Once you’ve decided that your ICO will be organically integrated into the business model of your product, you should find an accomplished ICO team with talented blockchain developers who are able to elaborate project implementation and further development. They should also supply post-ICO support.
Ask yourself what makes your ICO team really qualified and valuable for the project first. This is a significant piece of work — much more than researching team members’ social media accounts. Here are some pointers on what to look for.
Quantitative Market Overview
There were more than 1,500 ICOs in existence as of February 2018. The total value of all cryptocurrency market capital is approximately $320 billion, and will hit the $1 trillion mark in 2018.
Let’s go further by providing a few insights, with a breakdown of the capital raised. According to the recent joint FabricVentures x TokenData report:
- $5.6B were raised in token sales in 2017, compared to $240M in 2016; that’s 435 projects and startups.
- More than 900 token sales were planned and active at some point in time in 2017. This gap is due to the fact that 131 projects didn’t manage to meet a minimum threshold, and 347 sales did not report the end result of their token sales. TokenData was unable to gather information from at least two independent sources, and token sale websites simply disappeared.
- Capital raised: $12.7M.
- Increasing amount throughout 2017.
- 52% of token sales reported failing to reach their target, or just disappeared.
- Overall, tokens have still outperformed ETH/BTC, and this is mostly due to a handful of big out-performers.
- The 10 largest token sales raised 25% of all capital. This is supported by a closer look at the top 10 completed token sales of 2017. Together, the 10 largest sales raised approximately $1.4B, about 25% of the total capital raised during the year.
- Europe is actually ahead of the U.S. in terms of funding.
- Highly distributed teams — around 70% — of projects have founders in multiple countries.
Where to Find an ICO Team?
Look in the right places! First, explore the top ICO listing sites, track projects, and find out which blockchain development companies stand behind them. They may be a good fit for your project. There are multiple platforms (Bitcoin Forum, ICO Drops, ICO Rating, CryptoCompare, ICO Tracker, ICO Ranker, ICO Bench, Coinschedule, Ambisafe, Token Market, ICO Now, List ICO, etc.) that provide examples of the most trending ICOs currently running. Select the most informative and trustworthy for you.
Second, make use of global freelancing platforms. Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is a marketplace of more than 12 million registered businesses and independent professionals. Upwork allows you to conduct interviews, employ, and cooperate with freelancers and agencies. The platform offers a time-tracking application, and takes screenshots while the person is working. It also provides an online chat feature to save time spent sourcing and hiring. Read the references, and hire the right blockchain developer.
The site also provides reviews in which freelancers are rated by their previous employers:
Upwork, along with Fiverr, is the largest freelancer marketplace where you can find top talent.
Third, take advantage of a Google search and explore new company names.
Blockchain applications in development require a team with a specialized set of skills. Don’t just rely on the description of a team on their website. The company has to be diligent, well-managed, and flexible. Those are the skills of a good executive. Check out management first. A good way to validate leaders is to check their personal achievements. Is this their first practical experience in the field? Have they run businesses in the past? Remember, a team with a great leader is destined to win.
Who else requires extra attention? Let’s have a closer look at the other team members.
Main Roles that are Essential to Every Project
- Solidity developers. There should be two or more of them. First, developing an ICO is a time-consuming project. Second, a single technical specialist is inequitable, providing only one approach with no alternatives. A piece of code reflects the attitude of the developer. Third, writing code is a huge responsibility, and another technical member provides code review. Crypto projects tend to have open-source code. If you are experienced in programming, have a look at the commit logs in the GitHub code repository.
- Tester/quality control engineer/quality assurance engineer. This position plays an important role in developing and executing tests to ensure product quality.
- Designer. Being a part of the core team makes the designer highly involved in the process, and provides a deeper understanding of the product.
- Community specialist. Responsibilities include content creation, SMM, events and event planning, PR, customer relations, communication/marketing strategy, analytics, and even business development. An effective community manager acts as a bridge between product and investors. He/she communicates the project’s goal to the audience. Success depends upon how active the channels of communication are.
Now look closely at the team. Are they experts in their sphere? Don’t hesitate to check their social media profiles and find confirmation of necessary qualification. The crucial thing for a business looking for blockchain developers is that they hire someone with a background that fits in with their company spirit and objectives. The wrong kind of team can end up with an ineffective working relationship.
DADI is an example of how the bad decision of hiring an unskilled freelancer to write the white paper ruined the whole project, probably leading to the failure of the ICO. Red flags are all over the content:
There may be other team members in the capacity of sales manager, project coordinator, etc., but the key positions are listed above.
Along with the core team, the project’s advisory board provides strategic advice and offers assistance outside the company. Thus, companies benefit from their knowledge, and remain flexible in structure. The advisory board is an external, informal group, distinct from the core team. Looking thoroughly at the list of advisors, you should define their relationship with the project. Make their roles clear. Are they just supporting the project by believing in its success, or are they strongly involved in the process? Normally, they should share insights on the project, announcements, and updates, demonstrating their constant attention to the ICO project. Their contributions to social media shape the opinion of the public. Advisors with a good track record in the cryptocurrency world will add value to the project.
The total cost of launching a successful ICO project varies. Budget depends upon the components of the project, the level of professionalism on the part of the developers, and the amount of the planned investments:
- $50-100k – technological aspects
- $50-100k – legal aspects
- $100-300k – marketing service
- $100k – miscellaneous
When examining costs spent on technological aspects, you should consider location, as well. Outsourcing is a good option for developing an ICO project, allowing you to focus on improving your product. Blockchain engineers rank among the fastest-growing skills, second only to robotics specialists. They advertise their services starting at $100 per hour, according to Upwork. This rate differs from country to country, depending upon standard of living, etc., and may go as high as $150 per hour in high-tech areas (e.g., Silicon Valley).
Manage your resources wisely. It is worth investing in highly-qualified staff. Remember, a really valuable project will receive more feedback than those that are not well thought out.
Important warning before you start: the legal aspects of running an ICO may vary from country to country. When starting a token crowdsale, make your own research comply with all relevant legal regulations, or hire an attorney.
Evaluating your team before launching your own ICO is an important step that will increase the overall chances of success for the entire ICO campaign. Approaching this process with care, you’ll protect the reputation of your product and good relationships with investors. Expect your team to be backed up with knowledge in programming and good communication skills. As future partners, they must take care of their reputation in the crypto industry.
To sum up, assure yourself that each member (without exception) has enough experience to cover all the project’s needs on his or her side.
Team leaders who’ve run businesses before, cryptocurrency developers with active professional accounts, and community experts with significant portfolios are the ones you should hire.
Involving external advisors brings social approval to the project, and makes its value grow.
If the team has been previously involved in this type of activity, its chances for success grow tenfold.
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