In theory, crypto white papers are staid, scientific documents intended to describe a complex, precise method for creating unique blockchain products.
In practice, however, white papers are frequently a marketing play intended to help crypto startups generate earned media. Even so, they are still very much in demand — in certain situations.
To find out which types of white papers resonate with potential supporters and investors, I asked a number of crypto creators: What does an effective white paper look like in 2022, and is it still a hard requirement?
Do you need a white paper?
The short answer is “yes,” but a number of changes in the industry are reshaping the way participants and investors look at white papers. Traditional scientific white papers are falling by the wayside, replaced by documents that read more like a well-designed financial prospectus.
A great white paper needs to show that the project has transparency. Kolapo Akande, founder of Pledge Utility Coin
We’ve seen a number of white papers in the form of PowerPoint-style decks or even videos. Regardless of format, to achieve the main goal of defining what kind of product you are building, this document will require input from a wide variety of stakeholders.
For tokenized securities, for example, white paper authors must work with a legal team to ensure that they are accurately describing a project’s parameters and regulatory compliance. If it’s a fintech product that doesn’t hold client crypto or fiat currency, they can afford to be slightly less regimented. That said, in some cases, a white paper will be an integral part of startup strategy.
“Many financial parents or exchanges are not licensed to offer securities, which is why they would look at the white paper or token-issuing memorandum during their due diligence,” said Yana Afanasieva, CEO and founder of Competitive Compliance.