What Do You Need to Know about The White Paper for your Startup?

A white paper (whitepaper) is an informational document, usually issued by a company or startup, to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product, or service. White papers are often written as sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about or purchase a particular product, service, technology or methodology.

Why do you need one?

This document can be extremely influential as a marketing tool to investors/potential buyers of your product / service. White papers by their very nature are extremely detailed and can go into great depth that an ad or a blog post might not be able to achieve. On top of that, snippets of the white paper can be used as a great marketing source, you can create more articles from a great in depth white paper and so can be recycled into a marketing strategy.

It gives your business an authority in your industry. It is very simple, if your business knows what it is doing / talking about, the more likely customers will trust you and purchase your product / service. If the whitepaper is properly written, the ICO project can gain a lot of participants and contributors.

Not all white papers are the same, far from it in fact! However it’s useful to categorize them so you can understand the main types that companies produce. 

Backgrounders – these provide lots of technical details on the benefits of a company’s product, service, or overall approach to something

Summaries – these provide a data rich summary on an industry, sector or niche

Problem-Solution – these unpack a problem within an industry then provide a new solution to it (which is usually related to the company’s product or service)   

The type of white paper you produce will depend on the stage your startup is at, as well as what you’re trying to achieve with it. 

Choosing the right topic is essential to having your white paper read. There are three major factors:

1. Audience

The audience may be long-time customers familiar with the industry or new prospective buyers who are entirely new to the field.

2. Expertise

The document should provide a complete investigation including external research and internal knowledge. The business’s own know-how informs the content that is included and how it is compiled.

3. Problem-Based and Solution-Focused

White papers should identify and address a particular problem. The problem should be relevant and timely in your field. The document may focus on issues such as common dilemmas, new trends, changing techniques, industry comparison, etc.

Don’t know where to start?

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As a white paper is formal and academic in tone, the structure needs to reflect this.

So this is roughly how you should lay it out:

Company Information

When was the company established? What does it do? How long has the company been in operation? Does it have any products? Where is the company located? How can the company prove that their product is not a scam?

The Product

What kind of product is the company planning to launch? Is there a proper description of the product? How long will the product development take? What’s your personal take on it? Is it safe and secure? Has the product been launched? If not, why not?


Who is working in the company on this product? Is the team capable of doing an ICO? Do the team members have some verifiable profiles on LinkedIn or some other social media channel? Does the company have proper blockchain advisors?

Target Users

What are the target users of the product? Why? What benefits does the product deliver to the target users?

Problem vs. Solution

What problem is the company planning to solve? How many people are dealing with it? Is their solution a unique, workable solution?

Competition in the market

Is there any competition in the market? How does the company plan to differ from the competition?

Token Value

What value does the token has? Can it be traded for something? What will the company do to increase the value to the token? What rights does ownership of the token give to the holder? How does the token differ from the other tokens?

Token Distribution

Is it explained how the token distribution will be accomplished? Are the tokens for the team properly distributed?


Can the roadmap be achieved in the specified timeline? Are the dates in the roadmap realistic?

Use of funds

How will the funds from the ICO be used? Are all parties included in the allocation of the funds?

Terms and conditions

What are the terms and conditions of the company?

Diagrams and statistics

Are the diagrams and statistics real? What sources did the company used for them?


Here you summarize the main points covered within the white paper and make recommendations relevant to your findings.


Cite the sources that you’ve used while researching and writing your white paper.

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Whitepaper is the central document of the ICO. It should clearly and briefly convey to potential investors the essence of the concept, its technical aspects, and the perspectives for investing in it. This document should receive special attention, since most investors decide to invest in the project based on its analysis.

For investors, there is no more important information than the issuer’s financial statements. However, there is no such reporting for startups going to the ICO. ICOs tend to serve a slightly different purpose in comparing to traditional primary offers (IPOs). ICO is raising funds to solve technological problems.

Being able to analyze balances, cash flows, and income statements, investors could assess the company’s performance, make sound assumptions about its future effectiveness and profitability and assess the value of the company’s securities

Remember, this approach generates qualified leads, while establishing thought leadership and building brand awareness in a competitive field. 

Good luck!