Whitepaper has been around for more than a century, although today it is most commonly associated with digital currencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Investors are advised to thoroughly research any digital coin / blockchain project that does not already have one.
In today’s digital context, the term “white paper” is used more and more to describe the idea of a company or a company. The “yellow paper”, on the other hand, is the technical documentation of the project. While both are referred to as “white papers,” understanding the differences is important when learning more about a company or making a purchasing decision based on it.
Whitepaper: A vision for the future
The Canadian and UK governments are credited with coining the term “White Paper”. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s 1922 White Paper is cited as a pioneering example. Public policy documents such as white papers were formerly known as “white papers” in Canada.
A white paper, sometimes known as an “authoritative report,” is a document that educates the public on a specific subject or makes a point of view. The primary purpose of whitepapers is to help readers understand a topic better, solve a problem, or make a decision. A common tool to come up with a strategic plan or to get an investor to invest has been around since the late 1990s.
The same rules apply to Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) for other types of blockchain companies. Consumers have been exposed to the whitepaper more and more since the advent of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO). For the purposes of this discussion, a whitepaper refers to a document that outlines the vision and goals of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), token (TOKEN) or blockchain (BLOCKCHAIN). In addition, a pitch is often included to attract investors and reveal the potential return.
Many white papers include a business strategy, pricing structure, customer and token flowcharts, information about the team and investors, and a development roadmap.
In many cases, the technology described in a whitepaper has already been developed rather than studying future advances.
The example of the whitepaper
A great example of this is the Ethereum whitepaper, which has sections on the history and philosophy of Ethereum, as well as the technology and its uses. As a whitepaper, it’s meant to pique the interest of both investors and technology enthusiasts, but it’s not entirely technical.
As a result, the title, while technically focused, is unlikely to deter anyone with a slight interest in blockchain and Ethereum from reading on.
A technical document classified as a Yellow Paper
Any research that has not been formally approved by the scientific community is defined as yellow paper research and describes the research and technology that is being studied.
Blockchain technology is now widely used in scientific work and scientific analysis.
The Yellow Paper is a much more technical document for ICOs and blockchain companies, especially for developers of blockchain technology. It often contains promises of future technology developments that have yet to be fulfilled. Instead of the planned technologies seen in a whitepaper, it is a theory / research-based publication that points out potential directions for technological growth.
It is more likely that a yellow paper would have a detailed scientific or mathematical study of a particular blockchain network as an example.
The Yellow Paper example
If you compare the language and style of the Ethereum whitepaper with the yellow papers, you immediately notice that the two texts are different.
The title “Ethereum: A Secure Decentralized Ledger, Byzantium Edition” is more technical; it is intended for users or developers who are more familiar with blockchain technology. It starts with an abstract as it is a scientific publication. An abstract is a standard summary of any scientific / research document.
The Ethereum whitepaper presents the idea and the terminology, but then dives directly into complicated arithmetic equations that are intended for a specialist audience.
Blockchain startups and their technical staff usually need yellow papers in order to establish collaborations. Corporate investors also need yellow papers, as do people who want to use open source blockchain for their projects.
A seasoned prospective investor may want to read a yellow paper and, based on the size of the investment, consult an expert to see if the technology is feasible before making a decision. In contrast, the average investor can feel more secure knowing that a complicated white paper exists and the technology and design of a blockchain-based invention are transparent.
Make a decision
A white paper can help investors of all types assess the quality of the project before making an investment decision. Finding out who is working on the project and what their goals are, will help you make an informed decision regardless of your level of technical knowledge.
A whitepaper should show evidence of feasibility and the solution of a technical problem or use case to be effective. On the other hand, a yellow paper should go a long way when it comes to proving or demonstrating a conceptual scientific framework or related research.