What an incredible journey YOP has been through in such a short space of time. YOP was conceived in the Summer of 2020 after years of discussion and thoughts around progressing the quality of product in the crypto space. Enough waiting for others to improve product, we just decided to get on with it ourselves. Building started immediately with a bootstrap from the Founder and a few close friends.
As word got out, this quickly escalated to Crypto VCs joining, followed by institutional investors. This lead to our small cap of $533,000 being 4x oversubscribed in the seed/private round. Throughout the process we were approached and asked; why not raise more, just raise your cap, demand is there, but we politely turned down the offers. We value our project for long term growth and if you study our token economics, the future token sale is larger than the seed/private allocation. We intend to raise more capital after delivering the first product and once the project is in a stronger position. We can then raise at a better value for the project and accelerate our production.
YOP is a yield optimization platform & protocol. All-in-one yOptimization application that makes it easy for everyone to access DeFi. Giving you control, custody, insights and flexibility directly in one single application. Our platform brings together all the tools and our protocol brings together all the contracts and pools. All powered by our token $YOP.
So after closing the seed and private a small allocation remained for a decentralised launch platform. As YOP has decided to use Ethereum and Polkadot ecosystems for initial interrogations we opted to use Polkastarter for the launch. As of late Polkastarter has been gaining a huge amount of traction and seeks to become a leader in persimmon-less token issuances.
YOP approached the launch in a very unique way compared to other tokens. Our token economics, or as we call them YOPonomics, are designed for the most fair distribution and to avoid large holders punishing new participants. For this reason we focused on a wider distribution during the seed and private round and more importantly kept the price flat.
As Polkastarter is an emerging platform and we are amongst the first of a handful of IDOs to take place, we wanted to share some insights into the process. The platform seeks to become a leader in persimmon-less token issuances. Allowing starts-ups to raise directly from the community. A decentralized protocol built for cross-chain token pools and interoperable environment based on Polkadot. We were delighted to work with Polkastarter for our launch.
The decision to go with Polkastarter, the announcement and actual IDO all happened in under of 2 weeks. With the speed of crypto markets, those 2 weeks have flown by. So here is the step by step process from the time of announcement to Uniswap listing. Before we outline the process here is a highlight of some of the key numbers during the entire process.
- Agree launch date. Working with the Polkastarter team and finding the right slot that works for both teams. Date set internally and then the big work begins.
- Prepare announcement. A lot of work to do before this. We scrambled, working through the weekend into the nights. Getting everything ready for the announcement, whitelist opening, the first tweet and all the behind the scenes prep. Making sure our servers can scale and handle the traffic while remaining secure. Preparing a good whitelist form is almost a science itself. Not rocket science, but for sure get it right and you have better quality data capture. TypeForm is great, but we have seen some Polkastarter projects not utilise the true potential of the forms. For a more fair whitelist process we made it as difficult as possible for bots. Make sure the logic works! Test it and then test again. Check for any geo-fencing and your legals. Then we deployed it to our website. Some projects decide to do off-site whitelisting but we believe its is beneficial to the project to receive the traffic. This will improve your long term ranking (for those that are not planning rug pulls). Decide which pools, how much allocation for each pool. We were new to the process and opened whitelist for only POLS holders. That really is the way forward for Polkastarter but as we did not prepare for it, the rest of the community felt alienated. Decide ahead of time and inform the community so they have time to accumulate POLS. We responded to community demand by opening a NON-POLS pool too. This was well received and it is important to be in-tune with your community. After all these are open communal structures not so much corporate.
- The Tweet. This is where you see the power of the community, Polkastarter, Polkadot ecosystem and how things can go viral. If your project has strong fundamentals, then it should gain some traction here. The more diligent you are with step 2 the more smooth this will be. Tweet goes out from @YOPfi. We decided to open whitelist the same time as first announcement. Some have kept a gap, but for YOP it was flat out the entire time whitelist was open. Within minutes your socials start to get flooded with questions. When whitelist, when closing, how much, where, dates etc. Again the better the step 2 is the better result here.
