More and more organizations, in particular start-ups, choose blockchain as an effective solution for the challenges they face. As this technology is perceived as innovative, it can make it easier to get funding from government institutions or investors. At the same time, blockchain is not a “light” technology, and it can be hard to know which way to go during planning and implementation. This is why it’s so important to team up with partners who can give you direction and help you jump on the right track.
In this article, I present a solid strategy for implementing blockchain technology that will get a project off the ground at a reasonable cost. This strategy can also be used to test if a business hypothesis will finally achieve that hard-earned success.
1. Build a Product / MVP Prototype Using Public Blockchain Capabilities like Ethereum
Past blockchain projects have shown that the best way to validate business logic is to use smart contracts that are easy to publish on the Ethereum network. It is a fast, relatively cheap solution that does not break the main assumption - you can draw on the power of blockchain technology. Another advantage of this approach relates to the lowered level of complexity, which makes it easier to find the right contractor and save marketing resources.
In the startup world, product development often gets stuck and the intended product is never released, leaving nothing but burnt capital. By starting the project on an available platform such as Ethereum, you significantly reduce any losses in the event the project has to be abandoned.
2. Plan Long-Term Development in the Form of a Road Map with Milestones
If you lead a startup, you no doubt have a vision and a specific goal associated with your product. It is a good idea to illustrate your vision by adding milestones, i.e. break down the steps to your goal into a number of main points. This road map approach has two main benefits:
First of all, it will be easier for you to get potential investors. By presenting a thoughtful plan for product development, they will understand your point of view and the value of the project more easily.
Secondly, it will have the same effect on future system users. As the value of your product will be clearer, it will be easier to attract users. Through a road map, they know when to expect new functionalities – this is a great way to build anticipation and improve attachment to your solution.
3. Build a Community around Your Product
The next key element of a blockchain-based product development strategy is to build a community. This should start at the very beginning of the project, even from the moment you decide to go ahead with your idea and achieve the intended goal. Communication channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Telegram provide endless opportunities to talk about and share information about your product with anyone who is interested, thus expanding the range.
Constantly working on building a community is a way to test your solution and adapt it to user needs from an early stage. Remember that it's wise to let the users - your potential source of revenue - have the final say on the form of the product. After all, they are the ones who will be using it.
4. Custom Blockchain - Start Building Your Own Platform by Gradually Leaving the Public Blockchain
It is also worth considering the final form of your product. You may realize during planning that it would be best to move from a public blockchain, to your own custom blockchain. There are many examples of projects that have successfully achieved this, but it’s also good to be aware of the challenges associated with it. It takes a lot of time and effort, and the visible effects only appear much later. In addition to business logic, which you have validated using smart contracts, this step requires maintaining the blockchain network and issuing appropriate versions of the node software and user wallets.
Blockchain implementation is not cheap, but with a good strategy in place, it will be worth it. Once you have a clear vision and a well-defined road map with milestones, you can start building a prototype that is relatively easy to deliver. This will allow you to test your business vision.
The final stage is building your own network. This comes with its own set of challenges, but many projects have shown that it is possible – especially if the project is supported by a community of users and investors who support your idea.
Editor's note: This is a guest post by Wojciech Harzowski from Pragmatic Coders. Pragmatic Coders is a software development company that specializes in Blockchain & FinTech development. One of the company's main goals is to create business value for customers and build outstanding software products in a pragmatic and lean way. In 2019, Pragmatic Coders won an award in the category of Customer Service by the World Agility Forum.