By nature, an ICO whitepaper is proposing a new future for something. Sometimes, it’s just the future of a particular business, but just as often it’s the future of an industry. Industry experts and innovators are speculating on how blockchain and distributed ledger technology are going to impact their industry, or at least where they have the potential for improvement.
For this reason, when you write an ICO whitepaper, it’s useful to talk at least a bit about where you see the industry going. Just as a well-known example in the decentralized world, let’s take identity. How will we identify ourselves in the decentralized future? Here are a variety of potential futures:
- Companies will continue to own more data on us than we even can fathom. We will gladly share this data with companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others because of the services we provide.
- Governments will continue to own our identities and provide us with all the identification documentation and validation in the world (India’s government felt this way until they lost a supreme court case).
- We will own our identities and be able to manage parts of them through a kind of a “wallet’. Using this tool, we’ll be able to expose just as much information as we need to. For example, we could purchase items without giving our name, because the system will know we have the money, and it doesn’t need our name.
- Identity will become self-managed to a degree where we could declare our own nationality, or where nationality doesn’t even exist anymore. We get to declare our own identities or those of our children when they are born. We won’t need some government to tell us who we are.
- Identity will be based on the trust of other people and our actions. We will have authorization to do things based on our history and who vouches for us. In other words, identity is a function of what other people think of us.
All of these ideas are plausible. In fact, they could co-exist in different regions of the world. Why do you need to think about this stuff? Because if you are creating a token or dapp for identity, you need to build it inside the vision of how you see the future.
I’ll give an example from a non-ICO company I met recently. They make technology for cinematographic VR. They took a look at the trends in virtual reality, and they realized that in the next 3 years, the big application is going to be cinema, not gaming. So far, they’ve been right, with Google and Facebook throwing a ton of money at it. Their company strategy is very clear about how fast they need to implement their technology and get an investment so they can ride this trend. Now, they might be wrong about the timing or the development, but they are making a bet with their R&D based on what they predict in 10 years. If your company is developing anything based on what you see right now, you’re already too late. For your ICO, you’ll want to make sure that you think about the industry trends. As you are reading or writing an ICO whitepaper, you should look at that vision and see if it makes sense for your industry.