Token Launches: Types & Why Marketing Matters

10/27/2022 11:49

In their brief existence, blockchain projects have come up with a variety of different ways to launch and sell tokens. Some pull from old auction styles, some build on the idea of crowd-funding, and others strive for a more fair approach.

But, one thing that remains constant in all of this is that a careful plan and good execution are key. Without a good launch, you can tank an entire project…sometimes years in the making.

Back to the Basics

First of all, what is a token launch? Simply the technical generation of the token (or TGE, Token Generation Event) in a blockchain-based network and its launch on a market. In pure definition, not quite as spicy as the actual events that we all know these token launches can be.

But, they get so interesting because the goal is far more than to simply have a token on the market. Having your token there if nobody notices…well, does a token launch if no one is there to buy it? Or even notice?

Rather, token launches are important to gain publicity and engagement in crypto communities, ultimately to raise funds — and interest — for the future of the project. Obviously, this can also change quite drastically depending on the token. A meme coin, for example, often won't have a fully fledged project to fund into the future. Rather, the launch itself is often the culmination, climax, and for many, the finish of these projects.

But for others, token launches are just the beginning. And pulling off your token launch impeccably will dictate whether or not your project will have funds to grow…or be doomed before it starts.

So, understanding how to pull them off is essential, whether you're a founder, marketing, or in a variety of other roles, because, I cannot stress this enough, token launches make or break projects.

Types of Launches, A Brief History

As blockchain and crypto rapidly developed, token launches have been some of the fastest evolving aspects of the space, as they provide much of the funding for blockchain projects. However, this has also been a point of contention between regulators, and even investors, and projects, as some of the booms the crypto industry has seen led to scam projects getting funding.

None-the-less, there has been constant evolution in types of token launches, to outpace regulators and bring the ideals of this space — decentralized democratization — back to many launches, while still working out how to fairly compensate early contributors.


Pre-Mines — refers to a portion of coins/tokens that have already been mined (and distributed) before the official launch date.

💡 Pre-mined crypto is often used to reward devs, an incentive for team members and early adopters, or as proof to investors that the coin/token is functional.
📌 The first Ether were offered as pre-mined rewards to people who funded the project during its ICE in July and August of 2014.


ICOs — investors receive coins/tokens of the project in return for their investment. Similar to the concept of stocks, but in 2017, wildly less regulated and faster moving.

STOs — investors receive digital assets that act as rights or shares in the company.

⚠️ Regulations — ICOs and STOs are banned in several countries (i.e. China) or heavily regulated. STOs are considered lower risk than ICOs in general, though.

Dutch Auctions — A crowdsale for a fixed amount of time, wherein the price of the coin/token decreases until it reaches the point it can sell out. Then everyone gets that price.


IEOs — when a project partners with an exchange to raise funds. The Exchange acts as the facilitator for the token sale and distribution.

⚠️ Regulations — IEOs have to comply with securities regulations, meaning that these types of launches don't provide any regulatory simplifications that make them a better option.


Fair Launches — Distribution of tokens via some objective criteria rather than a direct sale. This is typically employed to promote decentralization and engagement.

NFT Mints — Initial minting of NFTs for AI-generated projects, like CryptoPunks, Bored Apes Yacht Club, etc.

IDOs — similar to IEOs, but when a project relies on a Decentralized Exchange to launch and raise funds. Relies on Exchange token holders to vet projects and tokens and vote one those to be listed on the DEX.

⚠️ Regulations — IDOs have to comply with securities regulations, like IEOs.

In addition to the type of launch, there's a lot to determine beforehand when it comes to the tokenomics and vesting strategy. But, essentially, all of these should go hand-in-hand.

The Marketing of It All

Marketing is generally important for a token launch…and the future of the project. In fact, back in the day, it was the single most important marketing event for most projects.

As we're past the ICO craze of 2017, through, this is changing a bit, with longevity of projects more at the forefront. But, that being said, a token launches, as mentioned at the beginning, can really make or break a project. So putting together a stellar plan is essential to make sure you have the awareness you need in the space!

What does marketing actually do for a token launch, though?

  • Community Reputation — A good token launch has a solid community, and good reputation in that community. This starts far before the actual launch, and carries on after, boosting your marketing efforts.
  • CollaborationsPartnerships and endorsements are important in this space. Marketing will help you land the right partnerships, but they can also be used to grow your audience by getting your partners to share your news with their community as well!
  • Visibility — YOTLO (You Only Token Launch Once) do it well! If it doesn't go over so well, it can kill your project, so take the time to make sure you plan it well, from the beginnings (tokenomics and utility) to the actual launch (launch type, visibility, and interest). This will also help you even beyond to build your brand awareness and dominance in the space.

Why Does it Matter?

Token launches generated a lot of interest, because it was a way to break the closed investment system that leaves access typically open to only the upper echelon, both in terms of individuals with wealth and projects with enough wealth to enter these markets formally. This means that with a token launch, open source projects were, and are, able to fundraise in a similar model as the more closed capitalistic systems, to help them raise capital to build.

But, as an investment tool, with value embedded in the protocol through the token, token launches, and the subsequent activity, also feel the pulls and sways of speculation. This led to the afore-mentioned ICO craze of 2017, where many "projects" were able to raise substantial funds, without having to prove that they were capable of building anything. And, still, you see some tokens launch with great success, only to be followed by a tank, as investors (either whales or groups) pump-and-dump, making this risky both for investors and projects who rely on the funds raised and value of the token.

The markets are evolving, though. Regulation and enterprising projects alike will continue to drive this evolution. But, it's important to keep in mind that a token launch is valuable because it opens up investing and fundraising to more people and builders. And, on that note, it's important to give a project a solid runway.

So, make sure to consider your project's goals, and the type of launch that will help you achieve those goals and communicate your values to your community.

Have any experiences to share or want to learn more? Join our Discord to talk now, or contribute directly to the Third Academy Library by applying to be a contributor below!

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