The Power of PR for Web3 Startups by@Web3 Bites
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The Power of PR for Web3 Startups

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Alyona Karpinskaya is the founder of PRBA, a PR agency providing PR support for blockchain projects. PRBA is based in Kiev, Ukraine, based in the city of Kiev. The PR agency is based on PR work for startups in innovative fields like Web3 in particular. A carefully constructed and competently implemented PR strategy will allow you to achieve maximum coverage for a new product, thereby attracting new users and giving an unambiguous signal to potential investors. The size of the budget is not always proportional to the quality of the results achieved, says Alyona.

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Ishan Pandey: Hi Alyona Karpinskaya! Welcome to our series “Behind the Startup.” Please tell us about yourself, your experience as a woman in the PR domain, and the motivation behind PRBA?

Alyona Karpinskaya: Hello Ishan and thank you for the invitation to this interview. I started my career as an entrepreneur, pretty early too, but I always felt an inner craving for journalism; perhaps because I was raised during the heyday of my mother's career, who was a TV presenter and editor of her own program on one of the more prominent Ukrainian TV channels. Even then, I was aware of the importance of the power of the influence of the media in society and its influence on government policy-making. I understood the mechanisms at work and even received additional education in the direction of journalism, but still, I could not find a niche in which I would be interested in developing these skills.

In 2016, I first learned about blockchain technology. In the same year, I became interested in the theoretical and practical study of mining mechanics, I spent about a year studying information on a daily basis, learning to invest, reading every new article and book published as well as project white papers, trying to communicate with a community of like-minded people. I was involved in market events 24/7.

After a while, I created my own media source specializing in conducting investigations in the field of cryptocurrency projects. I and three journalists independently went to meetings with the founders of projects, interviewed teams, collected details, took feedback from the community, consulted experts, and published real information, which I hope was able to save many investors during the ICO rush. But, telling the truth is not always easy and pleasant, moreover, it is sometimes dangerous, many colleagues quit, unable to withstand the pressure from projects, and in the end, I decided to close the site instead of fighting countless fake projects. I wanted to help real and promising projects become famous, not attract attention to shitcoins. So, by the end of 2017, PRBA appeared – an agency providing PR support for blockchain projects.

Ishan Pandey: What does PR matter for Web3 startups? Furthermore, what should be the marketing budget for a web3 startup?

Alyona Karpinskaya: Startups in innovative fields, like Web3 in particular, are particularly dependent on good media coverage. A carefully constructed and competently implemented PR strategy will allow you to achieve maximum coverage for a new product, thereby attracting new users and giving an unambiguous signal to potential investors. If such work is not carried out at all or is carried out incorrectly, it can be fatal not only for a young startup but also for a large company launching a new Web3 product.

I understand that many enthusiastic and talented people promoting their own startups or dreaming of creating one will read this interview, so I will try to give useful information. The size of the budget is not always proportional to the quality of the results achieved. It can be said that the qualification of the PR team, and the experience of working with large and small projects with surplus and deficit budgets, is a decisive factor.

If we still talk about numbers, then if I were the startup team, I would do the following. First, you need to decide on a pool of thematic media, contact them, and clarify the cost of placing advertising materials. At the same time, the more sites there are in this pool, the better. For a Web3 startup today, this is 100+. Next, you need to sum up the received figures. So you will get an approximate budget and we can say that professional PR agencies will be able to work successfully with such a budget, which will make you real news instead of advertising materials.

Ishan Pandey: How do you help blockchain projects to achieve their goals?

Alyona Karpinskaya: You have a budget, you have a development team, a great manager and you are a great entrepreneur. You are developing a new product and the long-awaited product launch day is coming. How do you determine that you have achieved success? If your product becomes popular, of course! A lot of new users will come, future investors will line up, and a scam about buying your startup from a large company will likely end up in the mail. One important point in this chain is that you should get yourself noticed. Everyone should see that they need you right now. As you already understand, this is exactly what we are doing.

Depending on the project's stage, we develop strategies to achieve the desired result.

If the project is at an early stage of development or is just beginning preparations for entering the market, then our task is to conduct a comprehensive audit for them before starting public activities (in order to avoid reputational risks) forming a stable positive image, filling the media space with introductory information about the project, preparing the team for communication with the press and helping to establish first contact with journalists.