- Filling Whitelist. Now the whitelist is open, you want to capture good data and cross check this against activity in socials. We put in extra measures such as write a message in Telegram along with the usual of following and retweeting. The message writing did get out of hand at times. Surprisingly not by bots, but what we call human bots. We heard of several individuals buying extra sims cards, setting up multiple accounts to sign up. This is where you reach a tipping point. Gain some traction and then give it a big push, have team ready to deal with the flood. Clear process and replies to the audience. They are generally global, so be sensitive to some not understanding straight away what is going on. Especially as Polkastarter is a new platform, until more public guides appear, walk them through it.
- Closing whitelist. We kept it open for 10 days. Bit longer than others. In the middle of that time you see a dip. Prepare some media coverage to boost the awareness again. Polkastarter are also a great support by retweeting updates. Allow enough time to close the whitelist and filter the data. We started to filter data as it was coming in. Also keep an eye on the TypeForm responses as they might reach the limit and you will need to upgrade. We did it in stages as we never expected the final numbers that we got.
- The chosen ones. Make sure you have a clear cut process that is transparent as possible and simple for the community to understand the chances of being whitelisted. How will it be communicated. Again we opted for the traffic to return to our website and setup a search tab with a result message. We mulled with the idea of having some partnerships with VRF projects and various other ideas. In the end the filter process actually narrowed down the numbers very well and then we randomly selected in the sheets. We also opted for one of the lowest turnout ratios in the IDO so far, requiring 48% success. So 555 whitelisted with 270 slots. We were worried that from the 555 many would not show. Other projects opted for lower success ratios, towards 20–30%. Know how firm your community is but in the end its dependent on the traction you gain. Upload to smart contract (prepare for gas pain) and then upload the whitelist to website. We decided not to do it too early as some may not be online, but 2 hours prior to for participants to cross check. We actually made a small error to the list we uploaded to the website with 6 duplicates from a data entry mistake. The actual list in smart contract was fine. We pulled it and update website within 10 minutes. The 2 individuals that kindly pointed it out were rewarded some tokens from a pre-sale investor.
- Ready for server overload. The time on day of the IDO goes so fast that you can’t stop to think. So have a clear mind and be ready. YOP was hitting Uniswap only 2 hours after the IDO. We thought 2 hours was a good amount of time to allow the IDO to complete and prepare for Uniswap. Well the IDO opened at 2pm and both pools were empty immediately. An instant success. Unbelievable. Here we were worrying about ratios. The only message we saw pop up was from Polkastarter team, ‘auto scale of servers not fast enough, manually increasing server.’ Wow not even 5 minutes let alone 2 hours we allocated. What a moment. This we believe was testament to the fundamentals of our project and the interest in Polkstarter as a platform. We set the token distribution from the pools for 30 minutes after the Uniswap pool opened. This allows enough time to get the Uniswap pool setup and running.
- The bot snipe. Launching on Uniswap has pros and cons. The biggest negative for small cap projects right now are the front running bots. These bots are able to execute in the same block you deploy the initial liquidity. So there is really no way to avoid it. The only way you can make it more fair is not have such a big price increase from the seed/private to Uniswap. We kept it flat from seed at $0.05 all the way to Uniswap. Most others have added a few cents in each round so by the time you reach Uniswap the community has an big disadvantage. This is where the bots try to make the most gains by buying up huge amounts of initial liquidity and then immediately dumping on the new comers. Adding larger amount of liquidity as we did can help to some extent but it is an issue that needs solving. We hope we can support some of the research towards this. YOP received a lot of press that day with negative association of the bot snipe. The bots made over $150k. Its not good optics for the project. When projects gain so much traction they naturally bring attention of multiple fake accounts, imposters and bots. This again is something we want to research and support building tools to prevent.
All in all we did our upmost best to conduct a fair and balanced launch. Of course the tools that we are using are very new and the community provides feedback that they don’t always work to everyone satisfaction. We will hopefully provide some insight by giving our account and wish everyone else operating in this growing decentralised ecosystem luck.
We want to thank all our investors, partners and Polkastarter for supporting us in a successful and fair launch. Onwards to the next phase where will be announcing our strategic partnerships to accelerate YOP growth.