I’ve Consulted Over 50 Crypto Projects — Almost All of Them Do Not Know What They’re Doing
That friend of yours who made money with NFTs is not smarter than you.
You’ve read about all the accidental crypto millionaires. You feel demotivated that people are just excelling in life in a matter of days while it’s taking you years.
You finally decide to give it a shot. You speak to that friend and ask for advice.
NFT launch conversation with friend
Friend: “Alright, ARE YOU UP FOR THIS?!”
You: “Umm, Yes!”
Friend: “Close your eyes, and pick a random animal.”
You: “Okay… Monkey.”
Friend: “Nah, try something else.”
You: “Fine, a raccoon?”
Friend: “Love it, your project is going to be called RacooNFTokens”
You: “Alright… What do I do next?”
Friend: “We need a website, go buy one for a few hundred dollars from creativemarket or something. Then create a whitepaper. Oh, and you definitely need tokenomics for your community.”
You: “I do not know how to do any of that!”
Friend: “Do you live under a rock? Hire someone to do that for you. Fiverr is a very cheap option, go for it.”
One week later
You: “Alright, done! Should I now get an artist to draw the NFTs and sell them on a marketplace like Opensea?”
Friend: “Such an amateur. Of course not. We need to build your community. Create a Twitter, Discord, Reddit, and Telegram channels.”
You: “How am I supposed to get people to actually follow and join these channels?”
Friend: “Give me $5000 and don’t ask questions.”
One week later
You: “Dude, I have 100,000 followers on each! What did you do? Some sort of marketing?”
Friend: “Yeah, I did ‘some sort’ of marketing. Anyway, you are ready. Oh, and forget your old name and identity. Your new name is General Racoonious”
You: “That’s confusing, but I won’t ask why. Now should I create the NFTs?”
Friend: “You disappoint me every time. Of course not. Start building the hype of your presales. Convince them that this is going to be the next big NFTs. So that people would want to invest in your project, then we’ll create the NFTs in the end. Also, tell them we will build a play to earn game, people love that.”
You: “But after I release the NFTs, what guarantees that they would actually be good?”
Friend: “Absolutely nothing, but you would have made some money in the process. Tell them NFTs are risky, they should have known that. Then go buy yourself a car.”
Having worked with over 50 projects in the cryptocurrency, blockchain, DeFi, NFT, and play-to-earn gaming industries, I’ve noticed different motivations of people working in this industry.
Not referring to this in a sinister or fraudulent way, the above conversation was mainly sarcastic. However, it is true that all these markets nowadays are trending. Investors are psyched about them, and that’s why it is easier to get an investment in these industries at the moment.
Let’s take a trip to the past. Between 1995 till 2000, the world was crazy about startups operating on the internet. They’ve poured tens of billions of dollars into these “dot-com” startups. Eventually, this so called dot-com bubble burst and led to the failure of numerous internet startups, and billions were lost.
I am not saying we are in a similar bubble whatsoever. However, when there is hype for a specific industry, it usually escalates and then declines if not implodes. You should consider this before taking your friend’s advice on starting a new project in this space. This article could never unpack all the information about these industries because that would be at least a 50-minute read.
“Let’s create a game about Will Smith and add NFTs to it” — Client (Play 2 Earn)
I was approached to work on a market research document, a white paper, and a pitch deck for something similar to the above. The founder interested me because of three things:
- He was a hardcore gamer.
- He was a game developer as well.
- I could see an early version of the game he wanted to create (and it was quite good.)
He was trying to create a playable game in this industry compared to those just about NFTs and money. He aimed to create a game that people would want to play because of the actual game.
What I liked about this is that NFTs were an add-on. I was confident in his ability to create a game that people would like regardless of the NFT market’s performance. Adding NFTs and blockchain technology, while not necessary, is quite fitting for the gameplay itself and the marketplace.
Hence, we worked together, creating some good material in the process. He landed an equity seed investment of a few hundred thousand dollars to fulfill what he envisioned.
Takeaway: A game’s essence revolves around playing it. Create a game to be played, not to make a profit out of it.
“Let’s create a business out of the Metaverse, Crypto, and P2E Gaming Trends” — Client (Crypto Society)
If you create a business out of a trend, your business is itself a trend and will eventually decline.
A client approached me to create a crypto association of the elite. He believes that a society that is only dedicated to the wealthy crypto millionaires and the Metaverse investors, for instance, would be fantastic to create and be an organizer of.
Their team was amazing by all means. They are very bright individuals and might see their vision come to reality. However, the main concern they are struggling with is the value provided.
They are doing it the other way around, starting with NFT, Crypto, and Metaverse, rather than the essential word — their value proposition.
As a project, the only concern is its scalability. Sure, build such an association, but remember, at the end of the day, you will always be a host for the elites following a trend.
Currently, they are attempting to raise funds for their project with a ticket size of more than $10 million since it’s going to be for the elite anyway.
