Back in September, I was invited to write an Industry Voices article for CryptoAM.io, titled; Timing a Token Launch. As a global community of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts, we had all been affected by the pandemic over the previous 6-8 months and so I took the opportunity to share why we had paused our token launch back in March 2020 and the benefits we strongly believed that would have. Fast forward to the 12th January 2021 and the launch of CUDOS on both Uniswap and BitMax.io, where we have achieved one of the most successful new token listings of the last 2 years.
Many close to our team and project will know that this was no fluke: We were founded in 2017, have over 150k user accounts, live in 145 countries and have household names as partners, including semiconductor giant AMD. But that alone was not going to guarantee success.
‘The success is down to careful planning, high levels of intra-communication, roll-your-sleeves-up gritty graft and tough decisions,sometimes against the advice of others and the willingness to both adapt and stick to your guns where necessary.’
I want to share our experiences with you, hopefully providing some ideas and guidance for your own token launches:
Let’s take it back to September 2020: We had just made the decision that now is the time to start planning our token launch. DeFi projects had just seen an incredible run propelling the market back into early signs of an upcoming bullrun and sentiment is running high. The appetite for DEX’s as part of the DeFi boom have swelled and there seems to be a trend of naming these platforms after popular dishes; SushiSwap, BurgerSwap and there is even a CarrotSwap for vegetarian traders!
Our goal at that point was to start reconnecting with well known token funds, raise private money and then launch a public sale in December. We gave ourselves one month to create the marketing plan, refine the tokenomics, refresh our messaging, secure an exchange and to start creating a more active community. We would then officially launch the private sale in October, providing 8 weeks to raise $2m before the public sale. Sounds relatively straightforward so far, right?
We organised a round table session with our advisors and partners who have been through this process multiple times before and we listened, questioned and absorbed as much information as possible. We then broke the launch preparation down into these core subsections.
Brand & messaging:
We set about refreshing our messaging based on the advances that we had made since the originally planned March launch; launching a new website and translating our key documents into multiple languages. We then mapped out a marketing plan, with the targeted dates and order of priority for partner announcements, CEO interviews, advisor interviews and PR. All of this to make sure we built and baked trust into the brand and transparent insight into our progress and vision. With the majority of the team continuing with both engineering and business development, we knew this would have to be a dynamic plan.
My advice is to start building your community as soon as you can. It’s the community that drives the excitement and engagement that ultimately drives you onwards into further communities. You will need dedicated community managers to make this work, and it is important to build a base of loyal community ambassadors that can cover all timezones. We were slow to achieve this at first and it reflected in our early efforts with token funds, who without hesitation will check your community numbers and activity before signalling interest. Under the recommendation of one of our partners, we signed an agency to help us with global community building and alongside them we made some noise and our community dialed it up to 11!
You are building a long term business and the strength of it’s growth will be in the health of its ecosystem. If, like us, you are releasing a utility token that serves multiple functionalities within the platform then I cannot stress enough how important it is to get this right. Especially if, like us, it is your first experience with launching a token. This area was one of the reasons that we pushed back the launch target from December to January, as we decided to engage with Delphi Digital (who advised on ETH 2.0) and find areas that we needed to further strengthen. Our tokenomics were actually very well thought out and so the consultation with Delphi was largely focused on the staking mathematics and incentivications.
‘Staking is a beautiful system: It helps to build a healthy and strong network over the long term, assists in controlling token circulation supply and incentives loyalty.’
This is where research and feedback is essential: There are a lot of exchanges with great sales people, but somewhat fishy reputations with well publicised fake volumes. Our team reviewed the top 10 exchanges and no less than 10 of their previous listings, creating a matrix based on liquidity, altcoin success, markets and so on. The result was a score per exchange, which helped us to make a non-emotional decision. The first exchange is by the far the most difficult to secure because you are an unknown entity and if you’re targeting a Tier 1, then you will need multiple people with good connections there to recommend you to their senior and listing teams. I’m almost certain that the online applications for these exchanges are just a method by the exchange to stop you from contacting them.
‘The bigger the exchange, the more stringent their due diligence process is as well, so remember to start this activity early and keep in mind your follow through on listing strategy as well.’
It’s recommended to list with a new exchange every 3-4 weeks following the first.
We decided to take a different strategy for the first exchange and go with a Primary Listing rather than a public sale. This was partly due to the exchange themselves, their reputation with altcoin listings and the advice they gave us based on other recent tokens that had launched on their platform. This garnered mixed feelings from our community and advisors, but it felt right to us and so we held our nerve and kept to the strategy.
I saved this part to last, even though it’s the point I referred to first. Why?
Until you have got all of the above parts organised, you are not going to see significant participation. The market is a lot more educated than it was in 2017 during the ICO boom and there are a lot more projects out there to choose from, so without first building the necessary level of hype in the community, and then having everything in place to be able to demonstrate that you can successfully execute the launch, no fund or experienced buyer is going to participate.
‘You can call as many targets as you like, but the reality is that you will be chasing your tail. Get the above points I’ve listed right and they will come to you and that was what we experienced, with over 70% closing in the final 2 weeks.’
Because we cancelled the public sale for a primary listing strategy and we then suddenly started seeing a huge uptick in enquiries, we decided to extend the private sale to $3m, by moving the $1m target allocated for a public sale into the private sale.
In the final 2 days of the private sale, we received enough orders to oversubscribe our target by 120%! Our early nerves went from ‘are we going to reach our target’ to ‘how are we going to push these back.’
For weeks we had to bite our tongue and not announce the exchange name. Given the growing hype for CUDOS, our community was truly pressuring us to reveal, but doing so would have removed the impact. It’s good to build curiosity as it builds engagement and excitement.
‘Remember: You only get to do this once!’
We surprised our community on the day of the launch by first creating a pool on Uniswap to build some initial liquidity a few hours ahead of the main listing on BitMax. Our strategy was to let this be found organically and not to promote it. We then listed on BitMax at the original listing price, to amplify the early trading activity.
Our launch was very successful. It was a moment of pure vindication for all the hard work and tough decisions.It made clear that timing is everything, but not just the market timing, the time you start to build momentum, the timing of what content to release at what point, the importance of changing a launch date if there is an opportunity to improve an area such as tokenomics (or a term that I’ve started using, stakenomics) and everything else in between.
For us, this is just the beginning:
‘The CUDOS token is a multi-functional utility within the network and our focus is not growing the token, it’s in growing the network itself. That is where the true value is and our vision hasn’t flickered.’
We are here to provide a more sustainable cloud computing model to the world, a platform where any business or individual can earn from their hardware, a platform that can connect traditional and blockchain ecosystems, a platform that makes better use of the world’s computing power. As the internet rapidly evolves to web 3.0, it is only natural that the infrastructure it runs on evolves at the same time.
Welcome to cloud 2.0!
Pete Hill , Director at Cudo Ventures
If you would like to learn more about the Cudo platform and CUDOS token, please visit www.cudos.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re not just an idea, we’re a reality.