How To Launch An ICO On Ethereum

So you want to start an ICO. Congrats! ICOs are an exciting, speedy way for a talented investment team with a cool idea to get funded. Your company gets funds fast; investors get in on the ground floor. There are myriad ways to run an ICO, but today we’ll break down how to launch one through Ethereum.


So you want to start an ICO. Congrats! ICOs are an exciting, speedy way for a talented investment team with a cool idea to get funded. Your company gets funds fast (especially if you list your token on Coinist) and investors get an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. There are myriad ways to run an ICO, but today we’ll break down how to launch one through Ethereum.


Ethereum is relatively easy to use, with detailed instructions available on the company’s website. But don’t crank out a coin just yet. A coin’s success or failure is decided long before the ICO. Effective marketing, a pre-sale ICO, meeting with investment funds, and communicating with investors are all crucial steps. Don’t forget the Howey test. If you haven’t heard of that, you shouldn’t be launching an ICO. The Howey test, derived from a 1946 Supreme Court case, lays down guidelines for what is and isn’t a security. You don’t want the SEC investigating you, so many coins take steps to ensure they explicitly aren’t securities. Have a clear fundraising goal. And have step-by-step, detailed plans on how you’re going to spend the money. No one’s going to plunk down their hard-earned cash for your token if it seems even the slightest bit scammy. We’ve broken down the risks of ICO’s on this site before.


Typically, a good team will start getting the word out early. They’ll set and meet technical milestones. The ICO, terms, fundraising goals, and a plan for spending the money will come out well in advance of the set date. A well-written whitepaper goes a long way to cluing in investors. Teams typically engage with their community through tools like Telegram, Slack, and Reddit. They’ll also pick a location to work, which is more important than it seems. Switzerland and Singapore are token-friendly nations where many teams set up shop. In Singapore, where teams like TenX hail from, coins are not considered securities. With the SEC debating cracking down on ICOs, that’s one less thing to worry about.


But let’s say you’ve got all that, and you picked Ethereum to launch your ICO. Great! The first step is creating a token. If you aren’t tech-savvy, Ethereum’s website generously lists the code you need to use. You’ll download and open up the wallet app, available for free download on Ethereum’s website. You’ll click “Deploy New Contract.” From there, you’ll go through the basic steps of creating a token, like setting how many will exist. For reference, 21 million Bitcoins will exist, but you can create anywhere from 0 to 115 quattuorvigintillion (a lot) of your chosen token.

You’re going to want to pay special attention to “construction parameters.” That’s where you can adjust things like how fast a block will be mined. Before you pull the trigger on creating a contract, Ethereum will display the cost of Ether required to create it, as well as the gas necessary. Gas essentially measures how much work is required for someone to verify a transaction. Creating the token usually just takes a minute. Wham bam, you’ve got your own cryptocurrency!

But it’s not terrible useful yet. In fact, it’s useless until you adjust it so you can send it to other people. You can use functions like “Inheritance” to let a contract acquire properties of a parent contract. You can add a variable for “TotalSupply,” where you can update the amount of tokens to be minted. This can be useful if the tokens represent a real-world asset that is created or destroyed. As anyone who has followed the crypto world knows, hacks happen. So you may want to implement some code that will let you freeze contracts in case of emergency. And you’re probably going to want to put in some code to tether a token’s value to other tokens. If you cruise a cryptocurrency exchange, most coins are listed in relation to their value in Bitcoin. But Ethereum works too. Set up some buy/sell commands and use “standard data feed” to give the currency a floating real-time value. There are a number of other ways you can customize your coin, and the Ethereum website will walk you through the coding, but for now we’re good to launch our ICO.


So we’ve got a coin. Sweet! Time so share it with the world. Start by listing it on our site. Ethereum ICOs are open and auditable, and the only associated fees are gas fees. It’s a big step up from early ICOs that urged users to send Bitcoin to anonymous addresses. Fire up the wallet again. Create a fixed supply token. We’ll say 1000 tokens. Create a “shareholder association.” You’ll input the address everything is going to and how long it’ll go for. Ethereum provides the actual code you can copy to create the token, but pay attention out the variables “fundingGoal” and “deadline.” They’re self-explanatory, but you can easily tweak them.

Speaking of a funding goal, many ICOs run uncapped. That’s no limit on the amount of funding to be raised. It can sound great at first glance. The more money, the better for the team. And more investors get in on a great project. But uncapped ICOs can devalue the coins of those who got in early. And teams that change their mind and take in more than they planned to, are frequently are bashed in their communities, or labeled scams. Think carefully before deciding if an uncapped ICO makes sense for you.

You’ll input all the required information, pay the gas price, and pop out an ICO. You don’t necessarily want to put 100% of your created tokens up for grabs. An investor with lots of money and no morals could easily snag 51% of the currency, take control of the coin, and send everyone’s funds to themselves. Don’t forget to create a fallback function, a coding tweak that prevents someone who invests too late from losing both their tokens and their funding. We’ve already touched on the risks associated with an uncapped ICO, but if you want to extend your ICO past a pre-planned date, you have that power too.


You’ve got a rough guide now to the steps involved in creating a coin and launching an ICO through Ethereum. There’s lots of great resources out on the internet and on Ethereum’s website itself to walk you through the process. Check out some of the articles on our blog about what makes a successful ICO, and we might just be writing about you next.

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