How To: Crypto Whitepaper

Understanding & creating a world-class Token Document

The Crypto industry is famous for its speed of innovation.

Projects have been able to go from concept to product overnight. No Website? No Discord? No whitepaper? No problem…

Over the course of the last bull market cycle, the loose degen nature of crypto became the industry's crux; a double-edged sword that inspired quick iteration but blinded from quality inspection.

As we shake off the effects of the last market collapse & prepare to tread fast into a new economic environment, it is of utmost importance to put forth all the more effort into our decision-making processes.

One of the most pragmatic, underutilized & effective ways to implement quality control in the crypto decision-making process is by monitoring a project’s attention to detail in its whitepaper.

What is a Whitepaper❔

A white paper is an authoritative marketing document intended to inform its readers concisely about a complex issue & guide them to understanding the author/entity's position on it.

Why is a Whitepaper important❔

Ultimately, the presence of a whitepaper(s) distinguishes thought leaders & expresses confidence in mastery of the subject matter.

Whitepapers serve as foundational brand documentation that can be used for disseminating quality information indefinitely. They help readers understand issues, solve problems, & make decisions.

When Should a project create its Whitepaper ❔


Creating a whitepaper can be, and usually is, very time-consuming. It is an intense, iterative process that can take ~3 months to complete. While it is possible to spin something up in 7 days, the document will lack depth; if this is the approach that a project takes, that is ok, as long as the document is updated as the project progresses.

Are there Different Types of Whitepapers ❔

Generally speaking, there are 3 different types of whitepapers based on intention:
-) General Purpose
-) Academic
-) Marketing

80% of all real crypto whitepapers will be academic, 10% will be marketing & 10% will be general purpose.

Regardless of the type of whitepaper a crypto project decides to create or their industry, the document will have to be an absolute content powerhouse.

What goes into a Whitepaper❔


It is the brains, the brawn & the beauty.

Visual formatting & branding are important, but alone do not define the quality of any whitepaper. You can put lipstick on any pig.

The single most important thing in ascertaining the quality of any whitepaper is the content.

The content for a whitepaper includes:
- technical long-form writing to describe complex concepts.
- Data in the form of charts, graphs & workflows to support ideas.
- mockups of the product
- detailed & well-researched arguments
- & more…

There will need to be market analysis & industry research conducted with all resources/references compiled.

Of course! We cannot forget to include a succinct copy in the form of adequately positioned insights/quotes throughout the document.

🔑 — Key Pointers For A Whitepaper — 🔑

- Min # Word Count: 2,500
- Min # Page Count: ~ 8
- Min # References: ~ 5
- Min # Visual Data: ~3

- Max # Word Count: ~12,500
- Max # Page Count: ~ 40
- Max # References: ~ 25
- Max # Visual Data: ~15

The Structure of a Crypto Whitepaper

1. Cover Page {1pg}
This must include the name of the project, a succinct catchphrase to describe the nuance of the subject matter& date of issuance. Marketing & General purpose variants should ideally have some form of branding/logo provided. If it is an academic document, the visual presentation is all about formatting rather than branding, here it is commonplace to find an executive summary placed front & center.

2. Content Index Page {1pg}
A simple outline of the content structure broken down by Headline & page #. If this is not provided in a whitepaper, that is absolutely ok it is not a dealbreaker; however, the presence of it will all the further impress the audience.

3. Interlude {1pg}
Some form of content to foreshadow the information & set the tone of the document. This can be a “letter from the founder”, an “endorsement” by another industry leader, or something simpler such as a deeply specific “quote” from history.

4. Introduction {1–2pg}
A good introduction can typically be defined by its length. Here a project will introduce the subject matter/product of the document, succinctly discuss the current market state, briefly touch on the problem area, & interest the reader in learning more.

5. Market / Subject matter background {2-3pg}
Thorough research & market analysis is an absolute foundation for the quality of a whitepaper. This section should be supported with Data & include a good deal of external references.

6. Problem Statement {1pg}
As mentioned earlier in the document, a problem statement demands its own section & should follow the market research. If the market / subject matter background was well articulated the reader should deduce the problem & uncover the nuances of that problem here.

7. Solution(s) & Competitive landscape {1–4pg}
Another element that is deeply tied to research; existing solutions & their providers must be noted & explained. Competition must be addressed. Possible solutions must be outlined & proposed.

8. Technical/Smart Contract Architecture {1–3pg}
This is where the solution’s technical implementation elements are described. Frameworks/tech stacks / APIs or operational procedures (i.e. consensus mechanism throughput).

9. Tokenomics {2–5pg}
This section can be presented as a standalone document, composed of:
a. -
Issuance & Allocation — supply utilization
b. - Token Emission — supply release schedule
d. - Token Utility — application/use of token
e.- Token Standard — technical specifications of a token (ERC-20, BEP-20, etc.)
f.- Token Listings — planned & existing
g.- Token Lockups — security for circulating supply
h.- Fund Distribution — how raised funds will be used

10. Organizational Structure {1–2pg}
An understanding of how the project/product will be developed & owned must be addressed. The legal implications of operating through a DAO, foundation, or VASP will highlight the intentions of the project founders & shine a light on the true “decentralization” of a proposed solution.

11. Team {1pg}
Standard practice in any industry; providing images, profile backgrounds, links & contact information for the members of the team is important to securing a proper professional image & stand out in the pseudonymous world of crypto.

*12. Advisors {1pg}
This is not always a necessity, but it is a definite nice-ity. Having credible people with strong reputations support your cause will always draw positive attention.

13. Partnerships {1pg}
Odds are that in order to have a project succeed it will need to be adopted by many people. Partnerships are the most effective bootstrapping mechanism in the community-building arsenal.

*14. Auditing
Audits are one of the most desirable things to look for in a whitepaper. If a project has completed an audit of its smart contract(s) that shows a high level of commitment to quality. More likely than not, a serious project that raises money has conducted some form of audit.

15. Roadmap / Game Plan {1pg}
Crucial. If a whitepaper does not have this, it is an inexcusable red flag. A roadmap should be provided, not necessarily to be perfectly followed but to have a strong sense of direction. It is ok for things to be completed in different cadences than what is written, but a fundamental rule is that at some point everything should be achieved (unless the project pivots).

16. Conclusion {1–2pg}
This is the final block of content that should be able to wrap up all of the key points discussed throughout the paper & express a proposition of what is ahead.

17. References {1pg}
Possibly the most underappreciated element of any whitepaper, References will give insight into the quality of research & due diligence conducted by the project. The fewer references there are, the less reliable the information in the document will be. Usually, references are placed as the last or 2nd-to-last section in a whitepaper.

18. Resources & Links {1pg}
One of the last pages in a whitepaper, the resources & links section will give the readers outlets to learn more about the project. Be sure to include links to the official website, blogs, social media channels, trading pools, on-chain smart contract explorers & whatever else may be relevant.

📜 — Inspirational Examples of Whitepapers —📜

💜 Cosmos:

💖 Avalanche:

💗 Polkadot:

🖤 Algorand:

💙 Fantom:

🤍 Lusko: Lusko Whitepaper

💚 Request:

💛 Celo:

Thank you for reading,
Hope this helps!

See you in the next bull market!!