At this point, pretty much everyone knows the story of cryptocurrencies — from their start in 2009 when Bitcoin was launched, through years of fighting to become relevant and grow in value, to 2017 when they exploded. After that, in 2018, the market crashed, and while many of the coins reached their all-time high right before this, they all came crashing down in a free fall that has lasted for over a year, now.
However, for a lot of people, 2019 has that feeling of being a good year, and a year when things finally change for the better again. Whether this will actually happen or not remains to be seen, although there are some things we already know, such as the fact that holding an ICO in 2019 is probably not going to end well.
As mentioned, 2017 was the year of cryptocurrencies, when they finally exploded and when the entire world learned the words like 'crypto,' 'blockchain,' or 'ICO.' The ICO part is particularly important for us, as many seem to believe that the apparent, slow recovery of the crypto world might mean that ICOs are returning as well. This is likely not the case, as the trend already had its birth, life, and apparent death. While there are some ICOs that can still be found today, most of those are only the last efforts of the trend to publish true utilities.
The first thing to keep in mind is that a token will not succeed unless it satisfies a certain set of conditions, such as holding value, being scalable, offering valid use cases, resisting inflationary pressure, and alike. In addition, it needs to have a good business model, meaning that you need to be able to explain how the revenue can grow over time, or investors won't come.
Too many of them were attracted to weak ICO projects, or even scams, during the crypto boom of 2017, and even in early 2108. As a result, smart investors are very picky about what they invest in, while those who were not so fortunate likely won't invest in anything crypto-related for a long time. The skepticism regarding the ICO model is quite high still, and new token sales will likely not be welcomed with open arms.
As mentioned, there is a lot that a project needs to get funds in 2019, especially when the word 'ICO' is involved, but the three most important things that you need to attract investors are utility, brand identity, and a go-to-market strategy.
Let's start with utility. Simply put, the utility is the total satisfaction that customers receive after using certain goods or services. This may also be explained as usefulness, which is not something that a lot of projects can offer. Even Bitcoin itself, while it has far more uses than any other coin, it still remains as far away from adoption as ever, at least for the time being.
The fact is that utility drives demand, as having a useless coin is similar to having a worthless one — if no one wants it, you can't sell it. If no one accepts it — you can't use it. This is why coins with no utility typically have no value either.
Next, let's talk about brand identity. This day and age are all about different options. Pretty much every company, brand, product, or team has its alternative, its competitor. This is why it is important for your customers and potential investors to learn about your product, and to get to know it. If they don't, they will not buy it, which is why you need to think of making your product recognizable, as well as useful. This is what it takes to have a successful ICO even when the conditions are right, which is not something that can be said for 2019.
Finally, you need to ensure that there is a go-to-market strategy for your product, which typically comes down to a road map which can show investors what your future plans are.
The ICO model is believed by many to be dead, a thing of the past. While this may not be 100% true as of yet, it is still far more likely that your ICO will fail if you hold a token sale in 2019. A lot of startups have made that mistake only to perish after weeks, or even months of struggling, and the days when making a quick profit via crypto were possible are long gone.
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