Joakim Hjønnevåg


ICO Founders, Take Note!

This is how you maintain and grow your token’s community

Photo by Headway on Unsplash

Have you ever found yourself scratching your head, wondering what a project’s team is doing post-ICO to fulfill the promises made to you when you bought their token? Well, you’re not alone. If you’ve never felt that way, however, then congratulations. You’ve either never bought into an ICO, or you got extremely lucky.

The Problem

Several ICO startups have left their contributors feeling high and dry, waiting for any inkling of news to support their reasons for ever purchasing the token in the first place.

This is obviously not beneficial for any project, as the community is the most important resource of any ICO startup, and as losing it usually spells doom for both the token and the startup as a whole. Your community is just as important as your finances when it comes to overall ICO business healthiness, so stop stonewalling them.

Get it together ICO founders, and follow these few simple tips to sustaining your token’s community post-ICO.

Photo by Benjamin Dada on Unsplash

1. Communication is Key

Whether it’s on Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, or somewhere else, it’s important that you communicate with your token’s community clearly and routinely. My favoured way to do so is through Telegram, as that allows me to formulate long and properly thought-out answers in real-time to questions asked by the community. It’s also a nice place to have friendly, short interactions with them.

When formulating an answer, don’t deviate from the core question. Answer it in plain English; don’t neatly pack hidden meanings behind your words. It’s very easy to spot, and it only serves to weaken the bond between yourself and your token holders. Remember this: token holders are people, and people, in general, appreciate honesty. This is no different. By misrepresenting or creating double-meaning behind your words, you’re only delaying the inevitable that is some fraction of token holders not liking your idea anymore, or finding something they like better. Artificially representing your token as something which it is not will never work long-term, no matter what.

Ride both the highs and the lows

Don’t go quiet when the tides turn against you, e.g. in a bearish market. By going quiet, your community will assume something is wrong. Instead, always be proactive, and ensure that your community is aware that you’re progressing steadily along your roadmap.

Don’t announce future announcements

If you have something to share with your community, then that’s great, but never announce future announcements in advance. Announcing that you have exciting news coming out soon never does any good. It serves to inflate the expectation around your announcement, leading to guaranteed disappointment and disgruntled community members.

Even if you were sending your token on a spaceship to mars, don’t pre-announce it as “exciting news coming soon”. If you do that, then even then, some parts of your community will create expectations that will not be met, and they will be disappointed, no matter the announcement.

Regular updates

Your community wants updates, and no, I’m not talking about your CEO’s fancy new car, but product updates. Event presence, new partners, and more is good, but product development is the most important, hands down. If you ICO’d for a platform-specific token, then build the actual platform. If you can give technical details, then do so, even if most of your community won’t understand it. It’s the transparency that’s appreciated.

If there’s just one thing you take away from this, then please let it be that communities love regular updates.

A great example of regular technical updates comes from the OmiseGO team: Plasma Update #7 November 5, 2018: Devcon Recap Edition
Photo by Olav Ahrens Røtne on Unsplash

2. Incentivize Your Community

As I mentioned earlier, your token holders are people, and we people generally like to have fun. So create fun, and incentivize your token holders and new community members to stay and participate in the discussion, both with token rewards and with the group generally being a good place to chat.

Professional, not dull

When answering questions, be professional. I am personally a strong opponent against the usage of emojis in company messaging, but it all depends on your brand’s tone. If you’re a serious startup, please answer questions as such. This doesn’t mean that you should be dull, however. I recommend the balanced approach of answering questions professionally, and then engaging in chat on the side more casually. This humanizes you. You’re not a robot, so don’t act like one.

Quizzes, bounties and rewards

Quizzes and bounties are great ways to incentivize your community to accomplish X task for Y reward. Recently, I organized a quiz for, the company I work for. The premise was simple: require people to learn all the positive aspects about aXpire to find answers to quiz questions, and incentivize them to do so with good prizes, in this case a combined amount of $10,000 worth of exchange-traded AXPR tokens. 4000 people took the quiz, and community activity benefited.

Another thing you can do, is to reward quality community members. Elevate their “social status” by making them admins, and give them token rewards for making the community better. This will in turn inspire others to do the same. You could even offer an activity leader-board via the Combot Telegram bot, with tiered token rewards, or a referral campaign for people getting users to your (e.g.) Telegram group. There are countless contests, quizzes and initiatives you could organize, and it’s fun, so do it.


Your community is your most important asset, so treat it as such. Listen to them, mold your approach by their feedback, ideas, and needs. Ensure that your interests are aligned with your token holders’ at all times. You are what you make your community, so make it good.

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