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What are ICO Bounties?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a Bounty is a reward, premium, or subsidy given to a person by an organization. In general terms, a Bounty program is an offer by startups, websites, or companies to passionate individuals in return for providing marketing services, blogging, bug finding, website hack-proofing, products reviews, and product improvement to name a few.

Technically speaking Bounty program is a marketing method used by blockchain startup companies to mass communicate their project through the services of passionate individuals and supporters. Be mindful that not every ICO company offers a bounty program, as it completely depends on each company’s marketing campaign strategy.

Types of ICO Bounty Program

Generally speaking, there are two types of bounty programs offered by ICO startup companies:

Pre-ICO Bounties

Blockchain startups offer pre-ico bounties for the main purpose of marketing their project idea to the masses. Due to the recent mushrooming of ICOs, there is a cut-throat competition to get in front of the eyes of potential investors. These days creating awareness among the public and investors is the foremost and most difficult task for any ICO campaign. Therefore, the pre-ICO bounty program is really critical before any launch as companies want to penetrate social media platforms and informal marketing channels to create excitement and buzz, which directly reflects in the amount of total funding ICO receives. As startup companies always have a capital crunch, pre-ico bounties act as an inexpensive way to spread company products and ideas in front of the masses.

Post-ICO Bounties

As suggested by the name, companies offer these bounties mostly for the purpose of improving their already existing website, service, or product. These bounties are usually offered after the pre-ICO campaign has ended. Bounties tasks usually involve bug finding, hack-proofing websites, product feedback, translation services, etc. However, the bounty program is an open and ever-changing field as startup companies come up with new ways and creative ideas to market their ICO.

How an ICO works
How an ICO works

Tasks Performed by Bounty Program Participants

  • Blogging and writing reviews about the company’s products and services.
  • Writing articles and posts about the ICO company project and idea.
  • Retweeting and sharing official ICO posts, articles, news, and announcements on social media.
  • Sharing or publishing ICO material in the mass media.
  • Sharing or moderating ICO groups on different forums.
  • Special tasks like white paper translation, articles translation, or any other company material translation.
  • ICO analysis youtube videos.
  • ICO memes.
  • Website or App bug finding and improvement.
  • Website or App hack-proofing.
  • Company products and services testing and improvement.

How Are Participants Paid

Each blockchain startup follows different rules but usually, ICO tokens are rewarded to participants depending on their social media presence and following. More followers typically mean more tokens in your pocket. High likes and comments on the posts also correlate to higher token rewards. Bounty program guidelines usually define how many tokens will be offered for each social media platform, for example, Tokia ICO is shown below. As a general rule Reddit, Youtube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts have the highest demand and token rewards.

Bounty Program Selection Checklist

Like anything else in life choosing a bounty program is a tricky business. Before jumping into the ICO bandwagon it’s always recommended to fully investigate if spending your time and efforts on an ICO is worth it or not. The below points are not an exhaustive list but can certainly help make a better decision when choosing an ICO bounty program.

  • First and foremost is to check how authentic is the startup as you do not want to work for and promote a scam.
  • Evaluate the future potential of the ICO company. If it’s just a fad, most likely the company will die out soon and all your tokens will become worthless.
  • Check if tasks and activities are clearly defined in the bounty program. You probably do not want to waste your time repeating the same task again and again. Additionally, if tasks are only half-completed you risk getting no tokens.
  • Very important! Check how comfortable you are in performing ICO tasks. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses so choose a task according to your own comfort zone. For example, if you have no experience of writing English articles but still chose to write one, the article content and language might not turn out good quality and you might not get paid by the ICO company.
  • How many participants are registered for the Bounty Program. The rule of thumb is more participants means fewer tokens in your pocket.
  • Check if the Bounty program has well-defined terms and conditions. If terms and conditions are missing or vague most likely you won’t be paid tokens in the end.

The Incredible Success of ICOs

The rise of popular cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, has brought with it the development of many other crypto coins, which are more commonly known as altcoins. These altcoins have brought a large surge of interest around a unique way to fund digital projects – initial coin offerings (ICOs).

As you can see in the infographic below created by BTXchange, in some cases, ICOs have raised literally hundreds of millions of dollars.

During an ICO, an interested investor can buy tokens that a startup is offering, in the hope that, when the startup’s project develops, she will profit from the investment

Risks to calculate

Like with most investments, an ICO doesn’t come without some risks. There have been a huge number of projects that have failed because the token didn’t sell well, so the company was not able to offer much, or any, growth.

There have also been a number of ICO scams since their creation. For example, in February 2018, the crypto startup of Giza raised £2.4million in a fake ICO, which engaged more than 1,000 investors.

Good And Bad ICOs

There are a number of ways you can tell a good ICO from a bad one. Those that have a good hype in crypto communities and a strong development team are usually pretty trustworthy. Whereas those that have unachievable goals, unclear descriptions, and undefined team, and an absence of trust usually should be avoided.


For the company initiating an ICO, there are a number of benefits. Not only does it provide the initial funding that the project will need for further development, scaling, and expansion, but will also just start the service with a number of users that are already able to use the tokens. This has the potential to drive up the value of the coin from the outset.

From the outset, ICOs have been very popular, with 54 major ICOs in 2016 which raised almost $103 million, to 92 major ICOs in 2017 which raised $1.25 billion. Only time will tell what the end of 2018 will bring.

We have really only seen the beginning of what ICOs and altcoins are capable of, with the coming year poised to be an exciting year for ICOs.

To find out more about how an initial coin offering works, and some key statistics about projects that have already taken place, take a look at the infographic below.

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