If there were an ICO for life lessons, then sure, we’d all have Lambos.
2018 was not a great year for investment portfolios, but it did provide some much-needed wisdom to cryptocurrency newcomers, not to mention new cryptopreneurs. While the New Year is usually a time for self-reflection and improvement, it’s also an occasion to share some of your hard-earned wisdom and advice—especially with people who didn’t ask for it.
While we don’t presume to tell other people what resolutions they should have for the New Year, we do have some observations that can help would-be crypto entrepreneurs avoid the mistakes of their predecessors.
Leave Marketing To The Professionals
There’s much to be said for running your startup on a shoestring budget, but public relations is one area where you don’t want to pinch pennies –especially if your company has a valuation in the billions. The past year has seen a lot of ICO companies managing their public relations on the cheap, making key announcements on Twitter or Medium.
— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) October 12, 2018
The problem? Besides limiting your press releases to 280 characters or less, posting your news to Twitter effectively turns your communications strategy into a game of Telephone, with followers left guessing if they can trust your hype. It’s one thing to use social media to warm up the crowd, but Public Relations is one industry that you can’t DIY.
Justin Sun undid a lot of good work with that one tweet.
Listen To Your Lawyer
In the past month, Basis, a hundred-million dollar project backed by the top names in venture capital, folded its hand before the flop. It’s a sign that the game is getting harder to win; even the best-funded players are quitting before they even see the cards.
But Basis’ investors are coming out ahead of the dozens of ICO startups which are now paying the piper, after learning that their token sales–through which they solicited investments– do, in fact, have to follow investment law. If more token startups had followed the wise examples set by Basis–or Munchee— they might have spared their investors quite a bit of misery.
But there’s one positive aspect to pursuing a wishful-thinking legal strategy. If you make a mess, at least it keeps the Janitors employed.
Get To Know Your Colleagues
If there’s one thing that needs to stay in 2018, it’s doing serious business behind a shadowy pseudonym. “FluffyPony” might not be the most dignified nom de code, but at least there is a real name and face behind it.
Over the past year, the worst projects could be identified pretty readily by the amount of mystique around their leaders, from Justin Vendetta/Sunerok to Synth to Bruno Block.
Having a fake name doesn’t make you a superhero; it just makes you look like a kid in a cape.
There’s one notable exception, although it rather proves the rule: Bitcoin is the most successful cryptocurrency, despite (or perhaps because) of the founder’s anonymity. But the lack of clear leadership did not prevent the Australian Pretender from trying to claim the throne, or from (nearly) sinking the whole ship.
Cryptocurrency sits at the crossroads of technology, finance, law, security, and any of the hundreds of industries targeted by blockchain firms. It’s not a cinch. It’s not even close to being easy to create a company in this space that can navigate the waters.
But applying basic professional standards to your business will help. Get a PR firm. Get a lawyer. Get an HR department and do a few background checks.
If you’re bootstrapping your biz, you don’t get a free pass – just a little understanding. If you raised millions in an ICO? Stop being such a cheapskate, and do the job properly.
Because sometimes the world needs Clark Kent.
The author is invested in digital assets, including Bitcoin, which is mentioned in this article.