Top Whitepapers ~ R_Block’s Whitepaper Release
Six months ago, I set about writing a Whitepaper for our project ~ R_Block (results here). I confess I’d only written business plans and decks before, no whitepapers. Being in crypto, I’d read my fair share. From this excessive reading, I shared a lot of the communities pre-conceptions. Hailing Satoshi’s original whitepaper as the template for all to follow. Writing our paper changed a lot of these pre-conceptions. I’ll try and share my learnings with you.
According to Coinschedule we’ve had over 200 ICO’s so far in 2017. So we can assume we’ve seen at least as many Whitepapers. Since that is the benchmark we’ve arrived at in crypto. I’m convinced that most whitepapers will look like short, stylish startup pitch decks by 2019. Anything longer than 20 pages enters the skimming zone, even the most committed crypto-maniac’s won’t take in every word. By then we’ll have worked out the celebrity endorsement + retired advisor = 8 figures in funding. This equation doesn’t add up either.
A whitepaper definition: “an authoritative report or guide that informs readers concisely about a complex issue and presents the issuing body’s philosophy on the matter. It is meant to help readers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.”
You see a few different breeds of whitepaper. I put them in 3 categories; Technical, Business Q&A and Marketing. I’ve compiled a list of some favourites…
Top Business Q&A:
A good chunk of ICO whitepapers fall into this category. My views have changed here. For projects using semi-established technologies, there isn’t a need for the technical depth of the papers above. Yet some do this and go one step further. Going over the basics of Blockchain and throwing in a history lesson of the last 200 years of their respective industries. If you’re catering to every audience, it’s not relevant to any audience. This satire highlights the irony.
For example, the R_Block project isn’t developing a ground breaking new Blockchain or protocol. We’re bringing new (Ethereum) and old technologies together to create something unique. For some, what’s groundbreaking is the business application which justifies the extra business detail.
Top Marketing Papers:
Many will turn their nose up at the idea of such marketing material being considered a whitepaper. As did I. However true to the whitepaper definition, these papers are still authoritative guides to a what complex issues.
Disclaimer: These projects are alleged scams.
Everyone says, read the whitepaper. But these are very good case studies for reasons to ACTUALLY read the whitepaper. Then reflect, then read it again, if you’re seriously interested in contributing to a project.
The pattern is clear, the technical papers tend to be new protocols or new blockchains. These papers are most highly regarded by the community. Since the crypto community is mainly made up of technical people. However, we’re seeing a wider adoption so the demographics are changing. The increasing level of marketing/Q&A papers reflects the type of projects we’re seeing. As Blockchains become established, we’re seeing more application layer projects. These projects should cater to their respective audiences and complexities. Hence my earlier statement, application layer projects will use traditional pitch decks as ‘whitepapers’.
Contrary to the above and spending many months refining the R_Block whitepaper. I do appreciate Rob May’s f*** the whitepaper approach. Most companies publishing whitepapers are early stage projects. Version one projects with small or no customer bases. The chances of these projects following this plan are nil. If they are to succeed, they will need to iterate and react to the landscape. We know the cryptosphere will evolve dramatically over the coming years. The best tech may not prevail. The best teams and business’s that listen to their users and execute likely will.
Hence R_Block are taking a CPR approach ~ Continuous Paper Release. With the more commonly known form of CPR if necessary. We’re committing to keeping an up to date whitepaper live. Like a product is never finished, a whitepaper shouldn’t be either. We’re not following the PDF path. We’re releasing a whitepaper in Google Docs, which is open for comments. We see the R_Block whitepaper as a opportunity for feedback from potential users. See the R_Block Whitepaper . Your feedback would be appreciated, positive or negative. We’re committed to listening.