When you’re considering investing in an ICO, you probably look at a lot of different signals. In such an unregulated space, you really want to be sure your money is going to be well-managed and solve a real problem, that it’s being used legally and intelligently in a project which has a good chance of business success.

Naturally you turn to the whitepaper, which serves a range of different purposes - from sales brochure to technical manual. But my experience is that the calibre of these documents varies incredibly widely - on every factor from the level of detail to the simple quality of presentation.

We spend a lot of time at BlockSparks helping people present and market their projects well, and that includes copyediting whitepapers, but I am genuinely interested to know: how important is it to you?

Do you thoroughly read the whitepaper, before considering investing?

Do you read all of it, dig through the team bios, follow the tokenomics, scrutinise for any plot-holes in the business solution? Or do you skim and get a general impression, relying on secondary sources in order to help make up your mind?

I ask this mainly because I have seen so many terrible examples out there. I am not going to name names, and I am sure I don’t have to, but there are people investing in ICOs where the whitepapers have spelling and grammatical errors, missing subchapters, meaningless metrics, and occasionally outright plagiarism.

Other times there are beautifully presented plans for solid business solutions, which are just not interesting or exciting enough to get any traction, because they solve a boring industrial problem for example.

So I’d love to know how important the whitepaper is to you, and also what your dealbreakers are. Would a typo or two put you off? Like the Van Halen ‘no brown M&Ms’ rider, would this signify to you a lack of attention to detail which could have catastrophic consequences for the whole project, or is it a minor thing you’d overlook?

Also, which are the best and worst whitepapers you’ve seen?