How to Estimate the Cost of an ICO

The ICO continues to generate huge sums of funding now surpassing venture capital. In raising funding from the entire world, there will be costs to achieve the funds raised. ICOs are now splitting into two categories – those raising less than $25M and those raising more than $200M.

Here’s a cost estimate with a range depending on the level of marketing, legal, and cybersecurity you pursue for your ICO raise.

Whitepaper (core content must come from the company)- $10K to $20K. It takes approximately 200 hours to complete a whitepaper including reviews. Just about all content for your ICO comes from the whitepaper and is the core document investors, partners, and team will use so it’s the primary focus.

Website $5k to $20K. You can generate a nice looking site for minimal dollars. If you translate into additional languages and want to ‘harden’ the site to withstand cyber attacks you will need to spend more.

Also, you’ll need to own all versions of your  website name in all top-level domains, in all countries, including all ‘misspellings’ to ensure that someone doesn’t spoof your site.

Token ERC 20  $10K to $20K  (to place on exchanges) –a  token economics paper is critical, just like a whitepaper it as important to spend time on this.

Advisors  1% to 2% of equity. You will need a number of experienced advisors in the crypto space to drive credibility and they have to be engaged with the project.

Smart Contract audit $10K to $50K. The Smart Contract will need to be designed, coded, and audited.  The complexity of the code and other factors determine the cost.

Marketing $20K to $100K-$5K per month for the initial marketing and then $20K per month for 2-4 months leading up to pre-sale and through the crowd-sale. Most services have a minimum of 4 months commitment.

Community Management $10K to $50K- This is for managing the Slack, Telegram, and other channels.  A customer service function is installed and run for the duration of the campaign with the majority of the activity during the pre sale and sale.

Paid advertising- $5K/month  this is optional but can be helpful. For a six month campaign this totals $30K.

Legal Fees $20K to $100K. The big name law firm will not take a client for less than $100k in billings for ICO work.

Project management  $5K to $10K/month for 6 months – $30K to $60K.  Some take a percentage of the raise in tokens or equity.

Total $125K to $430K depending on the level of service and how much you do yourself.

This doesn’t include salaries, travel to meet investors at conferences, office space, etc.

In addition, you’ll need banking services that accept cryptocurrency– $10K.

International marketing adds another $25K to $100K onto it depending on travel and reach.

Cyber security steps will add additional cost as well.


Hall T. Martin is the founder of TEN Capital and a builder of entrepreneur ecosystems by startup funding through angel networks, funding portals, syndicates, and more.  Connect with him about fundraising, business growth, and emerging technologies.



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