Building links and SEO for your ICO

SEO ICOOften overlooked by people doing ICO’s is the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) and creating a reputation in the online world through links and SEO.

The benefits of free traffic to your website through organic search cannot be undervalued. As a online marketing professional  with more than a decade of experience I can honestly say that the purest form of traffic is organic search traffic. This online visitor has found your site through a search query and is interested in your material, has intent and was effectively “free” to acquire.

The reason we use “free” is that nothing is truly free, you need to put a lot of work into getting your website ranked highly on search engines.

Lets go into what it takes and how to do it:

  1. Create interesting rich written content and add relevant pictures that describe this content
  2. Make sure that the technical aspects of the content are correct, H1 tags, meta tags, url’s etc. (see more information by searching for “onsite SEO techniques”).
  3. Create links to this content on social media (Facebook, twitter, linkedin, youtube, Instagram, WeChat etc.)
  4. Write blog posts for other platforms and get yourself linked back
  5. Create pages in crypto currency forums for your ICO and link to your pages
  6. List ICO on upcoming ICO link pages

Rinse and repeat and create valuable content that readers want to share with friends and colleagues. Be patient and wait for Google and other search engines to reward you.

Singapore ICO Community


The Singapore ICO community is one of the most vibrant and interesting parts of the ico world atm.

For example Vitalik Buterin (founder of Ethereum) has made his base in Singapore. Previously he was in the other ICO powerhouse of Zug Switzerland.

As an economy Singapore is a hub of international travel, people can setup companies easily, there are many skilled staff, a community of minded individuals in the crypto currency space and a safe pleasant lifestyle in one of the worlds most developed cities.

The Singapore government is very progressive around fintech and has actively tried to foster innovation in this space. MAS chief Ravi Menon has also said that it will not regulated crypto currencies at this point in time.

They did warn about ICO that promises a dividend or economic benefits then it could be considered a security and would fall under Singapores Securities and Futures Act. If a token was considered to be a security this would limit their trading ability and also subject the tokens to more scrutiny. This is similar to the US securities and utilities arguments that we wrote about before.

Singapore has many tech events and gatherings and is a great place to meet people who are interested in this market and also build up your broker and high net worth connections that you may need for your PreICO round.

Some notable ICO’s in the past out of Singapore are which raised around $80m in their ICO.

In general Singapore based teams raise lower amounts for their ICO’s. This market is however vibrant and has many events every week to find people in an offline world which can make all the difference in helping you make friends.


Japan Crypto Currency markets

Japan crypto market places

On the 29 September 2017 Japan Financial Services Authority gave licenses to 11 companies to run cryptocurrency exchanges.

The exchanges that go the licenses are:

This is making many people question whether or not Japan will be the next ICO boom market.

Currently the licenses allow these markets to trade the following digital currencies:

BCH – Bitcoin Cash
BCY – Bitcrystal
BTC – Bitcoin
CICC – Caica Coin
ETC – Classic Ether
ETH – Ether
FSCC – Fisco Coin
LTC – Litecoin
MONA – Monacoin
PEPECASH – Pepe Cash
SJCX – Storjcoin X
XCP – Counterparty
XEM – Nem
XRP – Ripple
ZAIF – Zaif
ZEN – ZenCash

Not every exchange can trade in all the currencies, however this is a very interesting and positive step for the Japanese crypto currency market places.




Hiring ICO Lawyers

When should you hire a lawyer for your ICO? Obviously a lawyer will say that you should do this right away and put down your retainer.

ico lawyers

The truth is that what you need to do is read up about token sales and the legal implications around the difference between a security and a utility token.

The main function around your lawyer is helping you with structuring of your legal entities and ensuring you are using the correct legal entities in the proper jurisdictions.

You will also need to make sure all your marketing material, white paper, legal contracts and preico sale contracts are also inline with the legal jurisdiction etc. are going to be good enough to keep you out of trouble.

In terms of cost of appointing lawyers there is usually an upfront cost and a project fee based on a fee plus tokens for doing your ICO successfully. Even if you do negotiate a deal with a lawyers for only payment in tokens there is still costs around setting up structures and entities which has real costs to external entities.

With this in mind make sure you have enough funding for the legal structures and resources to do your legal work and don’t rely purely on your tokens as a way to get through to your ICO.

ICO Video Influencers KOL

ico video review

Getting influencers to promote your ICO is a valuable and important channel.

Some of the channels you can look at for video productions and placements are:

DataDash (Youtube)
Boxmining (Youtube)
Cryptocurrency (FB) (Youtube) (Youtube)

It is important to note that you probably won’t be able to influence the content that is published on these channels so you need to be careful to make sure that their content and ideas align with your ICO.

That your messages to them are thought through and have relevance and ultimately there maybe cost involved in having them review your ICO.

How to build your Crypto Currency network

ICO Friends

One of the most overlooked aspects of an ICO is the community around this event.

You may have a great reputation in the traditional business world but you still need to network and become part of the crypto currency community if you want to run a successful ICO.

There are a couple of different worlds inside the crypto currency community. These broadly are the physical worlds and the virtual worlds. In order to build your status in the virtual crypto currency world you need to develop your presence  there. See the article on where to build your ICO community for more info.

