A document released by a crypto project that gives investors technical information about its concept, and a roadmap for how it plans to grow and succeed.

A document released by a crypto project that gives investors technical information about its concept, and a roadmap for how it plans to grow and succeed.

What Is a Whitepaper?

A cryptocurrency whitepaper is a comprehensive document outlining the technical and economic aspects of a specific cryptocurrency. It is typically written by the cryptocurrency’s development team or core members and serves as a guide for potential investors, miners and users.

The whitepaper outlines the purpose of the cryptocurrency, its features, and how it works. It includes important technical details such as the consensus mechanism, mining process, and network architecture. It usually also states the economic objectives and rationale for the cryptocurrency and its development. The whitepaper serves as a source of information for those who are interested in the coin or token and its underlying technology. It is also used to inform potential investors about the project and help them make an informed investment decision.

Producing a whitepaper is the key step required for a crypto startup to be considered legitimate and professional, as it helps investors understand how a business is different from rivals in the space.

What Is the Difference Between Whitepapers and Litepapers in Crypto? 

Whitepapers differ from litepapers, which tend to be shorter, less technical, and easier to understand.

Whitepapers are long, in-depth documents that outline the technical specifications and details of a particular cryptocurrency. They usually include technical information, such as the protocol, architecture, and economic incentives. Whitepapers are used to help educate people on a particular cryptocurrency and provide a solid foundation of information. 

Litepapers, on the other hand, are short documents that provide a high-level overview of a particular cryptocurrency. They usually contain less technical information than whitepapers and focus more on the key features and benefits of a cryptocurrency. Litepapers are usually used to help people get a quick understanding of a particular cryptocurrency and make an informed decision as to whether or not to invest.

Examples of Whitepapers

One of the most famous cryptocurrency whitepapers is undoubtedly Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, which was published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008. The Bitcoin whitepaper proposed the following:
  • A peer-to-peer (P2P) system for payments across an online network
  • Removing third parties and replacing them with verification (decentralization)

  • Transactions would be irreversible

  • A P2P distributed timestamp server. This would generate mathematical proof of an order of different transactions.

Other famous whitepapers include:

  • The Ethereum whitepaper by Vitalik Buterin: It laid out the technical specifications for the Ethereum network, which is now the second-largest cryptocurrency network. 
  • The Bitcoin Cash whitepaper by Amaury Séchet: It introduced Bitcoin Cash and described its features, including larger block sizes and an improved transaction fee system.  
  • The Litecoin whitepaper by Charlie Lee: It described the features of Litecoin, which was a popular alternative to Bitcoin.
You can learn more about whitepapers in the article: How to Read and Analyze a Whitepaper.