Takeaway: A successful, scalable project should have an obvious problem and a robust solution, regardless of whether it is in the crypto industry.
“Let’s create an animal NFT collectible with an artist and sell it” — Client (Trending Animal)
A client came over with a project of creating an NFT collectible of a specific animal. I’ve noticed a surge of clients who ask for white papers for such projects.
What will happen in the future of this project or any similar ones?
I had a discussion with a financial analyst who worked at KPMG about this. He asked me, how should I project the pricing of such an NFT project?
I simply informed him that you can’t. You could, but it has a high probability of being inaccurate. The NFT market is quite novel and highly unstable. What makes people pay a specific amount of money for an NFT is an unanswerable question.
There are fantastic beautiful projects in this space that sell for millions. However, that does not mean that your raccoon will turn out to be an Ape. If you are lucky enough that a raccoon somehow becomes trending in a few days, your collection might kick off.
Takeaway: It worked with him, but that does not mean it will work with you.
“Let’s create an NFT project with complex tokenomics, and take the community’s advice, anonymously though” — Client (I-am-your-friend-NFT-project)
One of the most interesting clients I worked with wanted to give the community the feel of participation, which is fantastic.
The idea was simple. If the community participates in advising about the roadmap, tokenomics, and whitepaper, they would probably feel ownership enough to purchase the NFTs when the presale starts and boost the project.
However, he felt like they should be making almost all his decisions. Hence, they were modifying his white paper daily based on what each of them thought.
Imagine having over 300 members changing a project’s vision daily.
Takeaway: It’s good to involve the community, yet it is your project and vision at the end of the day.
“We don’t want to sound like we want to sell our NFTs, so let’s say we are all about the environment” — Client (SaveEarthNFT)
One of the significant challenges many people do not understand is that your end customer is not as naive as they might think.
A client approached with an incredible team as well an exciting project. They were focused on linking the environmental problems with NFTs and Crypto.
As a concept, it’s good. The problem lies in whether the environment is just pushed into the equation and is used rather than being the primary concern.
Takeaway: Have a clear objective of what you are doing. Your customers will read between the lines.
“Let’s create a new Airbnb-like platform based on crypto” — Client (Usable Blockchain Powered Product)
One of the most brilliant clients I’ve worked with approached me with a concept. The way we were talking led me to propose the use of blockchain in a specific aspect of his business. It was perfectly fitting.
Then he informed me that this is exactly what he is working on. I was sold.
This was one of the projects where you could actually feel the usability of blockchain that could provide value to everyone on the platform.
This company is now in the MVP creation phase.
Takeaway: A promising technology is a piece of your project’s puzzle, not to be thrown all over it.
I will tell you what I told them
1. Study the market. It’s changing every week
This whole market is very volatile. I don’t use market research conducted a few months ago. It’s useless.
An objective of a market research document is to validate and showcase a vision. When numbers jump rapidly every day due to something new, each research is a new one with a different conclusion.
2. Do not force the technologies on your work; sometimes, it’s better not to have blockchain or crypto
You have to ask yourself and your tech team whether you need blockchain or you want it?
Your project could be one of the most successful projects of the next ten years with absolutely no use of blockchain.
3. Successful entrepreneurs do not think about money from trends but actual value
If someone you know made money from such technology or a trend, take this as an inspiration to start your own thing. But do not have a narrow vision of only using these methods.
With or without NFT, blockchain, and crypto, the key to any business is providing value to someone. Do that, and it will all make sense.
My recommended Whitepaper Structure for you
While I use this with multiple projects, I usually tailor it based on the project. So what works for me and my projects might not work for you. So please take this as an initial phase, and enhance it as you move on.
- Disclaimer — To avoid any legal misunderstandings, find a disclaimer online and modify it as per your project.
- Introduction — You are telling a story. Introduce me, the reader, to it.
- Executive Summary — You need to brief me on everything in this whitepaper. Show me some pie charts and visuals as well.
- The Market — Showcase your market research and credible facts to know that you know your numbers.
Sometimes adding competitors could come in handy to observe how are you better than them, as well as an assurance point that this project already has a market.
- The product —Now tell me what you’re doing, how you are doing it, which problems would be targeted, everything regarding your essence and value proposition.
- Business and Revenue Model — How do you intend to monetize?
- Tokenomics — You need to mention everything surrounding your plan of launching your token. This usually answers any question a person could have about your tokens and your use of funds.
- Roadmap — Indicate what you have done and what you intend to do.
- Team Members — Show me pictures and tell me more. Let me trust you.
What works for my clients does not necessarily have to work with you. There is no financial advice in this article. The idea is to inspire your thoughts on approaching a project correctly, what to do, and what not to do.
Disclaimer: I am not sponsored or affiliated with any of the projects/companies mentioned in this article. This is not financial advice, the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Never invest what you can’t afford to lose. I disclaim any liability or loss incurred by any person who acts on the information, ideas, or strategies discussed in my articles. Do Your Own Research. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.