What is a Whitepaper? Crypto Beginner’s Guide

While the definition of a whitepaper varies depending upon the industry you are talking about, if you are not sure what a whitepaper is, it can easily get confusing for any marketers who are looking to create one to help promote their business.

Originally, the term whitepaper came from politics.  It used to be a legislative document that explained and supported one particular political solution.  When it comes to technology, a whitepaper will describe the theory behind a new piece of technology. In the crypto world, the term whitepaper is used to describe a brand new coin that is set to come out with an ICO, or initial coin offering.  

So what is the absolute best definition of the term whitepaper when it relates to business?

So What is a Whitepaper?

A cryptocurrency white paper is an authoritative, persuasive, in-depth report that is on one specific topic where this is a problem presented, and then the solution to that problem.

A marketer may create a whitepaper to help educate others about a certain issue or to help explain and then promote a certain methodology.  Essentially, a whitepaper is an advanced guide for problem-solving. Normally, to access a whitepaper, it will require an email address at the bare minimum, so that you can then download the whitepaper report.  However, there is usually much more information that is required to get access to it. From the marketing perspective, this is a great way to capture leads and start building an email list to market to or send more information to at a later time.

What Isn’t a Whitepaper?

The one thing that a whitepaper is absolutely not, is a sales pitch for a product or new cryptocurrency coin that will soon be coming out.

Even though Investopedia does define a whitepaper as a type of document issued to highlight or promote features of a certain solution, service or product, just keep in mind that if you do start promoting stuff within the whitepaper, many of the people reading it will be turned off to whatever the product is.  

The entire purpose of a white paper is to persuade and inform the reader based off of the evidence and the facts, not to tell people why they need to buy the product right this second.

What’s the Difference Between Whitepaper and a Blog Post or Ebook?

Since we’re explaining exactly what a whitepaper is not, if you would like to quickly and interactively present your value to whichever industry it relates, using a whitepaper is not necessarily your only option.  Another way to get the word out is to use blog posts and ebooks, both of which are uniquely different than a whitepaper.

The main difference between a whitepaper, an ebook and a blog post, is that the appearance, time commitment and size of each one are completely different.  With an ebook or a blog post, it can take you between several hours, all the way to several weeks to get it done. With a good whitepaper, it will take between several weeks, all the way up to several months to get it written and polished.  That is why a whitepaper is much more heavily researched, less flashy, and more serious than a blog post or ebook.

While a whitepaper and an ebook can both be started using the same template, ultimately a whitepaper is going to become the academic paper of your marketing content.  Those reading it are going to expect a higher degree of explanation and expertise that has been backed by definitive research that has been documented with many references.

Ebooks, however, are often times considered to be an extension of a certain subject that you have already covered with a blog post.  They do at times offer some diligent research, but at the same time, they are catered to a wider audience range of people.

As you can imagine, when you compare the two together, it is kind of a boring comparison and most people do not wish to actually read a whitepaper.  However, they do it to help build their knowledge of a certain operation that they require more insight on prior to making the next move.

It is because of this that whitepapers are normally very detailed and packed full of useful information that is authoritative and written by a industry expert.  These are the qualities that can in turn, help one feel better about making a decision on purchasing or not.

How to Make a Cryptocurrency White Paper

As far as whitepapers go, there are technically no minimum requirements.  You can actually call anything a whitepaper. But just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.  Here is what a high-end whitepaper is going to look like.

  • Length – a minimum of six pages, which includes illustrations, references and even charts.  The length can even be upwards of 50 pages if the topic needs to be explained in that much detail.
  • Structure – a whitepaper will usually consist of a title page, a table of contents, an options short executive summary, an introduction, some pages educating about what the problem is, some pages hypothesizing what the solution should be, examples of how that solution was used to get the desired end result, and finally, the conclusion.
  • Density – A whitepaper must be denser than an ebook.  These usually are not very easy to skim over. Readers should usually need to read, then re-read them to really get all of the information from it.
  • Format – normally formatted in a portrait orientation PDF that is 8.5” x 11”.
  • Style – A whitepaper should always be serious, professional, well edited and well written.  In fact, many people will even hire a designer to format the pages, fonts, images, etc.

Whitepapers have been around for a long time and continue to evolve along the way.  While sometimes there is a better option available, such as an ebook or blog post, whitepapers are a tested method for getting information out about whatever the product you are trying to sell really is and how it can help solve a problem.

What is a White Paper?
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