So, you have got your contract straight, you have followed all the legal stuff to run an ICO that won't get you in trouble, and you are ready to launch. Hold your horses big guy! You are almost ready. You are missing one thing: the listing to a token exchange. Are you going to have your tokens listed or not? And if you are, is it going to be a centralised or a decentralised exchange? One exchange or many? Only once you have sorted this thing out you will be ready to go live with your ICO. Let's take it one by one.
Listing or not?
For some ICOs, listing may make the difference between success and failure. Although there is not a rule of thumb to follow, here are some things to consider:
- Is it going to be a huge or a small ICO? If you plan for a huge ICO (say worth over $1,000,000), chances are that people purchasing tokens, may wish to be able to liquidate their investment before the expiration date (remember, that both contracts suitable for an ICO must have an expiration date). This also depends on the number of tokens you will be offering - so even a small ICO divided in a large number of tokens, is quite similar to a large ICO.
- What is the promised outcome? Are you planning to get your company listed to a stock exchange, or you are going to keep it unlisted? If you don't plan for a listing, and you only offer some investment return (e.g. in the form of interest payments), your investors will end-up with worthless tokens at the end of the contract - so even if you list your tokens to an exchange, their perceived value will decline over time, until it goes down to zero. Investors want your tokens to increase in value, so they may sell them to other investors, and get some profit.
- Is there going to be a market for your tokens? That means, do you plan to have some buzz for your tokens, so new investors would be willing to purchase tokens in an exchange? If you plan to run further ICOs in the future under the same terms, chances are new investors to wait for your next ICO, rather than purchasing tokens through an exchange.
Centralised or decentralised exchange?
Actually, this depends on your ICO size. A small ICO would never be listed to a centralised exchange, even if you could pay their hefty listing fees. A large ICO in the other hand, may need to be registered with the SEC, or other local securities authority, making then no difference to an IPO. Plus, if you would choose to go with a centralised exchange, chances are you would need to hire a market maker, a move that may eat up a large sum of your proceeds. So, most probably, if you choose to list your tokens, this would be a decentralised exchange (DEX).
One exchange or many?
This is a double-edged sword. Listing your tokens to a single exchange, will make it close to impossible to have an aggregation service picking up current price of your tokens. In the other hand, splitting your listing to many exchanges, will make it next to impossible for your investors to be able to find buyers for their tokens - let alone at an acceptable rate. Even companies having their stock traded publicly, would very rarely go for a dual listing (that is listing their shares in more than one exchange). So, the best option would be to have your tokens listed to a well-reputed DEX and pray that an aggregation service will pick up your listing (always, a large trading volume helps with that).
Once you have this last thing sorted out, you are ready to get your ICO live.