For projects preparing to enter the stock exchange, we conduct a set of PR events aimed at pre-sale preparation. The most crucial stage from the point of view of interaction with future investors, therefore, and the main task during this period of time, is to provide advantages and guarantees, to justify the clarity and competence of the team, and most importantly – to eliminate or prevent the presence of the signs of a fictitious project. At this stage, active work is required exclusively with reputable journalists and opinion leaders. Maximum dissemination of information about the project without signs of advertising integrations is required, with informational occasions focused on viral distribution and holding public events.

After the listing, an equally important stage of the PR team's work arrives. Information and communication support in close cooperation with financial experts of projects, PR activities according to clear regulations, the release of materials for feedback from the community, and special attention to tracking the project’s background – a strategy should be prepared in advance in case crises arise. Compliance with all these rules helps to achieve the result I mentioned at the very beginning of the answer to your question.

Ishan Pandey: In your opinion, why are several crypto companies indulging in fake news for marketing? Furthermore, how do users detect fake news?

Alyona Karpinskaya: It's a slippery slope full of sharp rocks that ultimately leads nowhere. Major media check the information before publication and often request supporting documents. In case these companies refuse, the chances of publishing any articles as part of such a campaign begin to tend to zero. If the campaign manages to deceive everyone and publish a fake, then this can lead to a sharp increase in interest from the regulatory authorities with all the fun consequences.

As for modern users, they have become less affected by fake news than before. I think everyone will agree that today, one tweet from John McCaughey would not be enough for a successful token sale. On the other hand, there is Elon Musk. I'm not saying that he publishes fakes, but his tweets have already caused concern for regulators.

Today, everyone can check information via the Internet, and if you unite with other interested parties, for example, on Reddit, it won’t be that difficult to expose fake news.

Ishan Pandey: Recently, a number of developers from Tornado Cash were arrested for AML violations and not performing KYC on users. What are your views on regulating DeFi?

Alyona Karpinskaya: I cannot obtain complete information regarding the case against the Tornado Cash developers, but the voiced wording of the reason for the arrest seems somewhat far-fetched to me. Did Satoshi Nakomoto implement such procedures? Regulators from different countries have repeatedly stated the use of Bitcoin for criminal purposes. Why hasn't Nakamoto been arrested and put on the wanted list?

Let's be honest: technology can't be criminalized. It’s a big problem that in modern society, developers are persecuted for the development of technologies. It would be more honest if law enforcement agencies worked with those who use these technologies for criminal purposes.

Anonymity is a democratic right of a free society, not a crime. When funds are credited to a bank account, the way you manage your money is protected by bank secrecy. The blockchain is absolutely transparent and only a mixer can give you financial privacy. I deeply empathize with the Tornado Cash team and wish them to return to the industry as soon as possible. In my understanding, they are charged with giving people freedom; nothing more.

As for regulation, don't you think that regulators are pursuing the goal of protecting traditional finance and the current banking system? Standards that were dismantled a few years ago are now being moulded to a new industry. It is not surprising that the states have not developed uniform standards for regulating decentralized finance. At the same time, it seems to me that the hottest years are already over and today, we see that the rhetoric of many jurisdictions is becoming more and more friendly toward cryptocurrencies.

Ishan Pandey: As an insider and observer of new-age technology, can you tell us about the next big trend in Web3?

Alyona Karpinskaya: It depends on whether modern society will be able to preserve current freedoms and move further in the direction of their development. Any restrictions that hinder the freedom of thought, self-expression, religion, movement, creativity, love, and other essential things (there are many of them, and I could probably go on for a long time, but they are not the topic of our conversation today), hinder the development of technology.

Why did we, the human race, assume that we would ‘continue’ to move forward technologically? The creation of conditions for technological development lies in expanding democratic institutions. If we manage this well, we will see breakthroughs very soon.

But what will these be? What could they be? A few years ago in Dubai, I was at the presentation of a flying car that used blockchain technology, the project of which was practically integrated into the city's urban infrastructure. Unfortunately, cars still don't fly. Indeed, there are already many prototypes of modern technologies that have yet to find applications.

So, it may be something that has been introduced previously. ‘The Internet of Things’ has already become so familiar that advanced technological publications no longer want to write about it. Today, there is a lot of talk about neural networks, artificial intelligence, and interplanetary travel.

I say this because Web3 is the absence of the online boundaries we currently find quite difficult to define. I am inclined to believe that the next big trend is unlikely to be something like the ‘NFT 2.0’, but something more ambitious and in demand in every home. For example, as it was with the personal computer or cell phone.

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