured on US technology and investment TV shows. The amount raised by your ICO will be directly correlated to the exposure you give it. If no one knows about your ICO, it will never attract investors. This is why an ICO platform with a robust marketing team is essential.

Legal

Many newcomers to the ICO model underestimate the legal challenges facing exposure. Some ICO platforms provide legal services. This often includes a review of the token model and delivering a full set of legal documentation (SAFT, T&Cs, Privacy Policy etc.). A thoughra ICO legal review will extend to your whitepaper, reviewing your token mechanism as well as your marketing messaging to ensure that your token isn’t in effect a security disguised as a utility, and does not expose you legally. Hiring a third party to cover the  legal services for ICOs, is generally much more expensive and raises the possibility of your work being carried out by lawyers inexperienced in the firm.

ICO Banking

Having a robust ICO banking solution in place before you start to raise funding is extremely important. Many of ICOMalta’s clients approach us after their raise when they realise that setting up their banking is extremely challenging after their raise, particularly in regards to source of funds and KYC/AML declarations. A serious ICO Platform will establish your banking relationship prior to your ICO with banks located within the EU.

Technical ICO Services

The undersupply of blockchain developers has forced many ICO hosting platforms to outsource their smart contract, token creation and multi-sig wallet development to freelancers or third parties who may not be formally certified by a recognised blockchain development academy. Freelancers are seldom sufficiently experienced, whilst resulting in  higher costs as margins are stacked along the supply line and blurred lines of operational responsibility should something go wrong. It is imperative that your selected ICO Platform employs an in-house team of developers to ensure smooth operation of your token sale.

Operational Security

A good ICO platform will offer robust op-sec protocols and be able to train your team in the optimal security measures to protect both your and your investor’s funds. Any respectable ICO platform should be cutting-edge in areas such as encryption and online security.

Technical support.

Sometimes there will be technical difficulties (we ascribe to the mentality of ‘hope for the best, prepare for the worst). Issues generally revolve around macro blockchain factors (such as network congestion), what differs between ICO platforms is how prepared they are at handling them. Having professional technical support on call 24/7 is a crucial, yet often overlooked necessity in this 24/7 market.

To conclude the post ICO activities should not be forgotten in the selection process. It’s easy to go for the cheapest, fastest solution. Just like in other business, that’s rarely the best solution. Instead your company should look at the full picture. ICO hosting should be viewed as a partnership, where trust, experience and a full service offer should be prioritized.

Outsourcing and involving third parties tend to be bad for many reasons. The primary of which is cost effectiveness. When you get all services needed at the same place, it saves time and money. Also you avoid nightmare scenarios such as having to hire an expensive firm at short notice, just to cover some legal or tax missed issue. The more actors involved, the slower the development will be. Finally security is jeopardized the more parties that are involved, as each new participant in a project adds an additional attack vector.

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