There is a another community mainly around the brokers and ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWI) that you also need to become part of and for this check out our report on how to do PreICO sales.

There are also many events that are happening at different scale around the world and if you are really serious you may be well off going to offline events to meet people in person.

The main thing you need to figure out is how you are going to give to the community first and then align yourself with like minded individuals that will help you achieve your own personal ambitions with your project/service.

The other overlooked thing here is time and relationships with people that need to be formed before they commit their time and reputations to help you.


What tokens to accept as part of your ICO

In the beginning of the ICO craze there was some uncertainty over which tokens to accept as part of the sale. It turns out that while it is possible to accept many different crypto currencies the easiest one to use is Ethereum (ETH).

The reason for this is because the ETH has programmable contracts for doing an ICO. This allows users to send ETH to the contract and automatically be given tokens for their purchase.

The problem with this is that there is no KYC (Know your client) restrictions and therefore governments don’t like this kind of thing. The way around this is through doing a whitelisted ETH account setup that will allow only wallets that have been approved to be automatically issued tokens and the deposits made from unauthorised wallets automatically returned.

This is the perfect setup and obviously if you accept multiple digital currencies this is very hard to manage. Hence the reason for limiting the token offerings to only accept ETH.

The other reason for doing only ETH vs multiple currencies is the fluctuations around the value of your token in different digital currencies. Imagine that if you had Bitcoins (BTC) and ETH being accepted. How are you going to set the token sale price when the BTC and ETH prices fluctuate all the time.

You could set the price of the tokens in only ETH and then accept the BTC but issuing the tokens automatically is hard as you need to keep the BTC vs ETH flat or have a dynamic pricing done automatically through an exchange.

This becomes very complicated and therefore its a lot cleaner and simpler to just do the ICO in ETH.



Importance of ICO Video’s and how to develop them

ICO videoContent around your ICO is really important and having video allows you to interact with video sites, social media and your website.

There are a number of different factors in videos. Video length, video quality and video content. These factors influence cost and the channels you want to push the content into.

Video’s can be created in 3 ways:

  • Professional content

Creating professional content around your ICO makes your presentation more professional. This costs more money as you would use a video production company/professional and looks impressive to the general public. However this video might not resonate as much with the crypto currency community, where authenticity and frequency matter.

  • Social Media video

Creating streaming content on a platform like Facebook can be cheap/free, authentic and a good way to create QA content or ICO update announcements. The team has to be comfortable with being open, unpolished and ready to make mistakes. This however can be a good way to connect with the community and make regular content.

  • Presentations video

An often overlooked video creation is to create videos with your ICO decks. These can be a good way to pitch to the community and add more content for your public to view. There are also other channels for this content such as (part of Linkedin).

Videos can be reposted into your social media channels and be a good way to interact with the community you should be developing.

Utility tokens vs security tokens

One of the biggest issues around ICO’s is that of a utility token vs a security token.

First lets go into what makes a token a security or a utility token.

The main test you should consider is the Howey test, which is used in the USA to determine if a instrument is a security or not.

The Howey test ask’s 4 main questions:

  • Is the token an investment of money?

This is why ICO’s only accept digital currency

  • There is an expectation of profits from the investment?

This is why in the fine print of properly run ICO’s the purchase of tokens is deemed to be a donation and hence the reason many of the ICO’s are run by non-profit foundations.

  • The investment of money is in a common enterprise?

The definition of “common enterprise” has had federal courts using different interpretations. Usually “common enterprise” has been define as one that is horizontal, meaning that investors pool their money or assets together to invest in a project.

  • Any profit comes from the efforts of a promoter or third party?

The people involved in the ICO technically can’t make any money from this ICO.

The final factor comes from how profit originates. If the token comes about due to factors outside of the investor’s control then the investment might be a security. However if the investor’s own actions largely dictate profitability then the investment is probably not a security.

I have also been told that the token cannot pay profits, royalties, dividends, have equity, debt, etc. basically any monetary value as this would obviously be a security.


Why a token security is bad

Whats the big deal is the token is a security any way? If the token is deemed to be a security then a number of laws apply then for instance in the US there will be:

  1. Restrictions around trading the securities
  2. Rule 144 will restrict issuances around the securities
  3. Regulation S will restrict selling efforts around the security

See more at wikipedia.

The fact is that much of the appeal around the ICO will be diminished if you have a token security (liquidity, lack of regulation, etc.).

Also the punishments meted out around trading in securities illegally are stiff.

ICO legal

Punishment for breaking securities law

The punishment will depend on the crime and there are a number of different issues that could arise:

  • Misrepresentation or omission of important information about securities
  • Manipulating the market prices of securities
  • Stealing customers’ funds or securities
  • Violating broker-dealers’ responsibility to treat customers fairly
  • Insider trading (violating a trust relationship by trading on material, non-public information about a security)
  • Selling unregistered securities.

There are two penalties that the SEC can issue:

  • Civil monetary penalties which are based on monetary fines
  • Administrative penalties include cease and desist orders, suspension or revocation of broker-dealer and investment advisor registrations, censures, bars from association with the securities industry, civil monetary penalties, and disgorgement.

In addition local federal law could prosecute as well based on their legal restrictions.