The average length of an ICO white paper in 2018 was four times longer than Bitcoin's

Using data from CoinDesk and The Block’s research, we found that the average white paper for a successful initial coin offering in 2018 was 38 pages long. (The median length was similar at 36 pages.) We define successful ICOs as projects that raised funding. This average is four times longer than Bitcoin’s now legendary nine-page white paper

The longest white paper this year is Telegram’s leaked document with a page count of 132. We do note that the format of the white paper can impact its length (a fact well known to students with page-count targets for assignments!). For example, a white paper with a larger font size and more extensive tables and graphs will be longer than a paper with smaller text font and no graphs¹ — even though the amount of information might otherwise be similar. The 10 longest white papers are charted below:

The most cost-effective white paper was put together by EOS which raised a whopping $280M per page — a total of $4.2B with its brief, 15-page¹ document. In defining cost-effective as the amount raised relative to the length of the white paper, the 10 most cost-effective white papers are charted below:

¹We will explore whether the length of a white paper impacts the amount raised by an ICO in a future post. 

²Because EOS’ white paper is hosted on GitHub; we converted the GitHub page to the standard PDF format used by other ICO white papers.

About Author

Steven Zheng is a researcher for The Block. He joined The Block in August 2018. Steven graduated from St. John’s University with a degree in economics. Previously, he covered blockchain and crypto at Radicle, a startup analytics firm. He also had brief stints at Cheddar, a media startup, and Bowery Capital, a venture capital firm. He owns bitcoin. Follow Steven on Twitter at: @Dogetoshi