If you’re in blockchain, you may have heard of IEOs — Initial Exchange Offerings.
Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs, have slowed, but IEOs have taken the baton.
Compared to the ICO model, an IEO works directly with exchanges, raising money from the public and listing the project’s token on the exchange shortly thereafter. In 2019, over $1.5B was raised through IEOs, conducted on exchanges worldwide, including as Binance, OKEx, Huobi, and Kucoin.
But not all IEOs are successful — at CertiK, we’ve analyzed what the most successful IEOs had in common. We’re the leader in blockchain security and have compiled our learnings from several IEOs that we’ve audited, including Celer Network (Binance), Fetch.AI (Binance), TOP Network (Huobi), LEO (Bitfinex), BlockCloud (OKEx), and MultiVAC (Kucoin). Below are 5 patterns that we’ve seen in successful IEOs.
1. Have a Detailed Whitepaper
Every project begins with a whitepaper. Whitepapers are the detailed documents used to describe and explain the project for prospective investors or stakeholders. As an important component of any blockchain project, whitepapers hold incredible value for an IEO launch.
Your whitepaper should be both the outline for your project as well as its guiding star: it should explain what you’re building,where you’re going, and why you’re special.
Sections of your whitepaper should include descriptions about the market, product, tokens metrics, fundraising, and roadmap. Every whitepaper is different — the original Bitcoin whitepaper is only nine pages!
However you write it: be clear, serious, and prepared.
2. Create a Prototype or a Viable Product
As with anything: show, not tell.
There are always dreamers who bite off more than they can chew — not to mention outright malicious scammers. If you want the trust of the community, your easiest way is to show your prototype or product to prove your concept is real.
The key point is that you should have proof. Ideas are great — it’s where every project starts. But if that’s where your project ends, the enthusiasm may not carry over.
3. Choose the Right Security Auditor
As with all software, success starts with the source code.
Every code auditor is different, and some auditors have stronger reputations than others. At CertiK, we pride ourselves in conducting rigorous source code audits and pioneering the use of Formal Verification to mathematically prove immunity against some of the most critical vulnerabilities. Using technology developed at Yale University, our audits contain fully-transparent, machine-checkable proofs that allow anybody to verify the security themselves.
By completing an audit with CertiK, you’re proving that your project has received one of the most thorough audits. CertiK is the only smart contract auditor with official partnerships with Binance, Huobi, OKEx, Kucoin, Bittrex, Gate.io, and more. And even better, most audits are fully completed within days, allowing a quick turnaround that won’t get in the way of your IEO date.
Security is fundamental to any project: without it, you can’t be truly confident in your project — and neither can your investors.
4. Build a Reputable Team
Every successful IEO project has a motivated and driven team behind it. Building a strong, experienced, and ambitious team is pivotal.
Your team is your main competitive advantage — look for people who have a track record of success and comfortability with the unknown, especially in blockchain.
For early stage companies, attracting top talent may be difficult. In that case, consider creating a network of experienced advisors who can help you fill in your gaps.
5. Get a Referral to Stand Out to the Best Crypto Exchanges
Just like auditors, all exchanges are different — weigh the pros and cons carefully.
Do you have a particular audience you’re trying to reach? Is your IEO time-sensitive? Is there a waitlist at your top choice exchange?
The first thing to keep in mind is that there’s a lot of demand at some of the most sought-after exchanges. With hundreds of eager projects and only a handful of IEO spots per month, you’re going to want to stand out to increase your chances to get accepted.
Each exchange also has its own metrics that it’s looking for — some care about roadmap progress and others care about the size of your supporter base. You should figure out what your targeted exchanges are looking for and optimize for those metrics months in advance.
An effective way to stand out is to get a referral from reputable partners. If a trusted party is willing to vouch for you, then the exchanges know that you’re serious. At CertiK, we value our partnerships with all the major exchanges, and we’ve made successful introductions in the past. Our exchange partners chose use to be their recommended audit providers, and a CertiK audit report is accepted across all partnered exchanges.
While these five patterns stood out in successful IEOs, there are many additional steps a project can take to maximize success. Launching an IEO is a difficult process, but luckily, you can find partners that can help you succeed in the process!